THE IMPACT OF CROSS WORD EDUCATIONAL COMPUTER APPLICATION AS TEACHING AID ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES IN NIGERIA
This study examined the impact of cross word educational computer application as teaching aid on the academic performance of students with learning disabilities in Nigeria. The study employed a survey research method to collect information on the impact of cross word educational computer application as teaching aid on the academic performance of students with learning disabilities in Nigeria. The population of the study comprises of four (4) selected secondary schools in Oyo West Local Government, Oyo State. The researcher randomly selected hundred (100) students from the selected school for the study. The instrument used in collecting the data for this study was questionnaire titled “the impact of cross word educational computer application as teaching aid on the academic performance of students with learning disabilities in Nigeria” to elicit response to the three (3) research questions raised in chapter one. TEST Re-test reliability method was used to estimate reliability of the instrument, r = 0.05. In analyzing the data, the researcher used experimental statistics with the use of Chi-Square. The results of the study revealed that the first hypothesis was accepted while the other two hypotheses were rejected. Based on the findings of this study, it was recommended that the use of crossword computer application should be encouraged in teaching of students with learning disabilities in order to improve their academic performance. Also, Federal government should equip educational sectors with infrastructure like computer applications which can improve performance of students in all ramifications.
KEY WORDS: Crossword, Computer Application, Teaching Aids, Academic performance, Learning Disabilities.
1.1 Background to the study
Teaching aids have been observed as a potent factor to qualitative education. The importance to teaching and learning of the provision of adequate instructional facilities for education cannot be over-emphasized (Yara, 2011). The saying that “teaching is inseparable from learning but learning is not separable from teaching” is that teachers do the teaching to make the students learn, but students can learn without the teachers (Yara, 2011). According to Akande (2005), learning can occur through one’s interaction with one’s environment. Akande (2005), environment mentioned above refers to facilities that are available to facilitate students learning outcome. It includes books, audio-visual, software and hardware of educational technology; so also, size of classroom, sitting position and arrangement, availability of tables, chairs, chalkboards, shelves on which instruments for practical are arranged.
One of the basic facilities that are used in modern time during teaching learning process as teaching aids is computer application. Lin 2007 explains that computer applications in education is a broad and changing term due to the breadth of the area of study and the rapid and ever-changing nature of technology. Computer applications include, but are not limited to, desktop publishing and presentations, computer use in classrooms, telecommunications and distance education, computer hardware and software, networking, lab administration, multimedia presentations, and publishing. Computer applications are in recent developed into android phones for easy accessibility (Hanafi and Samsudeen, 2012).
Students’ academic performance refers to the enhancement of the students’ current state of knowledge and skills reflected in their overall result and also in the formulation of their personality and academic growth from lower levels of study to higher levels (Gbollie and Keamu, 2017). The academic performance of every child is wired with the state of the cognitive condition that the child his. The reason for this is that cognitive skill is the processor that processes the learning bits that child learns in the class. Raheem (2015) states that there are three basic skills needed by every student to process and exercise the knowledge gained. These skills are receptive skills, cognitive skill and productive skills. Receptive skills are skills that students used to receive information, these are reading and listening. Cognitive skill is used by the students to process the information received, this is the reasoning faculty of the students. Productive skills are skills that the students use to express what they have learnt through receptive skills and their cognitive skill has processed. As a result, if students are taught with what appeal to their cognitive skill like computer educational application, they are believed to perform better than being taught with the use of blackboard alone (Raheem, 2015).
According to Chadha (2001), one form of disability prevalent in children of school going age is the learning disability. This is a condition in which children of whom despite appearing ‘normal’ are unable to perform academically commensurate with their age and ability levels. Learning disability causes a discrepancy between the child’s achievement and their actual intellectual ability. Due to this, children with learning disabilities require specialized education. Weta (2019) states that learning disabilities are neurologically-based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention. It is important to realize that learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace.
Generally speaking, people with learning disabilities are of average or above average intelligence. There often appears to be a gap between the individual’s potential and actual achievement. This is why learning disabilities are referred to as “hidden disabilities”: the person looks perfectly “normal” and seems to be a very bright and intelligent person, yet may be unable to demonstrate the skill level expected from someone of a similar age (Weta, 2019).
Children with Learning disabilities may seem bright, enthusiastic and with the potential to perform well in education just like their peers of the same age. They perform well in most subjects but for some unexplained reasons fail in specific subjects like Mathematics and similar subjects (Chada, 2001). They also fail in language (oral language, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, basic reading skills and written language) unlike other children of the same age and ability even when given same learning opportunities (Chadha, 2001).
Brim (2014) states the following as examples of educational application software: drill and practice software, tutorial software, educational games, simulations, special needs software math problem solving software, and utility software. Educational game is one of the computer applications that is widely used by teachers in teaching students in the recent time. This is because students are fans of anything games. Also, most of these applications are also available for installations on smart phones. Examples are cross words, rivet, lingokids, math kids, spelling master to mention but few. Without doubt, students with learning disabilities will see these application useful for learning as it will aid their cognitive skill.
In this study, the researcher will be using cross word application as a sample among other educational computer applications. A crossword is a word puzzle that usually takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid on computer and on android phones. The game’s goal is to fill use the available alphabets to form words, by solving the clues, which lead to the answers. The application is a brain tasking game that assists students to know correct spelling and learn new words. On this, the researchers intend to carry out a study on impact of computer application as teaching aid on the academic performance of students with learning disabilities in Nigeria (Brim, 2014).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The nature of learners with learning disability is that they are below average in their cognitive skill. Learners with learning disability ability to comprehend is slow that is why it is said that they have disability in their learning (Meredith, 2018). The use of Cross Word as teaching aid in teaching learners with learning disability is believed to be a way of aiding their academic performance. This is because if learners with learning disability are able to master correct spelling with their meaning, they will be able to read, understand and perform better in their academic performance. However, many school authorities still do not make use of educational computer application like Cross Word in teaching their students. What bothers the mind of the researchers is that does the school management do not believe that the use of Cross Word educational computer application will aid teaching learning process of learners with learning disabilities or the learners are not interested in using it?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This study intends to look into the impact of cross word educational computer application as teaching aid on the academic performance of students with learning disabilities in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
- Of what importance is the use of Cross Word educational computer application to the teaching of learners with learning disabilities?
- What is the significant relationship between the use of Cross Word computer application and academic performance of students with learning disabilities?
- To what extent does the use of Cross Word computer application assist the academic performance of students with learning disabilities?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H01: Cross word educational computer application is important in the teaching of learners with learning disabilities
H02: There is no significant relationship between the use of Cross Word computer application and academic performance of students with learning disabilities
H03: The use of Cross Word computer application does not assist the academic performance of students with learning disabilities
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of help to many people in the society especially students with learning disability as it will be of benefits to educational planners and educational managers. This is because they will be able to incorporate the needs and nature of students with learning disability to the planning of education. The study is also of significance to specialists taking care of the educational curriculum of learners with learning disabilities in Nigeria as this will call them to the attention of considering learners with learning disabilities while deciding the teaching aids to use during teaching learning process.
In addendum, the study will be of immense benefits to teachers teaching students with learning disabilities as they will be able to decide either the use of educational computers application will aid the education of learners with learning disabilities or not. Without doubt, this study will really be of great benefit to Ministry of Education, Commissioner for education and government at large by aiding them either to give preference to the use of educational computer application in teaching learners with learning disabilities.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study to Oyo town of Oyo State. Factors surrounding this limitation is due to time available for the researcher in conducting this research, financial implication of reaching other avenues among others.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Computer Application: In this study, it means a software program that runs on a computer, android phone or web browsers meant to facilitate teaching learning process.
Cross Word: This is an educational game. It is also known as crossword puzzle. It is available as phone application also as computer application.
Teaching Aids: This means materials used to make teaching-learning process easier for teachers and students.
Academic Performance: In this study, it means the educational achievement of student’s educational goals through educational assessment, either short term or long term assessment.
Learning Disabilities: in this study, it means a condition giving rise to difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the level expected of those of the same age.