Promoting achievement using ICTs
Belawati (2005) found that lack of high quality and timely learning support to students can present problems with academic achievement. Another problem with student achievement in schools is the limited time frame devoted for learning in different subject areas (Tüzün, Yılmaz-Soylu, Karakuş, İnal and Kızılkaya, 2009). For many students with disabilities and special needs, achievement depends on the accessibility of the items and tasks administered to them and with which they are required to interact (Almond, Winter, Cameto, Russell, Sato, Clarke-Midura & Lazarus, 2010). Marino, Black, Hayes and Beecher (2010) concluded that students with learning disabilities struggle in classrooms, and thus have lower academic achievement, where instruction is primarily based on complex expository textbooks and other print materials.
Kiboss (2012) posited that poor achievement in mathematics has been attributed to factors, including lack of personnel, resources, textbooks, and poor instructional techniques. Gambari, Ezenwa and Anyanwu (2014) concluded that mathematics in some schools has consistent poor performance at all levels due to verbal means of delivering curriculum with non-verbal students suffering academic achievement. Kiboss (2012) reported that the school districts have recorded poor performance in mathematics and attributed the problem to poor strategies used by teachers to teach mathematics and other related subjects. Access to programs and resources cause poorer districts to search for cost-effective solutions for low mathematics achievement (Hughes et al., 2007).
Another problem causing poor achievement in high schools is provision of education in geographically remote communities suggesting that when the fit between the person and environment is poor, performance will be impaired (Dodd, Kirby, Seifert & Sharpe, 2009). Belawati (2005) also identified that providing learning support for students has been a challenging issue for students living in rural areas. Dodd et al. (2009) also concluded that environmental factors include timing and scheduling, as well as competing family or work responsibilities impair student achievement.
Finally, Tüzün et al. (2009) identified that a problem in student achievement in geography is the decline in interest in teaching and learning indicating the need for a shift to a new pedagogy.
Role of ICTs
Castaño‐Muñoz et al. (2014) concluded that the Internet can improve communication and interaction, thus overcoming the barriers of time and space leading to increased academic achievement. Dell, Low and Wilker (2010) identified that on average, classes with online learning produce stronger student learning outcomes than do classes with solely face-to-face instruction. Students with distance education experience also performed better academically (Dodd et al., 2009). Collins and Mittag (2005) found that students have access to technology at home and in the classroom at all times and as Collins and Mittag (2005) identified, can be utilized to teach concepts and methods helping to increase achievement.
Bowers and Berland (2013) demonstrated a significant positive relationship between mathematics achievement and students who were proficient computer users. Gambari et al. (2014) reported Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) to be one of the most effective instructional strategies for developing interest, positive attitude, promoting retention ability of the students and improving the achievements of students. Hughes et al.’s (2007) results indicate that online courses can provide successful, alternative learning opportunities for Algebra and that virtual Algebra courses may be a cost-effective solution for poorer districts. Nguyen and Kulm (2005) concluded that the mathematics achievement of students who participated in the web-based approach was significantly higher than that of their classmates who received the same items using paper-and-pencil. Kebritchi, Hirumi and Bai (2010) found that instructional games have a significant positive effect on students' mathematics achievement in the public high school setting.
Also, indicated in Nguyen and Kulm’s (2005) study is that ICT use is interactive and more robust and the flexibility in accepting students’ ways of solving problems can increase students’ participation, reduce anxiety, and increase positive attitudes toward learning which in turn lead to increase achievement. Castaño‐Muñoz et al. (2014) found that using the Internet for interactive learning leads to a statistically significant improvement in academic achievement. However, increasing the time spent studying online is only useful when it takes place as some form of interactive learning (Castaño‐Muñoz et al., 2014). Johnson (2006) found that frequent in-class quizzes have been associated with positive learning outcomes including increased student achievement, attendance, and confidence.
Tüzün et al. (2009) study showed that computer games can also be used in formal learning environments to support students in geography learning and increase their motivation in turn increasing academic achievement. Bowers and Berland (2013) identified a positive relationship between internet uses and standardized reading scores. Marino et al. (2010) posited that technology-enhanced science curricula may improve the accessibility of this content area for students who struggle with reading thus leading to an increase of reading achievements.
Dell et al. (2010) found that instructors of online classes should focus their effort on quality course design rather than the media itself. Some teachers, while having numerous years of teaching experience, have limited experience incorporating technology into their instructional practice posing obstacles to ICT integration (Marino et al., 2010).Design of the learning environment should include tools to help students with time management, pacing their work load, deadlines that facilitate the completion of their assignments, and appropriate learning strategies leading to increase academic achievement (Dell et al., 2010). To achieve this, teachers should be trained on the effective use of computer-based multimedia instruction through seminars, workshops and conferences (Gambari et al., 2014).
Nguyen and Kulm (2005) found that immediate feedback and result checking is necessary for students to recognize their mistakes and re-attempt problems. Otherwise, there was no significant difference in academic achievement. Another obstacle indicated by Nguyen and Kulm (2005) was that the benefits of drill-and-practice, using ICTs, are only short-term memory, although long-term retention can be gradually built if students are interested in their practice and experience it with different items in various contexts. Kebritchi et al. (2010) identified that some mathematics games did not provide authentic mathematics problems, issues and experiences as required by experiential theory and thus may not result in academic achievement.
Rouis, Limayem and Salehi-Sangari (2011) identified differences in cultural backgrounds and characteristics demonstrate the need to address the way in which people use ICT to increase academic achievement. Behavioral patterns and attitudes toward information sharing and privacy is an obstacle that must be considered when using ICT (Rouis et al., 2011).
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