Background to the Problem
Chemistry has been identified as a very important science subject and its importance in scientific and technological development of any nation has been widely reported. Chemistry knowledge addresses the needs of set educational goals and objectives through its relevance in choice of materials used for ICT tools and functionality in contents, practices and applications. Nations like Nigeria needs a functional chemistry education that will assist in national growth and development because it has been identified as one among the major bedrock for the transformation of our national economy.
It was as a result of the recognition given to Chemistry in the development of the individual and the nation that it was made a core – subject among the natural sciences and other science related courses in Nigerian education system (Adesoji & Olatunbosun, 2008). It has been one of the major pre-requisite subject for offering most science oriented courses in the tertiary institution and this calls for the need in teaching it effectively. Chemistry teaching is supposed to be result oriented and students centred, and this can only be achieved when students are willing and the teachers are favourably disposed to using the appropriate methods and resources in teaching the students (Adesoji & Olatunbosun, 2008).
Buseri (2010) submitted that to meet up with the rapid scientific progress in technology, knowledge acquisition requires the presence of well-trained, efficient, knowledgeable and skillful teachers who are versatile in discharging their duties and responsibility as required. In addition, proper deployment of relevant instructional resources cannot be under-emphasized.
Instructional resources are varieties of resources in any format which influence the student’s learning and the instructor’s teaching (Ekundayo, 2015). They include but not limited to, textbooks, teacher manuals, kits, game, media collection of library books, periodicals, pamphlets, art prints, study prints, pictures, transparencies, films, filmstrips, slides, internet materials such as e-lesson notes, virtual laboratory, simulations, experimental demonstration, online instructional resources, etc. Instructional resources are used to improve students’ knowledge, abilities, and skills, to monitor their assimilation of information, and to contribute to their overall development and upbringing (Encyclopedia, 2010). Ige (2000) defined instructional resources as modern science equipment library, printed materials, projected media, real and simulated aids, visual and audiovisual aids, science resources and school environment.
The existence of the Internet has changed the world and it has also transformed education. Currently, the role of technology has changed from a tutor to a learning partner or cognitive tool with the shifting role of the use of technology in education from ‘learning from technology’ to ‘learning with technology’ (Jonassen, Marra, Howland & Crismond, 2008). The use of various online chemistry instructional resources is borne out of the fact that there are different topics to be taught and Chemistry as a subject is more of the abstract which in turn necessitate for simplified instructional resources which will allow the students to achieve the goals of education (Oyelekan, Olorundare & Anyimigbo, 2013).
Online chemistry instructional resources are those resources that can be assessed through the Internet and help chemistry teachers in the effective delivery of instructions to the students (Illinois, 2016). Some of online chemistry instructional resources include but not limited to chemeduresearch.com, chemdex, chem.libretexts.org, Ptable, chemicalbook.com, chemgapedia.org, chemistryguide.org, masterorganicchemistry.org, chemicalelements.com, e.t.c.
Smith and Greene (2013) examined the use of e-learning technologies to enhance learning. While the benefits of e-learning were recognized by the participants, these were somewhat compromised by the technological difficulties experienced. In a study carried out by Etuibon (2014) revealed that a significant influence on the academic achievement of chemistry students taught using ICT tools and those taught by conventional means. The results indicate that a significant influence existed in the scores of chemistry students taught utilizing ICT tools and the conventional group.
The importance of instructional resources cannot be overemphasized in any teaching and learning activities. It is the fact that such resources enhance, facilitate and make learning and teaching easy, lively and concrete. This is as equally important as having capable personnel to handle the instructional resources in efficient delivery content.
Teachers’ qualification is a vital factor to be considered when it comes to effective teaching. The availability of adequate and qualified science teachers can therefore not be neglected for the success of any science program. Vygotsky (1978) suggested that a qualified teacher can be very good at retrieving resources that other people see as rubbish or have no value to use. Omosewo (2008) commented that the efficiency of any institution depends to a large extent on the academic competence of the teaching staff, as no educational system can grow above the qualities of its teachers. Khurshid and Zahur (2013) asserted that students learn better from teachers with strong academic skills and more experience.
The sources of gender differences in educational outcomes have been the subject of considerable studies and debate. A large-scale study in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany of 21,000 students in 900 classes also showed that girls who were taught mathematics in secondary schools by female teachers scored 7% higher than girls taught by male teachers (Kessels, 2005). Kessels (2005) suggested that the female gender profile of the teachers may have helped to reduce the masculine stereotype of mathematics.
Also, the study by Abigail and Nnenna (2015) revealed that there was a slight difference in utilization of e-learning facilities between male and female teachers which are in favor of the females. However, the difference was not significant. Generally, utilization was at the moderate level both for gender and subject specialization. The overall mean rating of moderate utilization in both categories of gender and subject specialization is an indication that science teachers in southeast Nigerian colleges of education are not yet properly integrating e-learning facilities into their pedagogical practices. Keziah (2011) also submitted that gender had no significant effect on the use of computer, but the use of computer in teaching improved the academic performance of the students. From these studies above, it is obvious that teachers’ gender, experience, and qualification will have an influence on their teaching. As such, this study investigated the effects of teachers’ gender, teaching experience and qualification on the awareness and utilization of online chemistry instructional resources by senior school teachers.
Statement of the Problem
In recent times, the standard of education in Nigeria has been a major concern and has attracted comment from stakeholders involved. Education, expectedly is aimed at helping the child to acquire the appropriate skills, abilities and competencies required to live in and contribute to the development of the society they belong (FRN, 2013). Science Education is said to be the most appropriate and fastest vehicle for the planned transformation of any society (Jegede, Lagoke & Oyebanji, 1995). Despite its importance to mankind, the efforts of researchers to improve its teaching and learning is said to be too low and educators are incessantly concerned about the need to improve students’ performance especially in the sciences which remains low.
Furthermore, it has been observed based on previous studies that the present methods used in teaching science in general and Chemistry in particular in Nigeria secondary schools do not produce maximum result (Ibe & Nwosu, 2003). Obiekwe (2008) reported that all is not well with science teaching in Nigerian secondary schools, and noted that science teaching lays more emphasis on content and the use of “chalk and talk” method neglecting the practical activity methods which enhance teaching and learning. This negligence and shy-away attitude from activity oriented method of teaching has led to abstraction which makes the student less active in class and more prone to rote memorization