DROPBOX INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGY AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF TEACHER TRAINEES IN UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

The teacher has been recognized as the second most important component of an education system after the learner. His prime importance is based on the fact that he is the one that directs the implementation of all curricula activities planned for the school.  Suffice it to say that his lesson delivery strategies go a long way to determining the success or otherwise of the learning of the student.  Current emphasis on the objective of education on knowledge economy demands for a shift in the delivery modes adopted by teachers especially at the tertiary level of education as the learners at this level are expected to create new knowledge from available large spectrum of information. How they are able to achieve this begins at their pre-service training stage.  The educated populace is the key to nation building.  Etim (2006) explained that universities produce the much desired human capital that propels nations from backwardness to modernization. Universities are institutions of higher learning and also an indispensable variable to the success in economic development, innovation and success of a community or country. It is relied upon as the productive human resource (labour force) for development of the nation’s Economy as University graduates become valuable assets to the nation.  Thus, the type of citizens desired by a nation at any time can be attained through a systematic and orderly process of successful teaching.

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Successful teaching therefore requires that the students make sense out of what they are taught.  Traditionally, teaching is viewed as a process of delivery to students what is required and without any opportunity for questioning.  This means that the teacher has the monopoly of knowledge required to be imparted. However, in the modern sense teaching is an attempt to help learner acquire change of attitude, knowledge, idea, skill or appreciation. According to Olasedidum (2015) traditional teaching use by most lecturers in universities involve teacher standing in front of the silent group while the students listen quietly.  Basically, the teacher controls the instructional process, the content is delimited to the entire class and the teacher tends to emphasis factual knowledge.  Thus, the learning mode tends to be passive and the learners play little part in their learning process.  It has been found that most universities lecturer use conventional/lecture approach in instructional delivery which is of limited effectiveness in teaching and learning process. 

Olaniran (2005) comments that lecture method, demonstration method, discussion teaching method and expository method mostly used in the last decade shows that learner lack participation and creative idea in teaching and learning process.  Hence, most of what the teachers do in teaching is not instruction but a flow of information which Expository  method of teaching do not allowed the learner to air out their own view. Expository teaching method is the normal face-to-face method of teaching used by teachers or instructors in schools.  It is modified by presenting general instructional steps in the lesson without the use of technology.  According to Branford, Brown and Cocking (2000) expository teaching method is outdated and out-modeled method of teaching which limited students-teacher and student-student interaction.  Weak students find it difficult to assimilate the content of the lessons.  Most students find it difficult to keep pace with the lecturer as the instruction progress (Ajelabi 2015).  This may account for the high failure rates of university students in most subjects especially science and technology courses that need practical experiences.  Inspite of the perceived large students population, poor infrastructure and high failure rate among students, undergraduate educational technology students in science education department are still taught using expository teaching method.  Ofem (2016) comments that most lecturers consider expository method easy to adopt. This may be because they have little or no knowledge of instructional design, production, use and evaluation of instructional media even if they are available in the school.  Mbalo (2011) posits that teachers are reluctant to teach using innovative methods which they have no training.  Ayonote-Yusuf (2012) explained that media and technology have been introduced into school with the belief that they can have positive effects on teaching and learning.  Both media and technology can effectively be used in schools as phenomena to learn from aid.  Technologies like computer, iPod, i-phone and mobile phone could be a new opportunities for teachers to connect with students who are already spending large amount of time in these media in creating a more collaborative learning environment.        

Learning with technology involves the use of technologies as cognitive tools to create constructivist learning environment.  It also plays a powerful role to improve instructions when students can actively use them as cognitive tools rather than simply perceive and interact with them as tutors or repositories of information. Hence, dropbox application evolved from delivery, sharing, storing and providing access to a variety of files such as text documents, photos, video, media exchange, life content presentation and music which is contrary to expository or conventional method. Dropbox provides advantages in price, storages space, speed, support parameters to users and 100% automated online backup services that can be used to stored or send learning resources to the learners which at the end improve learner performance.

Cloud-based applications are web based applications that are accessible through web browser for teaching and learning purposes. Examples, Dropbox, Skype, Imo Chat, YouTube Google Drive, etc.  Dropboxcloud-based application is an effective and globally rated collaborative and cooperative learning tool.  It is one of the most compatible information sharing cloud technology platform.  Dropbox cloud-based application is a fascinating file-hosting service that permits the storing of significant documents inside a common folder that can be accessed from laptop, desktop, mobile phone or any other electronic device, (Seke, 2015).  It is a useful tool in managing course content learning, team project and cooperative learning presentations.It facilitates transactional learning delivery.  It acts as online submission box for teachers to send and students to hand in assignments while interacting virtually to learn, evaluate and provide feedback. 

The impact of ICT on learning is the vision that enhance learning “anywhere, anytime and anyhow”. It transcends time and space.  Ibe-bassey further outlined the impact of ICT in improving quality of education by increasing learner’s motivation and engagement, facilitating the acquisition of basic skill which serves as thefoundation of higher order thinking skill and creativity through drill and practice encourage collaborative networks among teachers and students. Similarly, Dachis (2015) posits that collaboration on dropbox involve using file-syncing utility dropbox.  Dropbox works as collaborative tool because all files are automatically synchronized to everyone linked computer as soon as the files are added to the shared dropbox folder.  The learners access the files by installing dropbox and logging in using the username and password for shared dropbox account or that account can be shared with them as a shared folder.  Dropbox is free for up to 2GB of space but that is not enough, the teacher need to get up to 50GB to 52GB for effective collaboration and appropriate sharing of learning resource in form of photo text  and power point presentation (Huang,  Hood and Yoo, 2013).  To get started with a dropboxfile sharing a teacher need an independent account as the shared dropbox folder.  Once the teacher or instructor signed up for the dropbox he is going to share, create a root folder in the account and share that with the learners who already had a dropbox account. Dropbox cloud-based applications have attracted a great deal of attention in the field of education with its potential for delivery economical secure, reliable and shareable education service (Masud and Huang, 2012). 

In recent times gender issues on students’ academic performance in science education has received serious attention. Ogbeide (2013) corroborates that the debate on gender differences in cognitive abilities has actually evolved out of the debate on biological versus social determinism.  Gender could be seen as an identifiable characteristic for sex as male and female. In other views Bronfenbrenner (2015), Kheitley (2011) and Ogbeide (2013) asserts that gender is concerned with masculinity and femininity as categorized to each sex in the society.  In this study gender is regarded as characteristics identity of either of the two sexes (male and females).  It is in line with this fact that Lynn and Tse-chan in Ogbeide (2013) asserted that male have large average brain sizes that female and therefore would be expected to have higher average intelligent quotients (IQs) than the female do. To Dania (2014) gender can affect students’ academic performances while Okorie and Ezeh (2016) have not found the effect of gender on students’ performance but the ability for students to think creatively can enhance the academic performance of students not minding their gender. From all the conclusive and inconclusive view outlined, it has been found out that there is no consensus by researchers yet on the issue of gender affecting students’ performance.  Therefore, there is no need to draw a conclusion that the males are better in Educational Technology than female.  Also there is no need for the gender discrimination in academic performance as rightly put by Repley (2005) that resource use in learning improves the cognitive abilities of male and female students.

The use of dropbox assists instructors to evaluate student’s commitment to instruction and content assimilation by previewing their dropbox folder and submissions.  Viewing dropbox folder file submissions page provide a summary of the total files, unread files, flagged files and due date for each dropbox folder. The instructor needs to click on a folder to navigate to its folder submission page to view submitted files.  The instructor can also access users’ folder submission history from evaluated submission page if they have submitted at least one file to the folder. A submission history enable the instructor to quickly view a list of all files which the student has submitted including deleted files, re-submitted files, every submission, date and time, comment left  by the student and an indication that the student has read the comment and feedback for a submission.    Lone Star College Online(2015) reports that the evaluate submission page enable the instructor evaluate and leave feedback for users (learners) which result to improve academic performance in the evaluated subjects.  He further comments that learner can download the evaluated page and work on them offline.

Users of virtual learning strategies of which dropbox is a factor have expressed positive learning experiences such as  immersive learning, utility of time, place and pace as well as long term cost effectiveness and easy learning.  This gainful and satisfactory learning experienced are likely to be achieved in dropbox learning application because we can access our learning files from each gadget we own.  Dropbox is compatible with all popular computer and mobile platforms. There are also native applications built for windows, Mac Ubuntu, Android, iOS and Blackberry.  Dropbox is also accessible from any Internet browser. Dropbox is an effective learning strategy for teamwork as a shared folder can be created which will appear in every team member’s computer.  Any instructional file uploaded to those folders, can be accessed by every person on the learning team with access to it (Google Docs, 2016).

Dropbox was developed by two students at a Private Research University in Cambridge Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) named Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in June 2007 with funding from Y-combinator.  Dropbox was officially launched at 2008’s TechCrunch50 Annual Technology Conference.  Dropbox’s official domain name was ‘getdropbox.com’ until October 2009 when their current domain ‘dropbox.com’ was acquired.  Dropbox held 14.14 percent of the worldwide backup client market, based on number of installations, as of May 2011 when dropbox struck deals with Japanese mobile service provider – Softbank and Sony Ericsson (OPSWAT Report of December, 2011).  On December, 2012, Dropbox acquired Snapjoy, which provides a service for aggregating, archiving and viewing all digital photographs taken with Cameras, phones, or popular photo applications.  In February, 2013, dropbox became responsible for 29 percent of all worldwide traffic. On March 2013, dropbox acquired the email management application for iOS mailbox as well as mobile coupon startup Endorse and had 200 million users and announced changes to ‘Dropbox for Business.  On November, 2013, Dropbox released a new application version for iOS.  The new design has a cleaner and simpler user interface which brings the application in line with other iOS seven offerings (6 lessons from Dropbox, 2011). On November 2014, Dropbox announced a partnership with Microsoft to integrate Dropbox and Microsoft office applications on iOS, Android and the Office 365 applications on the web.  On January, 2015, Dropbox acquired CloudOn, a company that provided mobile applications for document editing and creation. In July 2015, Dropbox announced the acquisition of Clementine, an Enterprise Communication Service (Dan, 2016).

This rich history of dropbox indicates its effectiveness as interactive instructional media for information dissemination compatible to all cloud platforms and applications.  Dropbox is a useful tool in managing students’ learning, projects and lesson presentations.  Dropbox instruction is sure to bring rewarding learning experiences for educational technology students on free learning collaboration, cooperation and sharing of learning resources.As a virtual learning strategy, it assures learners of utility of time, location and pace.  It is also a gender content and race friendly means of increasing learning gains of learners. However, there is no empirical work to support its influence on academic performance of educational technology learners and teacher trainees that apply dropbox cloud-based technology for instruction.  This lack of empirical evidence on dropbox instructional strategies to promoting increase in academic performance in faculty courses influences the adoption and use of dropbox for instruction delivery in universities in South-South Nigeria.  The rationale for phobia, lack of interest, the negative attitude towards the application of dropbox in learning of educational technology in Nigeria is based on the uncertainty of its effectiveness as to practically increase students’ academic achievement when adopted for the learning of school subjects.  The study is one of the efforts in the trends of investigation of innovative instructional strategies aimed at improving the academic performance of University students and to reduce or eradicate low performance among University students in South-South Nigeria. Therefore, this present study aimed at examining the effect of dropbox instructional strategyon the academic performance of educational technology teacher trainees’ in universities in South-South, Nigeria.

DROPBOX INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGY AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF TEACHER TRAINEES IN UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA