Background to the Study

Biology is a natural science that deals with the living world. It can also be referred to as the study of the structure, function, heredity, and evolution of all living things such as microorganisms, fungi, plants, and animals. Nwachukwu (2010) defined Biology as a branch of Science which deals with the study of living organisms both plants, animals/human being. Also Umar (2009) opined that biology deals with how the world is structured, how it functions and what these functions are, how it develops, how living things came into existence, and how they react to one another and with their environment (Gambari, Akowa, Elis % Uhgovwa, 2014). Biology has two branches namely Botany (study of plant) and Zoology (study of animal). Biological knowledge serves as a pre-requisite in the study of medicine, nursing, agriculture and pharmacy. Biological knowledge is indispensible to scientific and technological development of any nation. Maduabum (2012) emphasized the roles of biologists in national development especially in environmental pollution control, disease control, population control/family planning, crime detection, research, agriculture, industries, teaching, application of genetic knowledge for solving plants and human/animals’ problems among others. Biology is seen as one of the core subjects in Nigerian secondary school curriculum. Because of its importance, more students enrol for biology in Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) than for physics and chemistry (West African Examinations Council, 2011). Biology is introduced to students at senior secondary school level as a preparatory ground for human development, where career abilities are groomed, and potentials and talents discovered and energized (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2009). The quality and quantity of science education received by secondary school students are geared towards developing future scientists, technologists, engineers, and related professionals (Kareem, 2003).

Federal Republic of Nigeria (2009) stated the objectives of Biology curriculum could imply that students should be able to acquire adequate laboratory and field skills, meaningful and relevant knowledge to everyday life, and reasonable and functional scientific attitudes such as curiosity, skepticism, honesty, dependability, objectivity, perseverance, being industrious and open-mindedness. Aniodoh (2011) enumerated the following 12 science process skills which scientists especially Biologists should acquire namely: observation, classification, number relations, communication, prediction, inference, making operational definitions, formulating hypotheses, interpreting data, experimentation, identifying and controlling variables. Despite the numerous roles of Biologists in nation’s science and technology development, Biology students’ achievements in public examinations like West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (W.S.S.C.E) and by National Examinations Council (NECO) for many years are poor (Igwe 2006). According to Ahmed (2015), in spite of the importance and popularity of biology among Nigerian students, academic performance of students at senior secondary school level has been poor. The implication of this failure in education is that Nigerian may have shortage of manpower in science and technology related disciplines.

This may affect Nigeria’s vision to become one of the 20 industrialized nations in the world by year 2020. The above recorded failure can be attributed to lack of instructional facilities especially the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) base ones in the schools. ICT based instructional materials is very important in learning setting, this is because with the use of ICT based instructional materials, the students will be motivated in the studying of Biology. These ICT tools could be of dierent forms which include; language laboratory, computers, audio and audio visual machines; websites, CD ROMS soware and hardware as well as social network gargets. All these are ICT tools that aids learning. The ICT based instructional material helps to concretize abstract ideas in the minds of the students (Azubuike, 2013). Thus Bamaju (2009) noted that ICT can be a veritable instrument for the learning technical subjects like Biology. The objective of Biology can only be achieved if the teachers can adequately make use of ICT materials. However, the use of ICT tools in learning of Biology subject will change the old method of teaching; from teacher based instruction to learner based learning where teachers facilitate learning. In order to achieve this teacher’s do not only need formal training in the use of ICT but the skill to manipulate them in teaching. According to Nwankwo (2008) teachers must have access to professional development programmes to enable them master skills for the use of ICT in the classrooms.

Presently in Ebonyi state especially in Ezza South Local Government Area the learning of Biology in various Senior secondary schools still retain the old approach with teachers in most cases, acting as the repertoire of knowledge and the students, the dominant recipients (Azubuike, 2013). There is over reliance on text books by the teachers. There is little or no ICT based instructional materials. No work of this nature has been carried out in learning of Biology in ICT in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebony State. In senior secondary school in Ezza South Local Government, one finds a teacher at the black board jotting down or copying the textbooks verbatim, while the students are furiously copying all that is written on the board, and are expected to memorize the facts and spit them out on the examination day. But with the use of ICT three will be a rapid growth in education. Based on the above, Hawkin (2006), noted that one of the major setback of education the third world countries like Nigeria is lack of ICT tools, lack of adequate computer hardware and software as well as a reliable internet access. He also noted that with the availability of ICT tools like protectors, computer dish/modern for internet access in the schools there will be a great transformation in the educational sectors of the third world countries. It is on this note that the researcher tries to investigate if the use of ICT based instructional materials will improve student’s performance in Biology in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.