Age and ICT-Related Behaviours of Higher Education Teachers in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

The impact of new ICT has significantly changed the speed of production, use and distribution of knowledge. Time was when the principal teaching resources available to a professor were the books in the college library, his chalkboard and an occasional map on the classroom. But higher education has exhibited a trend toward a new kind of support for instructional services and an extreme development of facilities to encourage the utilization of new media (Brown and Thornton, 1963). This is made possible through the use of ICT. But a country's capacity to take advantage of the knowledge economy depends on how quickly it can adjust its capacity to generate and share knowledge (Imogie, 2002). There is an apparent consensus that the starting point of this adjustment is with higher education teachers (Aston, 1996; Jegede, 2006; Oliver 1994). This is premised on the fact that opportunity to watch and observe teacher educators teach with ICT is in itself a transfer of skills and behaviour. Oliver (1994) identified the needs for student teachers to experience models of ICT use in their own learning before they can go ahead to implement same in their later profession.

But informal observations reveal that older higher educators are naturally wary of ICT use in general. The popular saying "you can not teach an old dog new tricks" seem to describe their disposition. If this is so, the situation portends great danger and bleak landscape for poor and non-existent use of ICT in both primary and secondary schools classrooms. This is because older teacher educators are in most cases the senior teachers occupying professorial chairs. Also the task of curriculum design, development and revision rest largely on older teacher educators. Their ICT behaviour becomes much more replicated in pre -service teachers than the ICT behaviour of the younger colleagues. Their disposition and skills will no doubt affect their views and perception on how and what ICT training content need be integrated into teacher education curriculum. Apart from this, the effects of age start to become noticeable from the mid-forties onward, so that aging people are not just another minority group but an important segment of the population (Hawthorn, 2000).This is also the case among teacher educators. If situation will improve a starting point is first answering the question what is the influence of age of teacher educators on their ICT behaviour? The reason for starting from this point is because an intervention strategy (if there will be need for any) would require beyond mere speculations and informal observation. Empirical evidences are presently lacking in Nigeria. Thus this study seeks to provide information that will assist in making informed data-based decision regarding ICT-related curricular and instructional matter.

Research results in some developed nations revealed narrowing gaps across age groups in ICT related behaviours. For example Helpguide (2004) found that older Americans are exhibiting better computer behaviour than in the former years. This position finds support in Luchetta (2000) but this narrowing gap across age groups in ICT related behaviour is not a global trend, for example, examining Norway's situation, Hernes, Hestman and Haeland (2000) observed that the share of teachers who state that they have a good command of the use of the Internet is negatively correlated with age. About 77% of the teachers who are 25 years or younger stated that they have a good command of the use of Internet, compared to 25% of the teachers who are 56 years or older. Also around 63% of the teachers who are 25 years or younger versus only 32% of the teachers who are 56 years or older have a positive attitude towards the use of the Internet in their own teaching. This is also consistent with the findings of Liang and Chao (2002) as they obtained that Taiwan younger teachers were the more literate on Internet.

A different approach entirely was that of William, Wilson, Richardson, Tuson and Coles (2000) as they compared age and ICT attitude of teachers across primary and secondary schools in Scotland. …