STUDENT’S INTEREST IN LEARNING IS IMPROVED USING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
Introduction: In the present study the attitudes and perceptions of secondary school students on the role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the learning process are investigated as well as how they differ before and after the use of educational programs in the subject of Geography but also in terms of specific characteristics of students (gender, knowledge, experience, etc.). ICT are classified in the most important tools which are available to teachers and students to support the learning process and the teaching act. One of the benefits of using ICT in the educational process is the active participation of students. In addition, students enjoy every part of this process, since the use of the technology excite their interest and imagination.
Methods: To answer the research hypothesis a software of an educational program was designed. This software included questions, images and maps that were based on the greek schoolbook of the Geography. For its implementation the online tool ArcGIS Explorer was used. The educational exercises that were used within the software were built and presented with the help of tools MOs Solo and Moodle. Moreover, this software was administrated in two Greek Schools of the residence of Athens. For this case study a sample of 54 students (age 14, 20 boys) was used. In order to assess whether the use of this kind of educational programs and software may improve students’ interest or make easier the learning process and which characteristics may be related with the adoption of these techniques, two questionnaires were developed to evaluate the perception of students. The first questionnaire included questions concerning demographics of students, teaching practices followed in the course of Geography, knowledge and familiarity with PC use, the attitudes and perceptions of students in ICT. The second questionnaire contains questions concerning the opinions of students after the use of programs. Student’s t-test for independent samples and Chi-square test were used to answer the research hypothesis. The significance level for all research hypotheses was set at 5%.
Results: Boys choose to change the use of technology in the teaching process (x2=7.920, p=0.005). Also, boys preferred to use the PC during the course (3.35(0.587) vs 2.53(0.788), p=0.0001) and found the course more interesting (3.5(0.688) vs 2.7(0.808), p=0.002). Moreover, it was observed that the students understand the lesson of Geography (5.6(1.515) vs 4.3(1.947), p=0.026) and propose changes in the teaching method wish collecting electronic material for all subjects (6.0(1.022) vs 4.79(1.912), p=0.008).
Conclusion: It was observed that the boys are characterized by a more positive attitude as compared to girls regarding the entry of ICT in the educational process. Furthermore, it was revealed that students who had a better understanding of geography expressed their desire to gather electronic material for all courses with the help of technology. Τhe desire of students for change in the pattern of courses, with inclusion and use of the PC in these, was expressed and it was made clear that they desire school modernization through the introduction of ICT. To conclude, the upgrade of the educational process using ICT appears to improve student interest in learning which demonstrates the effectiveness of this method and the necessity for their future application.