THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL NETWORK ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS
Background to the Study
Science has made numerous and unalloyed contribution to the realization and advancement of the contemporary world and it has been attributed as the foundation for technological breakthrough in this modern world. It is not surprising seeing government of many developing counties like Nigeria fighting making all efforts to develop science and technology. According to Ogunleye (2002), he defined science as a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of the world we live in. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe. Without the application of science, it would have been difficult for man to explore his environment. Science comprises the basic subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Agriculture and Biology.
Biology is one of the science subjects offered at the senior secondary school levels in Nigerian Secondary Schools (NPE, 2004). Biology is a very important science subject and a requirement for higher learning in a number of science-related professional courses like medicine, agriculture, pharmacy. Biology is a natural science that deals with the living world: 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 interact to one another and with their environment (Umar, 2011). It is a prerequisite subject for many fields of learning that contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation (Ahmed, 2008). This includes medicines, pharmacy, nursing, agriculture, forestry, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and many other areas (Ahmed & Abimbola, 2011). According to Ofoegbu (2003), biology is a science subject offered in secondary schools by majority of the students and in most schools, it is optional for students in that, it is one of the core subjects. It is therefore, a science subject that enables students to acquire the knowledge to live effectively in the modern age of science and technology.
An educated populace is vital in today’s world, with the convergent impacts of globalization, the increasing importance of knowledge as a main driver of growth, and the information and communication revolution. Knowledge accumulation and application have become major factors in economic development and are increasingly at the core of a country’s competitive advantage in the global economy. The combination of increased computing power, diminishing prices of hardware and software, improvement of wireless and satellite technologies, and reduced telecommunication costs has all but removed the space and time barriers to information access and exchange.
Academic performance is the outcome of education — the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals. Academic achievement is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessment but there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspects are most important procedural knowledge such as skills or declarative knowledge such as facts. Individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. Students with higher mental ability as demonstrated by IQ tests and those who are higher in conscientiousness (linked to effort and achievement motivation) tend to achieve highly in academic settings. A recent meta-analysis suggested that mental curiosity (as measured by typical intellectual engagement) has an important influence on academic achievement in addition to intelligence and conscientiousness.
Social Network is a social structure made up of individuals or organisations called “nodes”, which aretied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige (Adeboye,2012, cited in Asemah and Edegoh,2012). Social network can also be referred to as a map of specified ties, suchas friendship, between the nodes being studied. The nodes, to which an individual is thus connected, are thesocial contacts of that individual; the network can also be used to measure social capital – the value that anindividual gets from the social network. Social networking sites include: Yahoo Messenger, FacebookMessenger, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Google talk, Google+Messenger, iPhone, Androids and so on. Thesenetworking sites are used by most people to interact with old and new friends, physical or internet friends(Adeboye, 2012, cited in Asemah and Edegoh, 2012).
The expansion in technology has also affected internet software, thus leading to chatting sites known bythe name “social media”. With social networking sites, one can send and receive messages almost immediately.However, lack of regulation of the internet has led to its excessive use. McQuail (2008) avers that the
internet penetrates more homes.
Social network is a phenomenon that has been developing in a rapid pace. Different scholars have described it in a different way and as Jacka and Scott (2011) say “there is no single recognized definition of social media”. Drury (2008) defines Social network as “online resources that people use to share content: video, photos, images, text, ideas, insight, humor, opinion, gossip, news”. Safko and Brake (2008) further defined Social network as activities, practices, and behaviors among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media. Conventional media are Web-based applications that make possible for one to create and easily transmit content in the form of words, pictures, videos, and audios”. Different researcher explained their perspective regarding Social network and we support Drury’s definition as it explains the role of Social network in a precise statement. Social network has certainly became a global platform where sharing data internationally has become an international trend.
Technology has grown immensely and has brought major changes globally. Communication barriers have reduced through technological advancement and new mediums are being introduced to connect global audiences. Social networking has become an international trend and has spread its reach to almost every corner of the world. According to a survey conducted in 2014 there were 15.4 million people using Facebook which represented percent of the total population (Haque, 2014). However, with these advancements a major concern arises as in this age of huge technological development social networking sites are becoming more and more popular especially among students.
Academic performance is the dependent variable of our research and is defined as the performance a student has maintained in his/her academic career. Academic performance at university level is considered up to the mark if the student has persistently maintained his GPA. However, external factors may influence on student’s academic performance such as Social network usage. In light of this, our objective is to investigate the impact of social network on students academic performance in biology.
Statement of the Problem
It is a common sight to see a youth chatting in sensitive and highly organised places like church, mosque and lecture venues. Some are so carried away that even as they are walking along the high way, they keep chatting. The manufacturing and distribution of equally sophisticated cellular phones has complicated the situation, as youths no longer need to visit a cybercafé before they send and receive messages. Attention has been shifted from visible to invisible friends, while important ventures like study and writing are affected in the process. This phenomenon has become a source of worry to many who believe in knowledge and skill acquisition.
Since the advent of Social network sites in the 1990s, it is assumed in some quarters that the academic performance of students are facing a lot of neglect and challenges in tertiary institution. There is a deviation, distraction and divided attention between social networking activities and their academic work.
It is observed that students devote more attention to Social network than they do to their studies. Therefore, the question this study will answer is what is the impact of social network on students academic performance in biology.
Purpose of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to examine the impact of social network on students academic performance in biology. The specific objectives of the study are to:
1) identify the various social networking sites Biology student do access
2) determine the hours the students spend in social networking activities weekly for academic purpose
3) ascertain the impact of Social network on the academic performance of biology students.
The following research questions were raised and answered
- What are the social networking sites that students in Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti do access ?
- How many hours do the students spend on social networking activities per week?
- What are the impact of Social network on the academic performance of the biology students of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti?
Scope of the Study
The essence of this research work is to primarily study Social network and academic performance of students in Biology.
The study is restricted to secondary school students. The study covers all the social network available on line.
Significance of the Study
The study would be of benefit to biology student, education planners/ministry of education, future researchers and others.
The study will reveal to student the importance of social media, types of social media, influence of Social network and how it can enhance their academic performance.
The study will gear up education planners/ministry of education to recognize influence of Social network on student and find means of ensuring that student use it for academic purpose for example, using Social network for browsing of assignment and getting relevant biology materials.
The study would help researchers with more information on the influence of Social network on academic performance. It will be relevant in assisting students in understanding the diversity of social media. It will provide relevant material for students and researchers who may want to undertake research on similar topic.
Definition of Terms
Social Media: Social network is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration
Academic Performance: is the outcome of education — the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.
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