R. Khambayat

National Institute of Technical Teachers Training & Research, Bhopal (INDIA)
The Indian education scenario has undergone a dramatic shift in the last decade. With its demographic advantage of a growing number of young people, higher education has witnessed a consistent rise due to increase of access for learning opportunity in the recent years. The country currently stands at a developmental crossroads, as it is confronted with the need to balance the goal of becoming globally competitive and at the same time achieving the inclusive growth. In spite of remarkable growth in the recent past, a growing body of evidence also points to serious concerns, which include growing incidences of youth unemployment and quality of education & training related issues that require urgent action to help the India to sustain its progress and make significant achievements.

With the phenomenal explosion of knowledge and application of information and communication technologies (ICT) have accelerated the structured access to data and information. ICT has brought about dramatic changes in the world of work. New developments in information technologies have opened-up fresh prospective in teaching and learning. While formal education and training continues to be necessary, planned interventions through ICT based professional development will have also to be infused to advance the knowledge, skills and attitudes among learners as well as practicing teachers. Teacher Educators will be the central forces in utilizing and applying the new learning opportunities created by ICT. The continuous professional development of Teacher Educator is pivotal in deciding, how teaching-learning should take place in the present-day education system.

ICTs will have to be harnessed, as its integration offers unique opportunity to increase the avenues for continuous professional development for practicing teacher educators. Thereby the quality of education, effectiveness and efficiency of delivery will improve to diverse learner groups and communities. The present groundbreaking initiative is in response to the strong need identified for empowering academic staff to master the art of teaching by using technology and modern learning techniques, thus elevating the quality of education in the institutions. An attempt is made to share and discuss the progressive learning experiences of employing ICT for professional development of next generation teacher educators of the Western Region in India.

The paper presents a design framework of using exclusively developed Amrita Virtual Interactive E-learning World (AVIEW) platform along with Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (MOODLE) learning management system for offering the professional development programs specifically designed for technical educators and professionals. The programs aimed at capacity building of academic staff, administrators for transforming the educational culture & teaching –learning system within the institute by creating a sustained and holistic impact. This endeavor envisaged the trained Teacher Educators to act as a change agent. This means we can respond to the diverse needs of learners to prepare them for gainful employment and sustainable livelihoods. It also shares the specific challenges come across, while implementing the new initiative in the region. The program evaluation indicates encouraging feedback & positive change as retorting by all the beneficiaries. Finally, it will provide reflections on the role of ICT in the near future.