With Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) transitioning towards the Right To Education (RTE), teacher education institutions and systems need to be fully geared up to meet the demands of pre-service and in-service teacher education and their professional development. To keep up with this change, the State of Bihar is gearing up to deploy 3000,000 teachers. According to estimates, 250,000 of these will be untrained. It will be a gigantic task to provide two-year training courses to such a large number of teachers. Though the state is preparing its Nalanda Open University, the State Open School, Primary Teacher Education Center (PTEC) and some of the constituent degree colleges for providing various training courses, the target to be met is steep. To tackle this challenge, the Government of Bihar is exploring alternative mechanisms of providing teacher education.The World Bank has been requested by the state of Bihar to provide support in development of distance education curriculum, related syllabi, content, effective delivery mechanisms, appropriate student support systems, and assessment strategies to meet the needs of the large group of untrained teachers.
The World Bank organized “Leadership Training on the Use of ICT in Teacher Education in Bihar”, a three-day workshop, from 27 November 2012 to 29 November 2012, in association with The Teacher Foundation, Bangalore and National College for School Leadership, UK. 40 school leaders, SSA officials and education managers from the State of Bihar participated in the workshop, to decide what kind of ICT infrastructure and technology-enabled education approach is suitable for the state of Bihar.
The Teacher Foundation provided the teacher educators and education managers from the State of Bihar with a hands on experience of various technology-enabled education approaches on 28 November 2012. The session led by TTF began on 28th around 9.50 am after a brief review of the previous day by Tony Richardson from The National College of School Leadership, UK and an overview of the day ahead by Neil Butcher from The World Bank. The objective of the day was to get the 40 participant school leaders and teacher educators to experience and explore the benefits and potential impact of using ICT tools for training using laptops, smart phones, tablets and a blended learning cloud-based platform. On 29 November, the participants were to actively discuss the merits and demerits of various modes of Individualised and Centralised Learning Facility Models that they experienced the previous day.
The participants explored Blended Learning using Elucido’s Virtual Classroom Platform, Emporium Model using Laptops, Communities of Practice using Smart Phones, Personal Learning Networks using Tablets and the possibility of using OLPC for teacher training. The participants were divided into 4 groups. Each of these groups were assigned a Learning Station for each technology-based education approach, ere they could experiment wth and experience using specific devices either in an individualised way or a centralised way. n order to scaffold learning for the participants TTF ensured that simple steps were provided to them for handling and using the devices, before they actually explored to educational potential for training teachers. Every Learning Station visit culminated with a reflection.
Following are samples of participant feedback about the session delivered by TTF:
“I liked the blended technology of ICT, because it helps us to improve our training and teaching methods.”
“All the sessions were very effective. It allowed us to think in a new direction by listening to the experiences people.”
“I liked day 3 first session and most useful to group discussion to make the policy from educational technologies like laptop, tablet and smartphone etc. through networking video conferencing.”
“In this workshop I liked that all the participants were able to generate a common opinion of use of ICT in Teacher Training.”
“It provides a vision to deliver the best teaching techniques in the classroom with the help of ICT technology. The activities of Teacher Foundation to collect opinion and learning were very good.”
The day (28 November) culminated with a demonstration of the scope of using social networking like Facebook as a professional development platform. It generated a lot of excitement and interest
with a couple of participants posing questions that were posted on The Teacher Foundation's Facebook Page and they immediately got responses that all the participants could read. This gave
them a sense of the power and potential of an online professional network.
On 29th November (Day 3 of the workshop) The Teacher Foundation conducted a 2 hour group review of the previous day's learnings. It began with a Learning Walk that participants took to examine what others had put down on each of the 5 Learning Station Walls. This was followed by a sharing in pairs and then a more detailed group discussion on the merits and de-merits of each of the modes of learning and devices that they had explored on 28 November. What seemed evident was the high degree of connection and enthusiastic involvement demonstrated by all the participants.