Teaching learning Practices have changed over a period of time with changing demand. Education has become challenging and competent task. With the advent of Technological development, educational Organizations have thought of adopting alternatives which are complementary and supplementary for fulfilling the demand for the present education system. Students are accustomed to the latest technological gazettes. The innovation and technological revolution has diagrammatically affected the affordability, accessibility and adaptability to these gazettes. With these technological changes the ways and means of imparting education has also been revolutionized. Learner needs a constant help from mentor and requirement for professional demand at teachers level has also emerged. This calls for alternative form of education which will be accessible to the teacher throughout his professional life. In this regard one can use Web portal in professional development of future teachers at in-service as well as pre-service level.
Keywords: Webportal, Teacher, Professional Development.
E-learning has become a core component of Contemporary education. Through online education, distance learning and different modes of E-learning, degrees can be earned by dissolving problems by offering variety of courses to suit the interest of the learner, feasibility, accessibility, time, etc. The characteristic features of e-learning are use of multiple media like on-line classes, real-time learning, video conferencing, chat rooms, bulletin boards, smart board technologies and interactive tools.
Imparting education at educational institutions has become a challenging and competent task. With the advent of Technological development, educational Organizations have thought of adopting alternatives which are complementary and supplementary for fulfilling the demand for the present education. Present generation students are accustomed to the latest technological gazettes. The innovation and technological revolution has diagrammatically affected the affordability, accessibility and adaptability to these gazettes. Role of teachers has changed with the growing demands of the education, teacher has to play role of a guides, facilitator. Students expect teachers to be techno smart to fulfill their needs. Teachers will therefore need to put some effort to fulfill demands of the students. Discussion and Constant interaction with the students are very important for the academic as well as personal growth of the student. Web portal supplemented with classroom study may fulfill growing demands of the education, where resources like online forum, Audio- video conference, Chatting, Sharing of learning resources are made Possible.
The Internet became more accessible as a research and communication tool during late 1980’s. In 1991 the first World Wide Web (WWW) navigators were introduced and in 1994search engines were developed to retrieve Web information more effectively. The most significant Web development of 1998 was the evolution of search engines, and the parallel emergence of the Enterprise Information Portal (Melzer, 1999).
Portal concept to the Web has opened up new possibilities to address issues concerning the personal management of academic information and knowledge. A Web portal can be defined as a Web site for a specific audience that aggregates an array of content and provides a variety of services including search engines, directories, news, e-mail and chat rooms (Pienaar, 2003).
Web Portal is an interactive programme for teachers, students along with information about the institutions. It offers a scope of interaction among teachers and students of different institutions through internet. Web Portal gives one the capability to discuss, interact, share ideas and help build knowledge outside the classroom also. It integrates all the features of Interaction and Sharing. It gives accessibility of all the learning resources at anytime and at any place. It stands for learning resources, Quality, Innovation and Delivery.
CHANGING ROLE OF TEACHER IN TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED EDUCATION
Today students are no more interested in listening to lectures. At adolescence stage students’ expectations are influenced by network television, computer games, and Internet. So it is very essential to guide them in proper direction. ICT has potential to involve students actively in the learning process in synchronous or asynchronous mode. This can further be used as a tool by teachers for their professional development. Teacher education needs to orient and sensitize teacher to distinguish between critically useful, developmentally appropriate and the detrimental use of ICT. In a way, ICT can be imaginatively drawn upon for professional development and academic support of the pre-service and in-service teachers (NCFTE, 2009). UNESCO (2009) emphasized to adopt virtual learning environments (VLEs), which will incorporate collaboration and communication tools, web-based tools in teaching and learning. It also recommended developing course materials using a combination of face-to-face and computer based approaches.
This suggests for integrating Technology into curriculum at Pre-service level to produce Techno savvy Teacher to teach Students of 21st century. Thus, Professional development of Pre-service as well as In-service teachers is very essential in the context of ICT enhanced education.
TEACHERS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Teacher Professional Development is a systematized, initial and continuous, coherent and modular process of professional development of educators in accordance with professional competency standards and frameworks (Shafika, 2006). Teacher professional development would also include training in the adaptation to the evolution of change of the profession of teachers and managers of education systems.
Various Recommendations given by different Committee and Commissions for the Professional Development of the Teachers as cited in Ministry of Human Resources and Development Working Paper on In-Service Teacher Professional Development for Elementary Education (2011):
- The teacher is the key agent in the transition to this vision of education. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC, 2007) has observed that the teacher is the single most important element of the school system and has stressed the need to substantially enhance teachers‟ Professional capabilities, standing and commitment to education.
- The NCFTE (2010) advocates teacher education to be open and flexible, emphasizing dialogical exploration rather than didactic communication, diversity of social contexts and learning spaces as sources of inspiration, and teacher education based on reflective practice rather than on a fixed knowledge base (NCFTE 2010). The challenge is to translate this new National consensus from the policy level into practice.
ICT has lots to offer in terms of professional development for teachers. It is useful to adopt some web based strategy for the professional as well as Personal development of teachers for technology enhanced learning.
Major core contemporary Technology used in education are E-learning, M-learning,
Multimedia Learning, Computer assisted instruction, Web enhanced learning strategy, online learning, online forum, etc. There are two major aspects within use of ICT in Education. First is Learning HOW to use ICT and second is Learning through ICT. When learning how to use ICT, the instructional focus is integrated ICT as classroom process and Use of ICT as a part of method, curriculum, and lesson planning. In learning with ICT, instruction is presented and distributed primarily through web environments or systems offering an integrated range of tools to support learning and communication.
Some key principles of good practice emerging for the use of ICT for Teachers Professional Development with an ICT component include:
- The need to shift from “Education for ICT‟ to the use of ICT for Education” – a fundamental shift in focus from training teachers for ICT technical skills to supporting teachers in the use ICT for educational enhancement;
- The need to focus on sustainable, resource adequate and on-going professional development in order to ensure the effective deployment of ICT;
- Teachers and teacher educators should genuinely „own‟ the process of ICT integration- to enable them to be creative in adapting ICT to their own classroom circumstances;
- The need to combine pre-service and in-service initiatives balancing support to both environments;
- The need for ICTs to be integrated across the curriculum in a blended way;
- The need for locally produced content that is relevant to teachers and learners;
- Communications between schools, teacher training institutions within and across boundaries should be facilitated;
- The need to develop policy to deal comprehensively with TPD for ICT integration.
(Hooker, 2006; Unwin, 2004)
ICT has lots to offer in terms of professional development for teachers. Web portal is one of dimension of ICT which can be an effective tool for the professional development of the Teachers. It is useful to adopt some web based strategy for the professional as well as Personal development of teachers for technology enhanced learning.
WEBPORTAL FOR THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHERS
One of the Basic features of Web Portal is to enable students to actively disseminate information and share knowledge in the form of news, events, documents in different formats, images, or other relevant data.
Web portal is one of dimension of ICT which can be an effective tool for the professional development of the Teachers. Web Portal is a web page which is having features like discussion board, student login, content sharing, open source material for the Professional Development of the Teachers can be thought of having following Features.
Collaborative features: Web portal should have audio or video conference or Forum for the interaction among teachers and Students. Video conferencing requires high bandwidth. In the Audio conferencing it will have the mentors acting as a moderator and main speaker. Video and Audio conferencing already been used as an e-learning mainly as the recorded video or lecture and students can view it as per their time and schedule.
Instant messaging: Instant messaging is the one of important feature of Webportal. It is very effective tool for real-time information exchange. Students and Teachers interact among themselves on threads. The portal will provide support for online solution review with the possibility of attaching forum-like discussions. Thus students can view it and get feedback also. This will reduce the amount misconception and increase understanding also.
Poll: Education Poll is used for the opinion of the learners on some social issues or any educational or learning problems. Where students and teachers can express their view and comments as well as give vote on particular option or answer.
Safety measures: Unauthorized people should never get access, and different groups may have different permissions. The easy accessibility of information through the World Wide Web, make plagiarism a very tempting solution for Passive students. Web portion should have security measures like password, user information to prevent Plagiarism.
Accessibility of the learning resources: Easy accessibility of the learning material is very essential features of the Web portal. Students of an organization can view learning material and download the same. The Learning Material should be in the form of Portable Document Format (PDF), Powerpoint presentations, videos etc. so that it can be accessed easily. Audio-Video and multimedia presentation of the learning resource may lead students to lifelong learning. Thus, development of the learning resources and accessibility of the learning material is the one of the essential features of Web portal.
Evaluation and Feedback: Student Evaluation and Feedback is the essential feature of any Web portal. Students and the mentors can come to know about the achievement of the students by the analyzing data activities. Even mentors come to know about the Web portal and conducted activities under it and develop contents accordingly. The portal should feature an integrated user feedback module and a web analytics engine which will help the authors evaluate and improve its effectiveness through interface changes.
Mentors’ role: Mentors role is also very essential in the Web portals. Mentors should be well informed with developed content knowledge, soft communication skills, techno savvy and be able to monitor learners in audio-video conferencing, forum, interaction etc. Mentor play a role of facilitator of learning and as a guide.
News: This feature will help user to know about the different upcoming events in the field of education. It will also educate the user about the latest developments in the field of educations in the form of government policies and practices. With these features of Web Portal can be supplement to the present education system for the professional development of the teachers with the changing role as a facilitator and guide.
Changing role of Teachers with the demands of Students and Society, have some influence on Teacher education also. It is essential to adopt new methods or approach to train Pre service and In service teachers which is supplementary to the present teacher education. ICT plays very important role in teacher education. ICT can be used as a tool for the professional development of Teachers. In this direction, teacher education may think of adopt Web Portal to train teachers. Web portal with the advance features like Bulletin Board, Online Collaboration, Online forum, and Accessibility of Learning resources, Students Activity, Polls and Feedback. Constant interaction with the mentors and experts faculty makes learning more meaningful and Comprehensive also. Educational Web portal, supplementary to Teacher education is an essential tool for the Professional Development of In service and Pre service teachers.
Hooker, M. (2008). Concept Note: The Use of ICT in Teacher Professional Development. Retrieved from www.gesci.org/old/files/docman/TPD_Workshop-Concept_Note.doc
Ministry of Human Resources and Development. (2011). In-service Teacher Professional Development for Elementary Education. Working Paper on In-Service Teacher Professional Development for Elementary Education, Government of India.
National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education. (2009). National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education: Towards Preparing Professional and Humane Teacher. Delhi: NCTE.
National Curriculum Framework. (2005). National Curriculum Framework 2005. New Delhi: National Council of Educational Research and Training.
National Knowledge Commission. (2009). National Knowledge Commission Report to the Nation 2006 – 2009. New Delhi: New Concept Information Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Pienaar, H. (2003). Design and Developmentof an Academic Portal.International Journal of Libraries and Information Services, 53, 118–129.
Shafika, (2006). Towards a GeSCI Initiative on Teacher Professional Development in Africa.Dublin: GeSCI.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2009). ICTs for Higher Education.Commonwealth of Learning: UNESCO.
Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara.
 UGC JRF, Department of Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology.The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,Vadodara.