Want to Pursue Career As A Special Educator? Explore This Opportunity

There is a crying need for schools in India that caters to children with special needs. The importance and appropriate use of technology to further enhance learning in education is also gaining ground all over the world. Responding to this need the Aditya Birla Education Academy has judiciously planned ABEA to empower educators; to augment their skill-sets to global levels; to give them an opportunity to grow and flourish; to help them become the best knowledge-givers they can be. Aditya Birla Education Academy (ABEA) has been founded with a vision to nurture the aspirations of educators who are in constant pursuit of excellence. The institute aims to equip teaching professionals with skills that will enhance their abilities, enabling them as facilitators to achieve better results in their classroom interactions.


ABEA is a premier institute offering professional development programs for educators, leaders in the education industry and other graduates/postgraduates looking to enter the international education space. The courses will be primarily conducted online along with face to face workshops by international faculty in Mumbai.


Global partnerships


ABEA has associated with some of the most prominent universities from across the globe – The University of Nottingham, the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Belin-Blank Centre, College of Education, The University of Iowa amongst others – to offer professional development programs that help the educators engage better in the classrooms, and evolve as teaching professionals in their endeavour to provide best quality education to the students – our future.


The courses offered


UPenn Graduate School of Education’s Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) Program

University of Iowa’s Professional Diploma Program in Talent Development and Gifted Education

University of Nottingham’s PGCert/PGDip in Educational and Leadership Management


Session launch


The Aditya Birla Education Academy launches its first cohort on 23rd September, 2018 at Mumbai. The courses beginning in the September 2018 cohort are UPenn Graduate School of Education’s Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) Program & University of Iowa’s Professional Diploma Program in Talent Development and Gifted Education. University of Nottingham’s PGCert/PGDip in Educational and Leadership Management will begin in the month of December 2018.




Dr. Laurie Croft, Associate Director, Professional Development, The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center in Gifted Education and Talent Development Clinical Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, UI College of Education


Qualification: Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, University of Tulsa


Experience: With an emphasis on gifted education, Croft’s research interests include the conceptual foundations of gifted education and professional development for teachers of the gifted. Croft has made presentations at various state, national, and international conferences, and to parent groups, teachers, and school boards. She also has experience in facilitating professional learning in gifted education for educators from around the world. She has been a U.S. delegate to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, and has been elected to a three-year term to the Board of Directors for the National Association for Gifted Children.


Croft is responsible for coordinating the comprehensive program of classes and workshops in gifted education that enable educators to earn an endorsement in gifted education, and she supervises practicum experiences in gifted education. She has developed new courses in curriculum concepts, in program models in gifted education, and in conceptions of talent development. Currently, she is developing a graduate certificate in gifted education and talent development at the University of Iowa. Croft serves as the Honors Advisor for the College of Education Honors Opportunity Program, and she encourages undergraduates in the Teacher Education Program to complete coursework in gifted education, a shortage area in Iowa, as well as other states.


Dr. L. Micheal Golden, Executive Director, Catalyst, UPenn GSE


Qualification: Ed.D. from UPenn, MBA from Harvard


Experience: Michael is a proven education leader committed to education reform. He brings expertise in the convergence of business, technology, and education as an implementer with experience in established, emergent, and public sector environments. Most recently, Dr. Golden co-founded and served as CEO of Educurious, a non-profit corporation that provides project-based courses and professional development aimed at motivating students to become purposeful, self-confident, and successful in their learning.

Dr. Golden began his career in education as Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he set strategy, policy, programs, and legislation for over two million students.


As Deputy Secretary, he developed systems and directed funding to make schools more effective and efficient, including formulating and implementing statewide education technology policies and initiatives. He envisioned and rolled out a groundbreaking $250 million reform to embed student-centered, inquiry-based, data-driven pedagogy in Pennsylvania’s 622 high schools through connected classrooms and one-to-one computing environments.


Dr.Catrice Barrett, Facilitator – VOLT Program, UPenn GSE


Qualification: Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from UPenn


Experience: Catrice Barrett is a dedicated educator, advocate and teacher educator, who sees the classroom as a canvas for innovation. Her 10 years of teaching experience combined with a foundational career in software engineering has motivated Catrice’s work with educational technologies, particularly in the area of second/foreign language learning. Collaboration with educators in both K-12 and higher education environments remains a hallmark of Catrice’s success as a thought leader. Her key initiatives include: research and co-teaching with media literacies in the high school ESL classroom; ESOL pre-service teacher supervision and practicum facilitation; convening educational technology showcases; and leading faculty development workshops on blended learning.

Inspired by contemporary best practices in online education, Catrice continues to push the envelope. In the role of project manager and lead research fellow, she led the launch of the Library Lounge online information literacy program at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Her research record covers a range of topics in sociolinguistics, technology and education, including a forthcoming article on asynchronous learning in the Online Learning Journal.

Currently, in addition to teaching with the VOLT Program at Penn GSE, Catrice works as a consultant for elementary schools in the Fulton County School District (Atlanta, GA) to establish blended learning models for foreign language instruction. The same commitment to 21st century learning that inspired Catrice’s trajectory in teaching, research and teacher education has propelled her to continue exploring the promise of technology in the quest to solve challenges for today’s learners.


Dr. Betty Chandy, Director – VOLT and EXACT Program, UPenn GSE


Qualification: Ph.D. in Education from UPenn


Experience: Betty Chandy started her career as a K-12 teacher, and then moved into research exploring the impact of professional development on teachers’ pedagogical practices. Her work with the NSF funded research program Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) sought to bring cutting-edge technology, curriculum, and instruction to Philadelphia ninth- and tenth-grade students. Her research explores teachers’ adoption of technology and the influence of teacher beliefs and attitudes on classroom instruction.

Inspired by the newest education technologies solutions, Betty’s work interests include design of learning environments, online teaching and learning, and use of innovative technology within classrooms. She has worked extensively with professional development technology for teachers in the School District of Philadelphia. She has developed and conducted technology workshops for various target groups such as students, teachers, as well as school and higher education administrators.


Ms. Lara Paparo, Associate Director – Penn Literacy Network, UPenn GSE


Qualification: Bachelor’s degree in Government from Franklin and Marshall College; Master’s degree in Secondary Education and Pennsylvania teaching certification from UPenn.


Experience: Lara Paparo has a vast experience of instructing teachers in the areas of reading, writing and literacy across the curriculum for 16 years through the Penn Literacy Network. Her focus in teacher education is on content area literacy and she is particularly passionate about working with teachers across the curriculum in various content areas.
She co-authored The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning & Literacy in 2016, which is a comprehensive guide to teaching, learning and literacy PreK-12 and across the curriculum. This book includes theory and practical applications to inform teaching and learning through the Four Lenses of Learning, and the Five Reading, Writing, Talking Processes.


Dr. Devasena Desai


She has 24 years of experience in the field of Parenting, Counselling, Gifted Education and as a researcher. She is a Consultant Psychologists for Kaveri Gifted Education Centre, Pune and for Tribal Mensa, Pune. She is also the Supervisory Psychologist for South Zone, Mensa India, she is currently the Adjunct Lecturer for, Department of rehabilitation and Counselor Education, IOWA University. She has presented papers in Dublin, Lithuania in nurturing giftedness. She has organized both national and international workshops in India. She has co-authored a book by Sage Publication in Psychological Assessments and publishing another in Teen Parenting and Marriage. Her extensive work in the field of Gifted adolescent has earned her as a Mentor for several gifted students in Pune, Singapore, Germany and Bangalore.


The faculty from the partner universities will be at the Academy in Mumbai for the first week to get to know the students, understand their diverse needs and to kick-start the program. These educators will hold interactive workshops for a stipulated number of hours, depending upon the course, which will be followed by online lessons. Apart from the online medium, ABEA will also conduct independent workshops from November 2018. These workshops will be conducted at the Aditya Birla World Academy, Tardeo, Mumbai.


Evolving with changing times


The vision for ABEA and the larger interest of creating educators who are also lifelong learners is an attempt to nurture the aspirations of the brilliant and dedicated educators who nurture young minds. It is an opportunity for educators to evolve with changing times, in order to impart new-age education that is on par with the best in the world. It is an attempt to bridge the gap between the existing standards of teaching and the emerging avant-garde ones.


The course offered by the center is meant to aid educators in bringing out the true potential of a gifted student. The VOLT program is expected to aid educators to inculcate and enhance their 21st century skills for their overall development.


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