Friday, October 28, 2016

Searching For Visionaries!

 All my updates are like chapters in a book, they all complement each other (and short!), and I would recommend to read all for them (but in any order! :) ).

This update is about a vision.

A visionary is not the one who can see things farther away than others, nowadays everyone can utilize binoculars or other instruments to see things afar.

A visionary is the one who can see NOW, what others will see much later. And again, nowadays there are tools which allow everyone to be a visionary.

I am not a visionary. Even if I see something still hidden for many, it is because I am standing on (stealing from Sir Isaac Newton) “the shoulders of giants”.

The power of a random walk generated by a social “Brownian motion” has led me to my current position. My diverse experience allowed me to compose my views. Now I am using my professional website www.TeachOlogy.xzy, my personal blog, and my fundraising campaign https://www.gofundme.com/teachology as “binoculars” which all people could use to see what I see.

In movie “Jobs” Ashton Kutcher’s character Steve Jobs tells to Dermot Mulroney’s character Mike Markkula: “You are either with me or against me!”.

I am not so drastic. I am looking for people who are with me on the path for transforming education by transforming the science of education. But I would never consider as enemies people who do not share our view.

Recently I wrote a short letter to a high ranking Boston University official. Despite my expectations, he responded with a thoughtful letter, doubting the need for a science of education (and some other views). Obviously, I cannot post his letter, but below is my response to him, which also can be applied to any institution, organization, or an individual.

Dear _______.

1. First I want to express my gratitude for you finding time to read, to think and to respond. My informal statistics shows that out of 20 people who received my email 16 would not react at all, 3 would send back something trivial like “thank you”, or “good luck”. One writes something thoughtful, like you did. I truly appreciate your time.

2. If we want to travel from one place on Earth to another place on Earth as fast as we can we use an airplane. Trying to do it faster and with more comfort, with more people on board, and less fuel spent, we make plains better and better. However, no matter how good we are at making airplanes, if we want to travel in space we have to completely change the approach. First, we have to change our own psychology, we have to want to travel in space, we have to believe it is possible, and then we have to find a drastically new principle which could be used for building “space planes” (a.k.a. rockets). And this is just a beginning of the new approach.

Using this analogy, I say that currently everyone involved in education – in any/every role! – is trying to build better airplanes. I want to build a rocket. The project will not address any current issues in education any soon, and that is why almost no one feels any attraction to it. Which brings me to my current actions.

3. Searching for people.

I am not really looking for any funding (yet), I am not trying to convince anyone that I am right. I am looking for people with whom my view resonates. I am not the only one who (a) states that a science of education does not exists, and (b) it is possible to develop it (for me – I am positive that it is possible at least for STEM subjects /we have an example when an art has been gradually transferred into a science – the game of chess/; I am not an expert in other areas, however, I would expect that there are common principles which work for any subject). Hence, I have a long list of people in various spheres (officials, charity officials, venture capitalist, etc.) to whom I am trying to reach out. I am in the process of a consensus building. It might take weeks, or months, or years, I do understand this. However, I see only two scenaria.

I. When the project finds sufficient support and will be ready to be launched into the next phase, all credits for that will be just mine, Boston University will not have anything to do with it (like the patent bureau where in 1905 Albert Einstein wrote his papers has nothing to do with the special relativity theory – I am not compering myself with AE, I am using this example as a clear analogy).

II. or it will be I and Boston University together (even if initially we were not exactly on the same page).

3. I would not describe my emotion as frustration, at least that was not intentional. I would rather say I feel some disappointment. But my hope is that I am not alone who is disappointed with the current state of education (for example, considering how the funds put into it). 

I want to thank you again and to express my appreciation, and to invite you to physics department Pumpkin Drop which happens today at 12!

Sincerely yours,

Valentin

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Treat Education Like Space Exploration - the diagram

It is difficult to explain in a few words a very complicated matter. For my project Treat Education Like Space Exploration at http://www.teachology.xyz/30uS.html and https://www.gofundme.com/teachology I have developed one picture which should make things clearer!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Facilitating In-Service Teacher Training for Professional Development - my chapter is out!

It finally is happening:

Facilitating In-Service Teacher Training for Professional Development

http://www.igi-global.com/book/facilitating-service-teacher-training-professional/164920

Projected Release Date: February, 2017|Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 315

ISBN13: 9781522517474|ISBN10: 1522517472|EISBN13: 9781522517481|
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1747-4

Chapter 16: Professional Designing as One of Key Competencies of Modern Teacher: an Ability Which Every Teacher Needs to Have
Valentin Voroshilov, Boston University

Buy Hardcover + Free E-Book
Qty: $185.00

But the first draft of my chapter is on my website www.TeachOlogy.xyz 

"Physics course to Every Student! Physics into Every School!"

The GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/teachology) fundraising campaign is the only one I run, but I am working on other projects, too. This past weekend I participated in NES-AAPT meeting (https://aapt-nes.org/). There I was advocating for providing to all New England high school students at least an algebra based physics course. The motto of the initiative is: "Physics course to Every Student! Physics into Every School!" The reason is simple: physics is uniquely positioned as a bridge between math and nature. In order to help graduates to be prepared to contemporary job market they need to take at least an algebra based physics course.
Follow the links for more information:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4ymbgk
http://www.teachology.xyz/2020.html
Please, feel free to share with members of your professional and private networks, and contact me if you have any questions or want to participate. And of courser, please share the information about this GoFundMe campaign!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Notes on Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” Summit (Boston, 16 – 18 October, 2016)


Notes on Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” Summit (Boston, 16 – 18 October, 2016)
(If you had read the introduction to this post on my campaign site: https://www.gofundme.com/teachology, just scroll down to asterisks line ********** below)
These three days have been very insightful for me.
I am sure that later in time I will have more coherent picture of what had happened. In this update I just want to offer my brief, mostly chronological than logical, illustration of the Summit.
As you know, I am not really an entrepreneur – not yet. But I will. According to Jon Nastor (the author of “Hack the Entrepreneur) “We aren’t born entrepreneurs, we become them”.
When I was a student, I saw myself writing papers on condensed matter physics, publishing books and giving conference talks. Nowadays I am trying to transfer to people the feeling of urgency and my view on the deepness of the issues in a science of education (which does not exists yet: http://www.teachology.xyz/30uS.html).
I do have an entrepreneurial gene, though. If I hadn’t, I would not quit my rising career back in Russia 14 years ago, and would not move to a different country with only $300.00 in my pocket, $5000.00 in debt, with no professional network, and no ability to speak or understand English. And look at me know – teaching physics to college students, and publishing papers on education!
After overcoming the language barrier, reestablishing myself as an educator, it seems only logical for me to finally move into the next new world – entrepreneurship. In theory, I know a lot about it (I read now!), but knowing something how to do, and doing it – makes a big difference (like in physics)! And trust me on this: I know what to do and I am doing it.
As you may know, I sent my application (https://youtu.be/jCE_Z_bat74) being perfectly aware that it will not be accepted (too old – at the minimum). I did not hide my age (https://youtu.be/-wUw9b8h7Sg), but sent it anyway. The result was an invitation to the Summit (for people who had to buy the access it cost about $500 or more). I signed up for the “Impact” section. The section had many passionate and impressive people (http://www.forbesconferences.com/event/2016-forbes-under-30-summit-boston/ or upload a pfd file from www.TeachOlogy.xyz/F16.pdf, also check my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/valentinvoroshilov/).
During presentations and panel discussions I kept my notes, and here I want to summarize some of the thoughts. You may find some of the thoughts obvious or naïve, but I find them uplifting, or informative, or resonating with my own views.
GoFundMe limits the size of an update, so I posted the full version of the notes on my blog https://teachologyforall.blogspot.com/ (here!);
I also made a short video: https://youtu.be/U0SEqJELy7U

****************************************
If you want to reach investors, be passionate, not logical, at least at the beginning. Investors do want to give for a good cause, but they need to feel what you feel about your project and the goal you want to achieve. Investors do fund mission driven companies (i.e. ones which make money AND improve a society). Try to make investors to feel compassion to your cause and to you (BTW: this part of a conversation is usually problematic for me, because I am a very logical person, and do not have much of experience with appealing to somebody’s feelings; in fact, I think appealing to feelings might make more harm than good – a.k.a. Donald Trump).
An entrepreneur needs a community of people who have similar views on the social issues. A path often starts from a discussion of what is wrong with the world and what to do about it. One needs a team of people who share the vision.
An entrepreneur needs to be ready to describe: What is the social issue one wants to solve? What can be done to lessen the issue? Who has to be involved, and what will they do? How to find people with the right skills? What media or legislative support is needed? In the end, what social value will be created or strengthen?
One of the hardest things to do is to convince other people that the goal is achievable, that the project is doable. If the current situation has been around for a long time, if it became a part of the realty, a culture, a norm, people do not believe it can be changed. What helps is igniting peoples’ imagination and picture the situation when the issue is resolved to contrast it with the current situation.
No matter how hard it can be to find people who can believe in you, “if you need to walk the walk you have to start walking”. Do not wait until your plans will be 100 % clear to you, start acting, “launch and iterate”. It takes time to achieve the critical mass of supporters and collaborators. Corrections can be done on the way.
One panel had a very vibrant discussion about sexism in general and in business in particular. It is very difficult to change the perception of women which had been a part of a culture for centuries. I thought that in the business of startups there is also a culture of ageism – if you are already older than 30 no venture capitalist will talk to you. Talking about changes in education we run into a similar problem: i.e. for centuries education has been seen as arts and crafts and anybody can do it. This perception still dominates in culture, but it is wrong (everybody can cook, but not everyone can be a chef – same with education, everybody can talk and tell what to do, but not everyone can be a good teacher).
In medicine collecting and storing reliable data is still a problem. But even bigger problem is sharing the data with a patient. To make a transition from collecting data to sharing data many different parties have to agree on common protocols - i.e. common language to describe events and processes, common list of measurable parameters, common set of values for the parameters, common procedures for measuring parameters – this is EXACTLY what makes any science to be a science, hence, to make a transition from collecting data to sharing data people active in the field have to start developing a science of the field (plus other issues have to resolved, like legal status of data, policies). A very similar situation is true for education (science of education does not yet exist).
An investor assesses a project via: good cause v. achievable cause; scope of the problem v. scope of proposed solution; local solution v. scalable solution.
For every education-related project an investor should know: how does the proposed solution affect teachers (the issues of a shortage of high quality teachers; is the solution helps teachers to grow professionally or “replaces” teachers with new tools; how is this project different from just giving to school students missing resources like textbooks – when I was listening to judges who would select the winner of the Forbes 1 million contest I thought that even some investors may not know what exactly should they ask about an education-related project).
For every project an investor should know: how does the proposed solution helps to increase social mobility of students (people of a certain group)?
While listening to the discussions on the stage, I formulated some questions to which I did not hear an answer.
What is the difference between making an impact via investments, and making an impact via charitable donations?
The most of the impact projects aim at solving a specific social issue (e.g. absences of access to learning computer coding, absence of access to teaching materials like textbooks or supplemental texts, absence of access to high quality teaching mathematics, absence of shoes, or food), and they are limited by a local area (a district, a city). These projects solve social problems here and now. How to present a project which aims at making a systemic change on a large scale and in a relatively distant future (for example, mine)?
One thing left me disappointed. Organizers had managed to build a glass wall between the people on the stage and the audience. There were no open microphones for questions, not even an option to pass a note. It was literally staged like a theatrical play with a very expensive tickets (not as expensive as the “Hamilton”, though). I saw and heard many people, and I would really like to meet some them (for example, see below my tweet to Ms. Linda Pizzuti Henry).
At the very end of the event I had an interesting encounter. When I went back to the Village (a.k.a. City Hall Plaza) I met a lady from Forbes, one of the organizers. It happened in the Idea tent, where entrepreneurs were pitching their ideas to the crowd. I asked the lady how could I get to the stage to pitch my idea? When she realized that I was older than the title of the Summit, she started looking for something in her bag, then she fished out her phone and started talking (I didn’t hear the phone ringing, but it could have been in a vibrate mode), then she turned around and started waving her hand (I did not see anyone waving back), then she turned to a guy on her side and started walking around him until she finally went away saying to my nothing, even not looking at me at all. To this moment I do not know if she really got a call and need to see someone, or she just faked it to avoid talking to me.
Respectfully yours,
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov
www.TeachOlogy.xyz
Appendix:
My tweet to Ms. Linda Pizzuti Henry

Dear Ms. Pizzuti Henry,

Before time erased our memory and the feelings brought by the Summit are still fresh, I would like to invite you to become a part of a story (which may become a history).

Yesterday during the discussion you may have seen me in a third row across of you (I was one of the few old people in the audience).
You would need no more than 15 minutes to make your mind about me and my cause.
All it takes is (in the given order):
3-minute watching: https://youtu.be/jCE_Z_bat74
6-minute watching: https://youtu.be/_AMcx5BLz14
You and the Globe could be documenting the history of the rise (or not) of a profoundly new approach to a science of education.
Respectfully yours,
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov
 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My plans for Forbes magazine "30 under 30" summit in Boston.

My post today is very short.
Today is the first day of Forbes magazine "30 under 30" summit in Boston.
I got an invitation to it and I want to use it.
I do not like surprises, even if they are good ones. I try to be prepared for everything what might happen. What if someone asks me hwy am I here? I need to be prepared. That is why I rehearsed my possible interview, just in case I would be giving one.
Here is the link to it: https://youtu.be/jCE_Z_bat74
(by mysterious reasons sometimes YouTube bans my videos; in that case I just post them on a rival site: this video is also posted at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4xohyp)
By the way, I have more videos which show different sides of me as a person and as a teacher, my YouTube channel is:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It took me a long way to reformat my mind


I was trained as a theoretical physicist. What I started on October 14th, 2016 is a social experiment.

It took me a long way to reformat my mind. When growing up I was taught that only one type of social experiments can exist – a revolution; and it has to involve a whole country, and no individual can conduct his/her own social experiments.

Now we know that social experiments can happen on different scales, and anyone can initiate one. We also know that, as any experiment, this experiment can fail.

However, as I always say to a student telling me: “Mr. V, I don’t know what to do to solve this problem” – “Try something, anything, there is always something you CAN do!”.

In school I learned about one of the biggest social experiment of the 20th century – “The Grate October Revolution”. Now we call it “A Bolshevik Coup of October of 1917”.

I remember an interesting fact. The Bolshevik movement started from a printing a small paper, rather a flier, called “A Spark”. The motto of the paper was “a Fire will come from a Spark.”

And – for better or worth - it did!

I hope that this campaign will become such a spark and together we will make a difference!
Today I got another donation!
Thank you everyone who shared or donated!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Today is a big day! I started my GoFundMe campaign!

Today is a big day for me! I finally got the guts to reach out directly to people. I started my GoFundMe campaign, you can find it at https://www.gofundme.com/teachology.
For everyone thinking about giving to any campaign two questions are importnat:
"Can I trust him?", and "Can he deliver what he promises?".
My website provides an extensive info on who I am: http://teachology.xyz/mathhealth/rezume.htm. The first chapter of my book "Becoming a STEM teacher" tells you my story (http://books.noisetrade.com/teachology).
In short, I had a very good career in Russia, just before I left I ran an institution responsible for developing and implementation of innovative policies in education for a city with 1 million people. Regional officials reached to me for consultations when developing 5-year program for development of regional system of education. But when I got a chance to move my family to the U.S. I took it (in part because I wanted to save my son).
I had to learn how to speak, and now I teach. I had to learn how to write, and now I publish papers and books.
I know what I want, and I can do it!
The full description of the campaign is long (I am a teacher). The shortest version is this:
My current goal is to ignite public and to attract attention to the issue of a science of education.
In 1939 a letter has been delivered to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That letter helped to change the history, because it became one of several important seeds from which later on the “Manhattan Project” grew up and the first atomic bomb was created.
The letter was signed by Albert Einstein. But the main authors of the letter were Hungarian physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller. Why didn’t they leave their signatures on the letter, and why for delivering the letter did they employ a help of another person who personally knew F.D.R. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein%E2%80%93Szil%C3%A1rd_letter)?
Because previously those physicists wrote a similar letter to the State Department, but nothing happened!
If Twitter, Facebook, and crowdfunding websites existed in 1939, maybe the Hungarian physicists could use the power of masses instead of the power of names to attract attention of people in power?
Everyone who finds at least some logic in the project, please be my Einstein and share this post.

Monday, October 10, 2016

An example of NOT being a teacher.

Today I have met a man, we talked, I said that I am a teacher, and he told me a story.
His son could not get how to divide numbers.
Turns out, today math teachers teach division differently.
The man showed his son the old fashion long division and the son got it, and started using it, and was getting correct results.
However, math teacher wrote a note to the man saying that he cannot teach his son methods different from approved by a school.
This is a spectacular example of NOT being a teacher.
Down the road, it does not matter how a student does division as long as it is done correctly. And if a student can learn division differently from taught by a teacher, it only means the teacher is not good. Period.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My book is at http://books.noisetrade.com/teachology

Hi everyone,
yesterday I found an interesting site
http://books.noisetrade.com/
(better say, the site found me, someone sent me a link) 
I was able to post there my latest book "Becoming a STEM teacher: a crash course for people entering the profession".
Now, everyone can download for free a pdf file,or a mobi file for reading the book on Kindle, or epub file for an iphone or an ipad.
Here is a link.
http://books.noisetrade.com/teachology
But what I like the most is that everyone who likes the book can leave for me a small gift :)
Hope you will like the book!