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Thursday, November 30, 2017

The list of TubeCasts

This page provides links to short videos, which I call TubeCasts.
It is like a podcast, but on YouTube.
However, the video is not important, so one can just listen to the it.
Why wouldn’t I just make a podcast?
Because making YouTube videos is very simple, easy-peasy, 1,2,3 done.
I know how to do it and I have plenty of experience in doing it.
And because I am too lazy to learn how to do a podcast.

The list of TubeCasts

A word to Mr. Jeff Bezos of the Amazon

Much ado about gloves

DON'T buy "Made in China"!

Making inexpensive chagrin dock for Samsung phones

Free business ideas: Part 1

Friday, November 10, 2017

When reforms are due, too much of experience may be as bad as too little of it.

Charity OR investments? Can $$ billions reform education? Inventors/innovators: nature or nurture? Is thinking even teachable?
When reforms are due, having too much of experience in the field may be as bad as having too little of it.
Recently, all type of news outlets informed about new $1.7 billion initiative of Mr. Bill Gates.
In his speech Mr. Gates said: “We will let people come to us with the set of approaches they think will work for them in their local context.”
Everyone who dreams of changing education should keep it mind - it is not about money per se, it is about how to use those money. For example, it is a well-known fact that many countries whose kids are at the top of the list in STEM spend much less per a pupil than U.S.

BTW: even in politics the amount of money does not guarantee the result! 
Reforming education of a large country is not an ordinary problem.
One cannot solve an extraordinary problem using standard means.
New type of solutions start from rethinking the old paradigm. It requires time, effort, imagination, and willingness to reject well-established views.
In times like that people with well-established views may become an impedance, an obstacle.

Some of the most amazing breakthroughs in business have been done by the outsiders in the field, or by the people on the fringe. Everyone can offer many examples, but my personal favorite is Netflix, because it also demonstrates the devastating effect of a short-vision (a.k.a. Blockbuster). A searcher for a new paradigm should attract, embrace, be looking specifically for people which views are outside of the mainstream opinions. There is however a methodological problem – in the flow of ideas pouring down from all over the world, how to separate strange/unusual/counter-intuitive but promising ideas from truly foolish/crazy/irrational ones? There is no scientific answer to this question. However, what usually helps is looking at the professional or personal history of the author (there are different approaches based on the Activity Theory, which in part have been used in education: http://www.teachology.xyz/pd.htm).
“In my whole life, I have known no smart people” who didn't question themselves. My best teachers and mentors deliberately demonstrated that they did not know everything, and taught us how to deal with our limitations. Logical disagreements were embraced. A good teammate should have been smarter that we were! Inside the team, when with each other, we were as open as it was possible (but when needed to defend the team, we would present the united front). I believe, in any professional field, this type of professional relationship is the most fruitful for a team aiming at making a breakthrough.
People with well-established views may become an impedance, an obstacle, but people with no knowledge in the field may be pushing towards disastrous actions. How to solve this conundrum?
Well, searching for solutions of a new type always starts from rethinking the old paradigm, which starts from reading, and writing, and talking with each other. However, it is not about being different from others, it is about accepting a possibility of being wrong; it is not about convincing others to agree with you, it is about asking others to find mistakes in your own thinking - people with such an attitude make the most creative teams. 
Please, read some of the posts indicated below, and feel free to point at all the mistakes you find in them, as well as in this post!
In my reflection on "Backpack Full of Cash": http://www.gomars.xyz/cash.html
I write: “speaking about Bill Gates and other billionaires trying to reform education; the biggest problem they have (among many other) is how other people perceive them. For many people Bill Gates (for example) is (a) a guru and they take his every word without any doubt; or (b) a nice-to-hangout-with-celebrity; or (c) simple a "cash cow" who is "always right" as long as he gives money. I would like to ask Mr. Gates, how many times since his installation of his foundation, after giving a speech he would heard back: "No, that's not gonna work"? (an example of a conversation with a mogul: http://www.teachology.xyz/aiedu.html).”
Mr. Gates wants to achieve drastic changes in education as a whole.
When a large system experiences a systemic change, a physicist calls it “a phase transition”.
If the system is social, the systemic change is called “a revolution”.
Like phase transitions in physics, social revolutions also have different types; not all of them are bloody (fortunately!); but all of them follow a similar pattern.
In order for a transition to happen, a system needs to pass through at least two distinctive stages:
1. The old state of a system should be weakened in some sense (which depends on the system); usually there is at least one parameter – the transition parameter (like, magnetization, or core beliefs), such that the all parts of the system had the same value of that parameter, but now different parts of the system can have different values, which also change in time (one says that the system exhibits strong fluctuations in its order – in space and in time). This stage is defined as the stage when the chaos in the system increases.
For a social system, such stage may be seen as reached, when people in many different cities and towns begin sporadically (a.k.a. randomly, chaotically) gather together to express themselves, to demonstrate their dislike or demand, or support to some ideas or people (often, completely incoherent, or even opposite).
However, the presence of the chaotic stage does not guaranty the presence of a transition to a new state.
For example, “Occupy Wall Street” did not lead to any structural change, neither social, nor political.
2. To finish the transition into a new state, the system has to undergo through another stage, when a new ordered state is emerged from the previously chaotically disturbed state. That means that all parts of the system should achieve a new stable state with a new – but the same for all parts of the system – value of the transition parameter.
There are two possible outcomes: the transition to a new state may not happen, and the transition to a new state may happen. However, there are four possible final stages.
(a) The transition did not happen – the system as a whole goes back to the original state (“Occupy Wall Street”).
(b) The transition did not happen – some parts of the system may go back to the original state; other parts may transit to a new state (or states; e.g. dissolution of USSR).
(c) The transition happened due local interactions, which led to local correlations, i.e. when neighboring parts of a system gradually balanced out with each other; this process usually is very long.
(d) The transition happened due to global correlations, e.g. due to an external field (“mass medium”, or “mass media”) applied to the whole system at the same time (watch a short video for an example: https://youtu.be/OwzKlFpIt_E).
In his speech, Bill Gates repeated the general sentiment of every philanthropist: “The role of philanthropy … is … to fund pilots, to fund new ideas, to let people … try them out and see what really works super well and get those to scale.”
This approach is not new, it has been used for decades, and so far,
it has not led to systemic changes in education.
The reason for not leading to a systemic change is that this approach does not go further than the first stage. This approach helps to create a “chaotic” state, when people at different locations can try different ideas.
Which is great!
But this approach does not lead to a formation of a new state.
Which is completely different from another big Gates’ projects, like eradicating poliomyelitis.
The difference is simple.
One project leads to a transition from a clear state “the world with polio”, to a clear state “the world without polio.”
The goal is tough, difficult to achieve, but measurable.
On the contrary, the “goal” of
“Every student should get a great public education and graduate with skills to succeed in the marketplace”
is not measurable.
This statement does not describe a goal; it describes a wish, a dream.
Having a dream, a vision, is great! A dream helps to establish a general direction for the future actions.
One can see a big shift in Gates’ approach to reforming education; from pouring millions into charter schools and essentially abandoning regular public schools, he finally turns to public education as a whole, which means he acknowledges the core role of public schools.
However, he does not know yet what specifically does he want to achieve. The hope is, that in the pursuit of the dream, the view of the goal will be gradually becoming clearer and clearer.
Gates is not alone in his fuzziness on the path to the new state of educational system. All other philanthropists use their money in exactly same way as he is: i.e. supporting local initiatives.
They give generously via or to different charities.
But they do not invest their money into large scale educational projects.
Because they do not know how to state a specific goal.
Because they do not know how to assess if the result has been achieved.
There is a general approach which will change this.
It has been discussed in this publication: http://www.GoMars.xyz/30uS.html
There are some specific projects in this venue, for example, discussed in these publications:
There is, of course, a natural question - why would anyone want to listen to me talking about education?
A short answer - because I am GOOD at teaching (I have a proof :)
For my credentials, please follow to:
(a short version) http://www.GoMars.xyz/vv.htm
Thank you for your time,
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Perimeter Institute for Learning and Teaching (PILT): the future of the future of education reform.

I would like to congratulate President Brown and all us with launching Innovate@BU - a huge step ahead in the University development, which makes it on par with MIT’s Media Lab, and Harvard’s i-Lab.
We all know how profoundly big impact on a society can have an innovative device, design, or an application.
But the most important and lasting effect comes from the growing number of innovators and inventors fostered and thriving in the nurturing and supportive environment.
This initiative may have even broader impact if it spills out outside of Boston University.  Our elementary, middle, and high schools also need to employ teaching strategies which encourage and cultivate innovativeness of students. Unfortunately, the study and development of such strategies is in the very basic stage (http://www.gomars.xyz/nsf.html). That is why for quite some time I have been trying to convince our Administration and the Board to establishing Boston University Institute for Learning and Teaching. An initial description of the mission of the Institute is available below.
My hope is that finally, after launching Innovate@BU our Administration and the Board will have their hands free for the next truly big initiative. The history of science and business development shows that pioneers in research and development are usually rewarded the most. However, in the end, having innovative approaches to education unpacked, explored, and flourished is more important than the place from where they are originated. That is why I am sending in the open the idea of the Institute for Learning and Teaching. 

Everyone who pays even slight attention to news about education knows about the continuous battle between supporters and opponents of charter schools, voucher schools, and other non-traditional educational entities.
Unfortunately, the clouds of the battle cover one of the biggest issues of the contemporary education, which is a significant insufficiency of fundamental theoretical and technological innovations (countless startups promoting their apps or gadgets do not make any difference in the field; a serous new type of scientific infrastructure is badly needed ASAP; http://www.teachology.xyz/30uS.html). The main reason for this insufficiency is not the lack of the resources, but the lack of a broad collaboration between various professional and scientific groups.

Education needs its own “Manhattan Project”, or “Apollo Program”, which would reexamine the well-established paradigms, and would guide a broad search for new connections and correlations; which would combine newly presented advances in artificial intelligence with neuroscience to study and analyze multi-layered universe of individual, group, and institutional learning and teaching; which would bring in education newly developed technologies, including AI, virtual reality, augmented reality, top level robotics.
This type of a program can be initiated via institutionalizing a collaboration between various professional and scientific groups by establishing a specific institution –an Institute for Learning and Teaching (the name is tentative, of course).
Within this Institute, professionals from various universities, intuitions, and companies would be able to join their effort and expertise.
Below one finds an illustration to the description of such an Institute.
They say, Steve Jobs liked quoting Pablo Picasso’s saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” (https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/06/artists-steal/; https://www.inc.com/dylan-love/steve-jobs-most-inspiring-quotes.html).
I just use this quote to excuse my own stealing.
The description below is basically a copy of the beautiful description of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (https://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/about/about-perimeter). That description is so good, I just simply replaced words “theoretical physics” with word “education”, or words “learning and teaching” (and added a couple of statements); but it gives a very good idea of what the description of the new Institute could be.

Perimeter Institute for Learning and Teaching (PILT)
Perimeter Institute is a leading center for scientific research, training and educational outreach in foundational and experimental educational methods, techniques, and technologies. Its mission is to advance our understanding of the learning and teaching processes, and to use that understanding for stimulating the breakthroughs that could transform the education. Perimeter also trains the next generation of educators through innovative programs, and shares the excitement and wonder of science with students, teachers and the general public.
We believe breakthroughs are realized through a collision of intellect,
imagination and inspiration.
Perimeter Institute for Learning and Teaching is an independent, resident-based research institute devoted to foundational issues in the field of education at the highest levels of international excellence. We strive to create a lively and dynamic research atmosphere where many approaches to fundamental questions, both orthodox and unorthodox, are pursued simultaneously and where a balance between formal and phenomenologically-oriented research is established. We are determined to collaborate constructively with the surrounding academic community, in particular by creating outstanding educational and research opportunities for graduate students.  We are equally determined to create a world-class outreach program which conveys the wonder and mystery of the universe and the importance of future scientific breakthroughs, to the general public in New England and beyond.
Perimeter’s vision is to create the world’s foremost center for foundational and experimental educational methods, techniques, and technologies, uniting public and private partners, and the world’s best scientific minds, in a shared enterprise to achieve breakthroughs that will transform our future.
Scientists at Perimeter Institute forge new, mind-bending ideas about the ultimate nature of human intelligence, from fundamental grains of learning to essential acts of teaching. At Perimeter, we reexamine the well-established paradigms, and search for new connections and correlations. We use newly presented advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience to study and analyze multi-layered universe of individual, group, and institutional learning and teaching. We bring in education newly developed technologies, including AI, virtual reality, augmented reality, top level robotics.
Perimeter is supported through an innovative public-private partnership – which unites government, individuals, corporations, and foundations in a shared venture to enable scientific breakthroughs, nurture scientific talent, and share scientific discovery with the broader public.
Appendix I
Dr. Voroshilov is coming out of a closet:

Appendix II
1. charity or investments: can billions of dollars change education?

2. the initial description of my experience and intentions:
3. an “Amazon School”, a proposition to Mr. Jeff Bezos (with no response, so far):
4. a relatively short description of my teaching philosophy:
5. a critical analysis of the “battle” for/against charter schools:
6. a call to business leaders in general (two links)
and to Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (with links to additional reading):
7. my take on AI v. HI in education:
8. physics as a door into STEM education: why everyone should take a physics course (due to the personal importance – two links):
9. to reform education we need a new paradigm: