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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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

In Physics there is an object called a prototype (or a standard, or an ├ętalon).
It has enormous importance in physics, in science, and in life in general, because based on a prototype scientists and engineers make simpler, cheaper, and in large quantities copies of the prototype and use them to make consistent and accurate measurements, the result of which does not depend on by whom and where that measurement was made. A prototype ensures uniformity of the measures across human practices and professional fields.
But not in education.
Education has no prototypes.
That makes the field of education virtually immeasurable, hence, non-scientific. Education research is not an actual scientific research establishing strong correlations between well-defined parameters, but an exploration, similar to a geographer exploring a new territory and writing letters with the description of the discoveries he/she made (or a botanist or zoologist describing new species they found).
This state of affairs, however, can be changed, and the company or institution that pioneers the transformation from an exploration to a scientific research will dominate the market of educational practices for years ahead.

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, that 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; 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. 
Remember the tail about blind men and an elephant
This is the current state of science of education.
Education needs its own “Manhattan Project”, or “Apollo Program” (Five Projects Critical For Education)
The approach to advancing education in general and science of education in particular has to follow the approach developed in the oldest and the most successful science - physics. The field of education needs projects and institutions similar to the Large Hadron Collider - a collaboration of experimentalists and theorists and administrators and philosophers from many countries all over the world.
Large scale changes require systemic approach. As an analog to the Large Hadron Collider or to the Institute for Advanced Study the field of education needs PILT.This approach would allow to 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.” (;
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 ( 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.
Since Learning and Teaching represent the highest levels of Intelligence, our "International Magazine for Study Intelligence" publishes work on all aspects of Intelligence: animal and human, biological and artificial.
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.

Thank you for visiting,
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov
Education Advancement Professionals

Appendix I
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 ( 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 and innovative 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. 

Appendix II
Dr. Voroshilov is coming out of a closet:

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

2. the full 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. my take on AI v. HI in education:
7. physics as a door into STEM education: why everyone should take a physics course
8. to reform education we need a new paradigm:

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