Icon for: Allan Miller

ALLAN MILLER

STEM4Learning Consulting
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 10, 2021 | 11:15 p.m.

    Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about STEM opportunities in Uzbekistan - my hope is that it prompts some of you to consider how your own STEM work might be able to connect this international effort.   I'm currently working with the US Embassy in Tashkent to develop ideas for post-pandemic next steps, looking at how best to help support a growing cohort of Uzbek teachers and schools that are resource-poor, but enthusiasm-rich.   I would love to engage in conversations with anyone around these specific questions I'm pondering right now:

    1 - can we develop an Uzbek STEM virtual Professional Learning Community, allowing the STEM early adaptors located all over the country to connect and collaborate with each other.   Has anyone successfully created this sort of model - perhaps linked with a set of live workshops or webinars?  

    2 - with very few computers or wi-fi connections at home or school, cell phones are really the tool for Uzbek teachers to be part of any virtual professional development.  This really limits their ability to actively engage in videoconferencing on platforms like Zoom or Google Meet - and so most of my virtual connections have tended to be fairly passive presentations with a little chat question / answer at the end.   Does anyone have experience and suggestions to make virtual learning more engaging with these limitations? 

    3 - as part of the project I created an online course of short videos covering the basics of NGSS in Russian and English using the Teachable platform . . . you can find it at stem4learning.teachable.com     if it's useful to anyone please share and utilize it, and would truly love any feedback as well.  My wondering is how best to leverage a passive, asynchronous resource like this into more active learning and application?

  • Icon for: Anne Stevenson

    Anne Stevenson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 05:14 p.m.

    Allen, wow! Your work is quite amazing!  I need to rewatch and look at what you've created and then comment further and ask questions! (I need to run to another commitment right now but will be back in the morning).  I would love to hear more, would offer some learnings that we in 4-H have made through working with staff, volunteers, partners and young people in STEM learning during the pandemic, and think about your questions further!  I am also curious how you made all this travel and teaching happen during the pandemic and travel restrictions!?  I am also curious to know more about why the dearth of STEM education historically (pardon my ignorance on this...). This fascinates me so thank you for sharing and I'll be back!

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 10:38 p.m.

    Anne - I actually just barely dodged the Covid challenge - my Fulbright wrapped up in Uzbekistan on March 10 and I flew through Istanbul / JFK just a couple days before everything closed down back in 2020.   Since then everything I've done has been from my basement - I actually just got to teaching kids live here in Vermont two weeks ago . . . . been a real long 15 months being a video teacher and consultant.  I look forward to continuing our conversation - thanks for your enthusiastic response! 

  • Icon for: Aman Yadav

    Aman Yadav

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 03:57 p.m.

    Great work bringing STEM learning to schools in Uzbekistan. I was wondering whether there are local frameworks/standards for STEM that you can leverage and how NGSS connects with them? 

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 10:32 p.m.

    Aman - it's a pretty unique situation where there really is no common understanding of what STEM is or even what the outcome goal is, the Ministry of Education just knows that it wants change and that leading educational systems around the world say "STEM" a lot connected with their reform initiatives.  What I find they really want is engagement and 21st century skills - to create students that can be part of a new economy the country is striving to create.  I found the three elements of NGSS - science and engineering practices, cross cutting concepts and core knowledge were a great starting framework to help them begin to define where they could begin their work. 

  • Icon for: Daniel Zietlow

    Daniel Zietlow

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 07:48 p.m.

    Uzbekistan looks amazing!  Thanks for sharing your project.  One thing I've been thinking about a lot is culturally appropriate events and eductation for different audiences.  Did you find yourself creating science resources tailored around Uzbek culture and if so, what was that process like?  And ya, equitable access to technology is a huge issue.  I know of one program that would only spend, maybe 5 minutes setting up an activity online and then the rest of the time would be for the kids running around outside doing the project.  And then coming back together briefly to "chat" about what they found and how that differed from location to location.  Maybe an approach like that could work - where you're just providing a framework for the activity?

    Cheers, Dan

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 10:53 p.m.

    I love that idea of a short intro - followed by an activity - and then some wrapup at the end.   Definitely an idea to explore especially as I develop more solid relationships with the teachers so that there is a basis for this sort of virtual co-teaching.   I really never explored science through the context of Uzbek culture - mostly because I really was just getting to know that culture and history myself over the past year.  But as I learn about the amazing history of early science exploration in the 15th century (for instance astronomer Ulugh Beg) - there really could be some amazing cultural integrations of this history.   What I did find was that I really had to learn their public school culture - with a strict national curriculum, almost total focus on facts based assessments and minimal resources - most of the pedagogy that I use in my daily teaching such as formative assessment, project based learning and a 5 E's approach to science was totally new and in many ways too big of a jump for teachers to be able to wrap their minds around how it might work.   My theme was "baby steps" - and doing lots of listening :-)

  • Icon for: Daniel Zietlow

    Daniel Zietlow

    Informal Educator
    May 12, 2021 | 09:50 a.m.

    Neat, I will have to look into Ulugh Beg.  And interesting to hear about the strict national curriculum.  That would certinaly be a challenge as there is a lot of movement away from fact memorization in other school systems (since that isn't really how science works in the big picture).

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 11:27 p.m.

    I love that idea of a short intro - followed by an activity - and then some wrapup at the end.   Definitely an idea to explore especially as I develop more solid relationships with the teachers so that there is a basis for this sort of virtual co-teaching.   I really never explored science through the context of Uzbek culture - mostly because I really was just getting to know that culture and history myself over the past year.  But as I learn about the amazing history of early science exploration in the 15th century (for instance astronomer Ulugh Beg) - there really could be some amazing cultural integrations of this history.   What I did find was that I really had to learn their public school culture - with a strict national curriculum, almost total focus on facts based assessments and minimal resources - most of the pedagogy that I use in my daily teaching such as formative assessment, project based learning and a 5 E's approach to science was totally new and in many ways too big of a jump for teachers to be able to wrap their minds around how it might work.   My theme was "baby steps" - and doing lots of listening :-)

  • Icon for: TJ McKenna

    TJ McKenna

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 09:54 a.m.

    Great video and intro to the amazing work happening in Uzbekistan Allan! It is interesting seeing the far reaches of this new vision for K-12 Science Education reaching all over the globe. We (www.ngssphenomena.com) were lucky enough to be invited to do PD in Amman, Jordan a couple summers ago and it was a fantastic experience!  

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 02:51 p.m.

    TJ - I'm curious now that you are two summers out from that work in Jordan . . . . what is the learning that you might be able to share with me.  What stuck in terms of PD?   What felt good at the time but never really panned out?   Is any of the work continuing today empowered by Jordanian trainers or leaders?

  • Icon for: NATHAN KIMBALL

    NATHAN KIMBALL

    Facilitator
    Curriculum Developer
    May 12, 2021 | 11:03 a.m.

    Hi Allan, I'm going to echo one of the previous posters: Wow! It is so great that our Dept. of State is supporting this kind of outreach--true diplomacy, in my opinion, that you don't hear about often. Also, it is great that the NGSS has relevance and significance beyond the US. I'm also interested in another post (from Daniel above) about culturally appropriate education and your comments about incorporating Uzbek culture into lessons (or asking teachers to bring that into new STEM curricula). Looking at the few images of local architecture, clearly STEM has been a major force in their culture. However, I'm thinking that the challenge of new content is not as difficult as the challenge of a shift to an approach to teaching, perhaps more student- and problem-centered. You mentioned that the government is devoting a tremendous resources to improve education. Have you seen evidence of a willingness among teachers or teacher leaders for shifts in practice as well? 

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 02:49 p.m.

    Nathan - the enthusiasm of UZB teachers to embrace the thinking behind NGSS, the desire to see students engage in deep, valuable thinking is truly contagious and it is what is my main motivation to continue the work and try to find others who would enjoy it as well.  The challenges are huge - I often compare it to someone who eats a great dish of food and truly wants to learn how to make it . . . .but lacks all but the simplest tools, supplies and knowledge to begin  - but there is no lack of desire to empower a new generation of Uzbek scientists and engineers! I feel like perhaps I taught them how to cook oatmeal . . . but at least it's a first step :-) 

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 03:00 p.m.

    For any that might be interested - these are the links that I post at the closing of the video - sites to visit or people that you can contact for more information about supporting STEM work in Uzbekistan:

    Fulbright Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program (they just selected 2 more American specialists to Uzbekistan in June, with more to follow in 2022) -   FulbrightDAST@IREX.org or Fulbright DAST

    English Language Specialist Program (currently has 3 TESOL specialists working in UZB and recruiting more) - specialist@elprograms.org or ELS State Department

    Presidential Schools of Uzbekistan - best contact is a good friend Rychard Paszkowski who is the International Principal at the Khiva School, great educator, diplomat and source of information in a somewhat challenging bureaucracy -  rychard.paszkowski@gmail.com

    My contact info - Allan Miller, Shelburne Vermont.  stem4learning@gmail.com

  • Icon for: David Lockett

    David Lockett

    Facilitator
    Albert Einstein Fellow
    May 13, 2021 | 05:51 p.m.

    Hello Allan. Your work is a testimony to the ingenuity that is happening in Uzbekistan. What an amazing project. I am impressed with the breadth of your program and the creative ways that you've integrated the 5 E's approach to science.

     

     

     
  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 13, 2021 | 10:56 p.m.

    Thanks for such positive feedback David - and congratulations on the honor of being an Einstein Fellow.  Back in 2007 I was a Fellow with the NSF Office of International Science and Education - such a great experience that really opened the door to work like I am currently doing with Uzbekistan.   Hope it has been a great year!

  • Icon for: Israel Ramirez

    Israel Ramirez

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2021 | 11:03 a.m.

    Agree! Great culture, great people, and yes a great opportunity to enhance STEM learning education in Uzbekistan. Allan, I like the part of your video where I can see teachers getting together to train for STEM leaning education. From my own experience, this is a great way to do (PD) professional development for teachers and to learn from one another. After gatthering additional STEM teaching strategies from the PD, it is priceless to see those teachers bringing STEM education to their classroom to teach students about Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and plus English as perhasps second or third language to your students. Congratulations on your amazing project!

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 14, 2021 | 11:41 a.m.

    Thank you for the kind feedback Israel - and so agree that giving teachers authentic, rich STEM experiences is the key especially when often the UZB teachers don't have any experience beyond the basic drill  / fact based approach that is so embedded in the curriculum and their experiences.   I find the real challenge is helping them find the windows of opportunity to begin to play with these ideas in their own classrooms . . . many walked away from our time excited and ready to implement, only to find that they didn't know where to start - that's the thinking I want to explore as I ponder version 2.0.   Would love to hear ideas if anyone has helped teachers take baby steps within the context of a rigid curriculum framework to try some 5E's, NGSS type of STEM pedagogy shifts - ideas?  

  • Icon for: Lance Bush

    Lance Bush

    President & CEO
    May 18, 2021 | 10:05 a.m.

    Alan - Fantastic work as you are making such a big impact in education, workforce development and the economic and social well-being of a nation.  I also appreciate the previous comments and questions here regarding NGSS and 21st century skills and that your program values both.   

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 18, 2021 | 01:54 p.m.

    Lance - thanks for your support and know that I am a huge fan of the Challenger Learning Centers, I taught for 25 years in Alaska and was part of the development team of the Kenai Ted Stevens Center there . . . and it has brought great connections with NASA that continue now that I work in Vermont.   I think your move to classroom centered but high quality collaborative virtual experiences is perfect . . . loved taking my classes to the Center every year but up here in Burlington a trip down to Manchester really isn't possible so I'll take a look at the new virtual opportunities.  if you see any potential for something international would love to explore - my favorite project ever brought together Russian Old Believer students from the Kenai Peninsula with my students in Kenai for a 6 month space based collaboration that culminated with a face to face, bilingual Mission at the Center . . . .love to explore if something like that would ever work with students from Uzbekistan as they truly are an underrepresented nation in worldwide STEM!    My email is stem4learning@gmail.com and love to chat sometime just to get reconnected with Challenger :-)  All the best - Allan

  • Icon for: Lance Bush

    Lance Bush

    President & CEO
    May 18, 2021 | 03:17 p.m.

    Allan -

    An honor to meet someone who has had such a profound impact for the students in Alaska for our Challenger Learning Center and your enduring spirit!  Yes, let's talk as the digital and virtual programming may be of interest for you as we are working in other countries now.  And in any case, would really like to learn more from your experiences.

    Lance

  • Icon for: Valerie Fitton-Kane

    Valerie Fitton-Kane

    Vice President, Development, Partnerships, & Strategy
    May 18, 2021 | 01:33 p.m.

    Fabulous to get this perspective on STEM in Uzbekistan. Thank you! What is the Internet infrastructure like in Uzbekistan. Do students have access to computing devices and wifi? Do they utilize ed tech solutions? 

  • Icon for: Allan Miller

    Allan Miller

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation Coach / Technology Teacher
    May 18, 2021 | 01:58 p.m.

    Public education in Uzbekistan is pretty much a technology desert except for the brand new Presidential Schools - but they only serve about 1% of the nations youth.   All I could count in a school was perhaps a small hdmi video monitor - no wifi, no computer labs and even the teachers live on their cellphones as the base of any connections we do together.  There is a desire - but reminds me of my first classrooms in village Alaska back in 1985 truly.   I was able to have decent broadband in my apartment that at least allowed me to access / prepare my workshops in a way I was used to - but the actual presentations were always stand-alone and I never used any tech at all.   Sort of fun to go "old school" as it brought back elements of my pedagogy I had neglected over the past decade that I'm finding actually help me here . . . . nice to be a little less tech-dependent at times.    Thx for your feedback and question.  

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