Randall Gwin (EdD, educational technology, ’21) began living in Kyrgyzstan in 2007 where he founded the Araketke-Bereket Charitble Fund which focuses on education, sustainability and medicine. After hearing about the doctoral program in educational technology at Boise State from a fellow educator there, Gwin enrolled in the fully online program and has been able to put what he learned directly to work in a region of the world that is now realizing the benefits of online learning and instruction.
“In the last ten years, Kyrgyzstan’s internet, and internet in the developing world in general, has become increasingly accessible to people struggling with poverty or geographically cut off from educational opportunities,” said Gwin. “Low-cost mobile access and Web 2.0 technology now allows collaborative learning across distance.”
Sensing that increasing access to the web could lead to breakthroughs in online education and collaboration in the region, Gwin secured a grant from the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan to study the ways that cultural values are affected by online collaborative learning. This research has led Gwin to develop an online professional development program for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teachers in Kyrgyzstan and three other countries in central Asia. Gwin based the training program on the Master of Educational Technology (MET) program curriculum at Boise State and has ultimately trained 160 teachers in online distance learning methods during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, Gwin was able to implement online instruction for the entire K-12 program at the international school he was working at during the pandemic, allowing teachers who were spread across the world due to travel restrictions to continue to teach children in Kyrgyzstan.
Since finishing his studies at Boise State in the summer of 2021, Gwin has received funding for another online program on STEM methodology for teachers in Kyrgyzstan, and is now working on expanding online public health education in the Kyrgyz language. Gwin is also a consultant developing the educational technology capacity of a newly-opened international university in northern Kyrgyzstan, and working on a project involving education for sustainable development.