2008年3月31日 星期一

‘operation’ gown: ‘Incisions’

‘operation’ gown: ‘Incisions’

A unique surgical gown that brings together art and science

Durham and Ulster Universities in the United Kingdom have developed a unique surgical gown which will help medical students to understand what it’s like to go under the knife. This world-first project has brought together art and science in the form of a gown which, the developers hope, will significantly improve understanding of where operation incisions are made. The garment – called ‘Incisions’ – was on international display at the Museum of Science in Boston. Rajiv Sharma spoke to leading medical developer Professor John MacLachlan, Associate Dean at Durham University’s School for Health, and asked him first just what made this gown so unique.


Art and medicine meet to make the world’s first ‘operation’ gown

(30 January 2008)

A world-first project bringing together art and science will help medical students understand what it's like to go under the knife.

A unique surgical gown, which goes on international display in the USA today, should significantly improve understanding of where operation incisions are made, and what they mean to the patient, say its developers at Durham and Ulster Universities.

It is hoped the gown, which would be worn by medical students in the classroom, will supplement the traditional plastic models of the human body that are currently in global use as teaching aids. It will also help in explaining procedures to patients, according to the scientists.

The gown has nine zips showing where surgeons make cuts in the body for various operations such as removal of the appendix and open heart surgery and its silk material is more like human tissue than the plastic of the traditional models. Medical students will wear the gown in the classroom whilst fellow students learn about surgical incisions using the zips. It will lead to a greater understanding of what it means to be the patient, say the developers.

Researchers say it will contribute to an improvement in teaching aids currently available. They say that, although the traditional plastic models can be used to show areas of the body and where incisions will roughly be made, they are not able to give medical students a sense of the feeling if they were the patient or show them the type of texture they will find once they have made an incision.

Leading medical developer Professor John McLachlan, Associate Dean in Durham University’s School for Health, explains: “Current anatomical teaching aids describe but they don’t evoke. They take no account of emotional involvement or the feel of the body. The way medical students distance themselves emotionally from the patient’s body has long been seen as a desirable outcome of current modes of medical training.

“But this ‘desensitation’ also brings with it the risk of objectifying the body. The patient becomes ‘the liver in bed four’ rather than Mrs Smith. We think we can use art to bring meaning back into medical teaching and we want to help students understand the significance of the body as well as its structure.”

The garment, named ‘Incisions’, was funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of a wider project to explore teaching, learning and thinking about the body through a series of art works and artefacts. ‘Incisions’ has been selected for inclusion in two major international exhibitions with the first one at the Museum of Science in Boston, USA opening today (30 January).

Artistic lead, Karen Fleming, Reader at Ulster University, said: “The body and garments are common objects in art and design but collaboration with medical knowledge brings a new dimension. The challenge for us has been finding material metaphors for living matter that were aesthetically inviting rather than repulsive. We have combined some of the familiar features from hospital gowns with fashion detailing to make it appealing”

The research team aims to feed the use of the gown into medical schools around the UK and beyond. It could form an integral part of the Personal and Professional Development strand of medical training in which students develop the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with their patients.

2008年3月25日 星期二


stand in the footprints for recognition, humiliated

But Haier's hierarchical culture has been a tough fit with U.S. workers. They rebelled against being forced to stand in the footprints when they made mistakes. Haier's Chinese management has tried to adjust to American tastes. Instead of humiliating bad workers, they now encourage the best ones to stand in the footprints for recognition.

不過,海爾多層級的管理文化令美國工人難以適應。他們對出錯就要罰站的做法很抵觸。海爾的中國管理層開始努力適應美國方式。他們取消了出錯罰站,而是在那裡表揚優秀員工。Chinese Refrigerator Maker Haier Finds US Chilly

2008年3月23日 星期日

Let's talk about figures


Let's talk about figures

Mar 19th 2008
From The Economist print edition

The eternal language of numbers is reborn as a form of communication that people all over the world can use—and, increasingly, must use


BRILLIANCE with numbers is a curious thing. Paul Erdos, a Hungarian who died in 1996, used to travel the world and stop briefly at the offices and homes of fellow mathematicians. “My brain is open,” he would announce as, with uncanny intuition, he suggested a problem that, without realising it, his host was already half-way to solving. Together they would find the solution.

In a discipline-wide joke, grateful mathematicians still use “Erdos numbers” to indicate how close they were to contact with the great man: “Erdos 1” describes his co-authors, “Erdos 2” indicates their co-authors, and so on. And in all seriousness, the fruits of Erdos's 83-year life include more than 1,500 jointly authored publications, and a network that extends via his collaborators not only into most areas of mathematics but into many other fields—physics, biology, linguistics and more.

With his determination to overcome all the difficulties posed by immigration authorities or language (gestures and formulas were enough, if he and his hosts shared little vocabulary), the Hungarian epitomised many things about his subject. More than most other sorts of knowledge, mathematics has always transcended the limits of time and space. The genius of ancient Greek geometry not only stands the test of time (Pythagoras's theorem is as valid now as when it was first proved); its discoveries can suddenly find new applications in the 21st century.

And in an age of e-communications, continent-hopping scholars (not usually as eccentric as Erdos), and journals whose authors and readers come from every corner of the earth, mathematics is coming into its own as a sort of global dialogue in which anybody can take part—and whose fruits are not just beneficial, but indispensable, in just about every area of science.

In years past, people with a gift for numbers often overcame vast odds to find an outlet for their genius. Srinivasa Ramanujan was a humble clerk in British India when, in 1912, he began sending theorems to Cambridge professors. Just one recipient saw the work's value and invited Ramanujan to England.

The internet gives today's Ramanujans a better chance. But in any case, by comparison with the arts, doing well at maths was always much less dependent on cultural or economic factors. A talented number-spinner doesn't need to be nurtured by visits to art galleries or the opera, or access to a parental library. Nor are the rules of algebra governed by social conventions: a gawky 14-year-old who clams up in interviews can still do well.

And pure mathematics, at least, needs no fancy facilities like particle accelerators or wind tunnels. Sometimes a pen and paper is enough. Many a researcher has returned from an international conference with a napkin or beer-mat covered in jottings from a spontaneous and convivial late-night collaboration.

Admittedly, there is less of a distinction these days between pure maths and the applied sort; that is one of the consequences of a world where all sorts of knowledge seem to spread and fuse in unpredictable ways. For example, the kind of theoretical maths that would terrify a layman has become an indispensable key to understanding the way that living things behave. Anything that grows and disseminates—from single-celled organisms to malignant tumours, from rainforests to the pigments that form stripes or spots in the animal kingdom—can be modelled with the latest computational tools. At a time when the volume of data about every form of life is vast and crying out to be processed, “some kinds of pure maths are remarkably useful for biology,” says Philip Maini, a mathematician who divides his time between Oxford, China, Australia and American campuses.

Topology in transit

The sheer mobility of talented mathematicians makes them hard to pin down, in any sense. Earlier this year (in a move comparable to the flight of a bond-trading team from one bank to another), a dozen experts on topology, a branch of geometry, revealed that they had constituted the editorial board of a new journal founded by the London Mathematical Society (LMS), a scholarly body. Previously—before resigning en masse—they had formed the board of a journal on a similar topic produced by Elsevier, a Dutch-based publishing concern. The LMS already owns or co-publishes 11 other weighty journals: less than a fifth of the writers for those august tomes are British.

The world of mathematics is not exactly a market, in the sense of a forum where people always sell to the highest bidder: indeed, one (fully intended) consequence of the topologists' change of affiliation is that work in their field will be available at lower prices to humble scholars. But international maths is a form of marketplace, where all sorts of people trade their intellectual wares to enormous mutual benefit.

In an age where you need to be numerate to do almost anything else (from building bridges to conquering disease), governments anxiously compare their performance in mathematics with that of competitor nations. This month a new cry of alarm came from America, where a National Mathematics Advisory Panel, established by George Bush in 2006, reported that “without substantial and sustained changes” the country was doomed to “relinquish its leadership” in the world of numbers as the century wears on.

America has long masked its difficulty in educating enough mathematicians by importing lots of ready-made talent, especially from East Asia and the former Soviet Union. But the problems are real enough. As the panel noted, the share of American students doing degrees in maths or related areas fell from 32% in 1994-95 to 27% in 2003-04. And the share of maths-related doctorates at American universities that went to American citizens or residents fell over the past four decades from 80% of the total to less than 60%. The panel concluded that America's problems become apparent when students start to study algebra—for most, their first encounter with genuinely abstract thinking.

For really high-flying mathematicians, the very idea of a national maths culture sounds dated. It comes naturally to them to find collaborators in one continent, publish in another and teach all over the world. But governments cannot help worrying; and the trick of importing fully-trained brains will become less viable as “exporting” countries develop their own systems of higher learning.

Among the communist or ex-communist countries whose brightest sons and daughters have often found their way to America, Canada or Australia, there are some interesting differences. As Ari Laptev, the (Soviet-born) president of the European Mathematical Society, points out, Tsarist Russia had a fine maths culture, and even in the darkest Soviet days, pure maths was an island of excellence and integrity. In the post-communist slump, Soviet mathematicians emigrated in droves, leaving a lack of mentors for today's brainy kids. But in the new mood of nationalism and oil wealth, the mathematicians who stayed in Moscow are walking taller. Their challenge is how to keep youngsters in academia when they could be making money.

In China, the cultural revolution hurt maths more than Russia's Bolsheviks ever did; but these days, Chinese teenagers do superbly in global maths contests, and most of the Chinese doctoral students who people the maths faculties of the world will probably bring their talents home. Opportunities are expanding in China and narrowing elsewhere. China's output of original mathematical work is still mediocre, but it is improving rapidly. New Chinese journals are being started; inventive minds will soon be filling them.

In any case, it may be time to rethink the very idea of national teaching systems that with varying success prepare youngsters to join a global conversation when they grow up. Already, some of the solutions to school-teaching challenges are as global as could be. Take HeyMath!—an interactive maths-education package co-designed by Britain's Cambridge University and some bankers in the south Indian city of Chennai: it has served 250,000 children in 33 countries; 2,000 teachers are using it now. Having gained an American foothold in Massachusetts, HeyMath! programmes honed in India (with help from partners in Singapore) are now being tried out by three schools in Connecticut. If only Ramanujan were alive to see it.

2008年3月10日 星期一


今天公佈「我國工程 教育評估」結果,彭森明指出,檢 視各大學工學院的課程後可以發現,缺乏實務是最大問題 ,甚至有學校根本沒有開設實務課程--李家同與會表示, 台灣工程教育嚴重忽略「工程理解力」,偏離培養工程師 的目標,各大學應開設實務課程,加強與產業界合作。(台灣師範大學教育評鑑與發展研究中心)

2008年3月5日 星期三

"Forest Kindergartens" are Booming in Germany

Living Planet | 06.03.2008 | 04:30

"Forest Kindergartens" are Booming in Germany

It is a Scandinavian concept, but it is booming in many countries. At Forest kindergartens, children spend the entire day outdoors, rain or shine. Living Planet visits one such kindergarten in Osnabrück, Germany.

Many children these days have little chance to experience nature. Their lives are spent holed up in classrooms or seated in the backseats of cars on their way from one scheduled activity to the next.

In Germany, however, a growing number of parents and educators are making the connection between early childhood learning and the outdoors. The growth of so-called "Forest Kindergartens," where children play entirely outside, rain or shine, is helping develop their bodies and brains as well as creating a lasting appreciation of nature.

Living Planet visits one such kindergarten in Osnabrück in the German state of Lower Saxony.

Reporter: Alison Hawkes

Math Wars

Education Panel
Lays Out Truce
In Math Wars

Effort to Fix 'Broken' System
Sets Targets for Each Grade,
Avoids Taking Sides on Method
March 5, 2008; Page D1

A presidential panel, warning that a "broken" system of mathematics education threatens U.S. pre-eminence, says it has found the fix: A laserlike focus on the essentials.

The National Mathematics Advisory Panel, appointed by President Bush in 2006, is expected to urge the nation's teachers to promote "quick and effortless" recall of arithmetic facts in early grades, mastery of fractions in middle school, and rigorous algebra courses in high school or even earlier. Targeting such key elements of math would mark a sharp departure from the diverse priorities that now govern teaching of the subject in U.S. public schools.

[go to forum]
How does the quality of math education in schools today compare to when you were in school? Discuss

The panel took up its work amid widespread alarm at the sorry state of math achievement in America. In the most recent testing by the Program for International Student Assessment, released late last year, U.S. 15-year-olds achieved sub-par results among developed nations in math literacy and problem-solving, behind such countries as Finland, South Korea and the Netherlands.

"Without substantial and sustained changes to the educational system, the United States will relinquish its leadership in the twenty-first century," reads a draft of the final report, due to be released next week by the Department of Education.

The National Mathematics Advisory Panel is expected to call for the following "critical foundations" or benchmarks for U.S. school children.

Fluency with whole numbers:

1. By the end of grade three, students should be proficient with the addition and subtraction of whole numbers.
2. By the end of grade five, students should be proficient with multiplication and division of whole numbers.

Fluency with fractions:

1. By the end of grade four, students should be able to identify and represent fractions and decimals, and compare them on a number line or with other common representations of fractions and decimals.
2. By the end of grade five, students should be proficient with comparing fractions and decimals and common percents, and with the addition and subtraction of fractions and decimals.
3. By the end of grade six, students should be proficient with multiplication and division of fractions and decimals.
4. By the end of grade six, students should be proficient with all operations involving positive and negative integers.
5. By the end of grade seven, students should be proficient with all operations involving positive and negative fractions.
6. By the end of grade seven, students should be able to solve problems involving percent, ratio and rate and extend this work to proportionality.

Geometry and measurement:

1. By the end of grade five, students should be able to solve problems involving perimeter and area of triangles and all quadrilaterals having at least one pair of parallel sides (i.e. trapezoids).
2. By the end of grade six, students should be able to analyze the properties of two dimensional shapes and solve problems involving perimeter and area, and analyze the properties of three-dimensional shapes and solve problems involving surface area and volume.
3. By the end of grade seven, students should be familiar with the relationship between similar triangles and the concept of the slope of a line.
Source: Draft of National Mathematics Advisory Panel final report

Unlike most countries that outperform the U.S., America leaves education decisions largely to state and local governments and has no national curriculum. School boards and state education departments across the country are likely to pore over the math panel's findings and adjust their teaching to make sure it aligns with the nation's best thinking on math instruction. The federal government could also use the report to launch a national program in math instruction, as the government did for literacy after findings from a similar advisory panel on reading in 2000.

The math panel's draft report comes amid the so-called math wars raging in the nation's public classrooms. For two decades, advocates of what has come to be known as "reform math" have promoted conceptual understanding over drilling in, say, multiplication and division. For example, to solve a basic division problem, 150 divided by 50, students might cross off groups of circles to "discover" that the answer was three. Some parents and mathematicians have complained about "fuzzy math," and public school systems have encountered a growing backlash.

The advisory panel's 19 members include eminent mathematicians and educators representing both sides of the math wars. The draft of the final report declines to take sides, saying the group agreed only on the content that students must master, not the best way to teach it.

The group said it could find no "high-quality" research backing either traditional or reform math instruction. The draft report calls a rigid adherence to either method "misguided" and says understanding, which is the priority of reform teachers, and computation skills, emphasized by traditionalists, are "mutually supported."

Larry Faulkner, the panel's chairman and president of the Houston Endowment, a philanthropic foundation, said in an interview that the group had "internal battles" but decided "it's time to cool the passions along that divide." The panel held 12 meetings around the country, reviewed 16,000 research publications and public-policy reports and heard testimony from 110 individuals.

The advisory group also doesn't take a position on calculator use in early grades, a contentious issue among educators and parents. The draft says the panel reviewed 11 studies that found "limited to no impact of calculators on calculation skills, problem-solving or conceptual development." But the panel, noting that almost all the studies were more than 20 years old and otherwise limited, recommended more research on whether calculators undermine "fluency in computation."

Still, the draft report says calculators shouldn't be used on tests used to assess computation skills. Some states allow disabled children to use calculators on tests of arithmetic.

The draft report urges educators to focus on "critical" topics, as is common in higher-performing countries. The panel's draft report says students should be proficient with the addition and subtraction of whole numbers by the end of third grade and with multiplication and division by the end of fifth. In terms of geometry, children by the end of sixth grade should be able to solve problems involving perimeter, area and volume.

Students should begin working with fractions in fourth grade and, by the end of seventh, be able to solve problems involving percent, ratio and rate. "Difficulty with fractions [including decimals and percents] is pervasive and is a major obstacle to further progress in mathematics, including algebra," the draft report says.

These benchmarks mirror closely a September 2006 report by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which many viewed as a turning point in the math wars because it recognized the importance of teaching the basics after the group for years had placed more emphasis on conceptual understanding.

Francis Fennell, president of the math teachers group and a panel member, said the group's specific recommendations could help parents determine whether their kids are on the right track.

The draft report recommends a revamp of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a widely followed test administered by the Education Department, to emphasize material needed for the mastery of algebra, especially fractions. The draft calls for similar changes to the state tests children must take under the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

The document urges publishers to shorten elementary and middle-school math textbooks that currently can run on for 700 to 1,000 pages and cover a dizzying array of topics. Publishers say textbooks often must cover a patchwork of state standards.

Write to John Hechinger at john.hechinger@wsj.com

2008年3月1日 星期六

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU). PR

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU).

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University - Your Future in Mind

辦學理念》高教大改革 創造新價值


日本立命館太平洋大學日前在台灣成立校友會,邀集國內多所大學校長觀禮,包括中央研究院名譽院長李遠哲、國立師範大學校長郭義雄、中山大學校長張宗仁,與會者和該校校長卡辛(Monte Cassim)針對這些問題進行精彩的討論。


創新學習 超越國界

卡辛是斯里蘭卡人,獲得日本東京大學工學院博士,鑽研環境科學及健康資訊學,曾在日本長期擔任教職,其後致力於籌建一所與日本傳統大學完全不同的創新性大 學。他所定位的高等教育是超越國界的。他指出,21世紀的大學應具備「自由、平等、人道主義」的建校精神,才能為全球社會培育新世紀的人才。





李遠哲感慨,亞洲國家選才都以筆試為主,但這應只是選才的一種方式而非唯一方式,扭曲的選才方式已嚴重誤導國人對教育的價值觀。他強調,新世紀的教育應能 讓國民從累積知識,提升到與社會創新互動,創造出新的社會價值,但此過程中必要的元素如想像力、創造力,國人都較為欠缺。

筆試選才 扭曲價值




郭義雄在交通大學服務40年後才轉任國師大校長,到國師大立即感受到其人文藝術導向,學生的氣質與理工型大學大不相同。讓他印象深刻的第一個衝擊,是在校 園內碰到學生,學生都會對他說:「校長你好!」因此,他常自問:如果一些美好的生活價值不斷流失,教育再多的總經理、創業家對社會的意義何在?


人文藝術 改造基石


張宗仁的兒子酷愛圍棋,讀國小時就想到日本追隨名師,聰明的他將了父親一軍,要求一向強調多元教育、全人教育的父親「實踐自己的理念」,放手讓他追求「成 為林海峰第二」的夢想。張宗仁沒有理由反駁,不顧老婆哭哭啼啼的反對,狠下心讓兒子脫離正規學制,到日本接受漫長、嚴格而寂寞的訓練至今。