2008年4月30日 星期三

training in working memory leads to improvements in fluid intelligence.

Memory Training Shown to Turn Up Brainpower

Felix Sockwell

Published: April 29, 2008

A new study has found that it may be possible to train people to be more intelligent, increasing the brainpower they had at birth.

Until now, it had been widely assumed that the kind of mental ability that allows us to solve new problems without having any relevant previous experience — what psychologists call fluid intelligence — is innate and cannot be taught (though people can raise their grades on tests of it by practicing).

But in the new study, researchers describe a method for improving this skill, along with experiments to prove it works.

The key, researchers found, was carefully structured training in working memory — the kind that allows memorization of a telephone number just long enough to dial it. This type of memory is closely related to fluid intelligence, according to background information in the article, and appears to rely on the same brain circuitry. So the researchers reasoned that improving it might lead to improvements in fluid intelligence.

First they measured the fluid intelligence of four groups of volunteers using standard tests. Then they trained each in a complicated memory task, an elaborate variation on Concentration, the child’s card game, in which they memorized simultaneously presented auditory and visual stimuli that they had to recall later.

The game was set up so that as the participants succeeded, the tasks became harder, and as they failed, the tasks became easier. This assured a high level of difficulty, adjusted individually for each participant, but not so high as to destroy motivation to keep working. The four groups underwent a half-hour of training daily for 8, 12, 17 and 19 days, respectively. At the end of each training, researchers tested the participants’ fluid intelligence again. To make sure they were not just improving their test-taking skills, the researchers compared them with control groups that took the tests without the training.

The results, published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were striking. Although the control groups also made gains, presumably because they had practice with the fluid intelligence tests, improvement in the trained groups was substantially greater. Moreover, the longer they trained, the higher their scores were. All performers, from the weakest to the strongest, showed significant improvement.

“Intelligence has always been considered principally an immutable inherited trait,” said Susanne M. Jaeggi, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at the University of Michigan and a co-author of the paper. “Our results show you can increase your intelligence with appropriate training.”

Why did the training work? The authors suggest several aspects of the exercise relevant to solving new problems: ignoring irrelevant items, monitoring ongoing performance, managing two tasks simultaneously and connecting related items to one another in space and time.

No one knows how long the gains will last after training stops, Dr. Jaeggi said, and the experiment’s design did not allow the researchers to determine whether more training would continue to produce further gains.

2008年4月7日 星期一



我在台大餐廳(2008/4/7 1400),聽到一位類似教大陸研究的老師與他女學生的抱怨(六四的圖像無法學術處理,要(寫)讀論文……..):過去教育真偏差。怎麼我問些同學,許多人都不知道陳雲是誰;只教些「台灣對中國之政策」,難道「中國沒有對台灣之政策」?……

Larry King Live When is it on? Tonight at 09:00 pm CNN (ch 53) ... Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura ("Don't Start the Revolution Without Me! ...

這位仁兄現在居住社區相當生態 他說這輩子大部份投票時都為 Bush Clinton兩家族所主宰 多無聊無意義…..


She said that 1989 must rank as (= be) the most remarkable year for change in Europe since 1848.


Indeed, author James Collins has written that the System/360, along with Ford's Model T and the Boeing 707 jet, were the three most important business innovations of all time.


帝国ホテル(ていこくホテル、英称Imperial Hotel)とは、


2008年4月6日 星期日

美國哲學系 台灣註冊率

In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined

Sylwia Kapuscinski for The New York Times

Zachary Perry, a junior at Rutgers University, reasons out a position at a meeting of the university’s philosophy club.

Published: April 6, 2008

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — When a fellow student at Rutgers University urged Didi Onejeme to try Philosophy 101 two years ago, Ms. Onejeme, who was a pre-med sophomore, dismissed it as “frou-frou.”

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Sylwia Kapuscinski for The New York Times

Rebecca Clipper, a senior in a philosophy class at Rutgers, which has 100 philosophy majors graduating this year.

“People sitting under trees and talking about stupid stuff — I mean, who cares?” Ms. Onejeme recalled thinking at the time.

But Ms. Onejeme, now a senior applying to law school, ended up changing her major to philosophy, which she thinks has armed her with the skills to be successful. “My mother was like, what are you going to do with that?” said Ms. Onejeme, 22. “She wanted me to be a pharmacy major, but I persuaded her with my argumentative skills.”

Once scoffed at as a luxury major, philosophy is being embraced at Rutgers and other universities by a new generation of college students who are drawing modern-day lessons from the age-old discipline as they try to make sense of their world, from the morality of the war in Iraq to the latest political scandal. The economic downturn has done little, if anything, to dampen this enthusiasm among students, who say that what they learn in class can translate into practical skills and careers. On many campuses, debate over modern issues like war and technology is emphasized over the study of classic ancient texts.

Rutgers, which has long had a top-ranked philosophy department, is one of a number of universities where the number of undergraduate philosophy majors is ballooning; there are 100 in this year’s graduating class, up from 50 in 2002, even as overall enrollment on the main campus has declined by 4 percent.

At the City University of New York, where enrollment is up 18 percent over the past six years, there are 322 philosophy majors, a 51 percent increase since 2002.

“If I were to start again as an undergraduate, I would major in philosophy,” said Matthew Goldstein, the CUNY chancellor, who majored in mathematics and statistics. “I think that subject is really at the core of just about everything we do. If you study humanities or political systems or sciences in general, philosophy is really the mother ship from which all of these disciplines grow.”

Nationwide, there are more colleges offering undergraduate philosophy programs today than a decade ago (817, up from 765), according to the College Board. Some schools with established programs like Texas A&M, Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, now have twice as many philosophy majors as they did in the 1990s.

David E. Schrader, executive director of the American Philosophical Association, a professional organization with 11,000 members, said that in an era in which people change careers frequently, philosophy makes sense. “It’s a major that helps them become quick learners and gives them strong skills in writing, analysis and critical thinking,” he said.

Mr. Schrader, an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware, said that the demand for philosophy courses had outpaced the resources at some colleges, where students are often turned away. Some are enrolling in online courses instead, he said, describing it as “really very strange.”

“The discipline as we see it from the time of Socrates starts with people face to face, putting their positions on the table,” he said.

The Rutgers philosophy department is relatively large, with 27 professors, 60 graduate students, and more than 30 undergraduate offerings each semester. For those who cannot get enough of their Descartes in class, there is the Wednesday night philosophy club, where, last week, 11 students debated the metaphysics behind the movie “The Matrix” for more than an hour.

An undergraduate philosophy journal started this semester has drawn 36 submissions — about half from Rutgers students — on musings like “Is the extinction of a species always a bad thing?”

Barry Loewer, the department chairman, said that Rutgers started building its philosophy program in the late 1980s, when the field was branching into new research areas like cognitive science and becoming more interdisciplinary. He said that many students have double-majored in philosophy and, say, psychology or economics, in recent years, and go on to become doctors, lawyers, writers, investment bankers and even commodities traders.

As the approach has changed, philosophy has attracted students with little interest in contemplating the classical texts, or what is known as armchair philosophy. Some, like Ms. Onejeme, the pre-med-student-turned-philosopher, who is double majoring in political science, see it as a pre-law track because it emphasizes the verbal and logic skills prized by law schools — something the Rutgers department encourages by pointing out that their majors score high on the LSAT.

Other students said that studying philosophy, with its emphasis on the big questions and alternative points of view, provided good training for looking at larger societal questions, like globalization and technology.

“All of these things make the world a smaller place and force us to look beyond the bubble we grow up in,” said Christine Bullman, 20, a junior, who said art majors and others routinely took philosophy classes. “I think philosophy is a good base to look at a lot of issues.”

Frances Egan, a Rutgers philosophy professor who advises undergraduates, said that as it has become harder for students to predict what specialties might be in demand in an uncertain economy, some may be more apt to choose their major based simply on what they find interesting. “Philosophy is a lot of fun,” said Professor Egan, who graduated with a philosophy degree in the tough economic times of the 1970s. “A lot of students are in it because they find it intellectually rewarding.”

Max Bialek, 22, was majoring in math until his senior year, when he discovered philosophy. He decided to stay an extra year to complete the major (his parents needed reassurance, he said, but were supportive).

“I thought: Why weren’t all my other classes like that one?” he said, explaining that philosophy had taught him a way of studying that could be applied to any subject and enriched his life in unexpected ways. “You can talk about almost anything as long as you do it well.”

Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a 20-year-old sophomore who is majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, said philosophy had other perks. She said she found many male philosophy majors interesting and sensitive.

“That whole deep existential torment,” she said. “It’s good for getting girlfriends.”

家長︰公布註冊率 納入評鑑

〔記者黃以敬/台北報導〕教育部 計畫將不良註冊率納入評鑑並要求減招,卻引發部分學校反彈,主張尊重市場機制,不要讓弱勢學校更招不到學生;家長及學生團體則均強烈要求,應該公布各校註 冊率並納入評鑑,不能讓學生不知情狀況下進入可能關門或招生不良的學校,受教權益根本沒保障。








2008年4月2日 星期三




宗旨 為實現「照顧弱勢、區域平衡」理念,由「發展國際一流大學及頂尖研究中心計畫」 及「獎勵大學教學卓越計畫」之25 所大學經教育部核定辦理「97 學年度大學繁星 計畫招生」(以下簡稱本招生),以發掘全國各高中之英才,期使每一所高中具有潛力 之優秀學生,皆有就讀優質大學之機會,進而培育未來之社會中堅。



2008年4月1日 星期二

Free Online College Courses Are Proliferating


教育為公 文化共享


從 手抄課堂筆記到教程的各種教學資料近些年都已亮相互聯網﹐向所有需要的人免費提供。在美國、中國、日本和歐洲各國知名大學的推動下﹐開放教育資源行動正在 逐漸發展壯大。它修建起通往知識大廈的橋梁﹐為的是不讓一個人“因為金錢、種族等問題被拒之門外﹐”32歲的台灣人朱學恒(Lucifer Chu)如是說。朱學恒是全球數千名這場運動的推動者之一。他已將翻譯《指環王》(Lord of the Rings)系列小說賺得的大約50萬美元投入到工程學、數學和其他教學材料的英譯中翻譯中去。

這一行動發端於上世紀90年代末﹐在一定 程度上受到了“開放源代碼”軟件運動的啟發。開放源代碼的理念是電腦程序應免費使用。TheCounter. com的數據顯示﹐現在全球一半以上的處理器 以及約18%的瀏覽器靠開放源代碼軟件驅動。TheCounter.com是康涅狄格州互聯網出版商Jupitermedia Corp.旗下的網絡分析服務機構。這些成績的背後是允許用戶使用、修改甚至重新發佈代碼的版權許可協議。另一個靈感來源就是如雨後春筍般湧現的照片共享 及開放式百科全書網站。

教育工作者認識到﹐強調依靠志願者的力量來開發和完善代碼的開放源代碼軟件運動非常值得借鑒。猶他州立大學 (Utah State University)教學技術副教授大衛•威萊(David Wiley)回憶1998年他投身其中時﹐教育界希望﹐“借助開放源代碼軟件運動的力量。”

麻省理工學院(MIT) 2001年率先在互聯網上免費提供課程資料。現在﹐MIT的“開放式課程”項目提供覆蓋該校全部學科1,800門課程以上的課堂筆記、考試和其他資源。 MIT網站發佈的數據顯示﹐這些資料已被來自世界各地的4,000萬訪客查閱﹐平均每月的訪問量達100萬人次。其中自學者佔到近一半(49%)﹔在校學 生佔三分之一多一點﹔另外有16%是教育界人士。

如今MIT依然是這場運動的代表﹐而美國和歐洲國家的許多大學都開設了類似項目﹐而且近 幾年來亞洲也投身其中。越南和泰國的院校已經開始將MIT和其他西方教學材料翻譯成本地語言﹐另外還有150多所大學加入了中國的一個教育網絡。今年4月 ﹐中國大連市將主辦每年兩次的開放式課程聯盟會議﹐屆時將有來自澳大利亞、委內瑞拉等全球各地的100多所高等教育機構與會。

並不是所有 活動都由教育機構發起。《指環王》的譯者朱學恒表示﹐他的開放式課程計劃(Opensource OpenCourseWare Prototype System﹐OOPS)完成了近200門MIT課程的全部翻譯﹐有600多門課程的翻譯已部分完成。該項目是從2004年開始的。他估算有2萬人為此付 出了勞動。朱學恒前往中國大陸、香港、日本、加拿大、新加坡、泰國和美國創建起他稱為“知識解放軍”的各學科專家隊伍﹐涉及領域包括醫藥、核電廠建設、衛 星和熱處理等。


如 今﹐至少有三所台灣院校提供網絡開放式課程。在日本﹐教育界人士建立了日本開放式課程聯盟。該聯盟秘書長Yoshimi Fukuhara表示﹐他們最初翻譯MIT的資料﹐現在則將重點放在日語課程上。該聯盟擁有17所會員院校﹐已經將1,000多門課程從日語譯為英語和其 他語言。猶他州立大學的威萊表示﹐在印度﹐如果國家知識委員會(National Knowledge Commission)推動的一個項目能夠付諸實施﹐將把印度推向開放式教育的最前沿。

不過問題依然存在。靈活學習網絡 (Flexible Learning Network)的理查德•韋里斯(Richard Wyles)指出﹐儘管和開放源代碼軟件運動相提並論﹐但兩者還是有很大不同。這一機構致力於新西蘭全國性數字化學習網絡的建設。他說﹐“隨著代碼的修改 和替代﹐開放源代碼軟件的質量不斷提高。而針對教學內容而言﹐就很少出現這種情況。儘管數量不斷增加﹐但真正的質量控制卻難以實行。”也就是說﹐在老師提 供筆記和其他教學材料之後﹐並沒有一個能夠保證這些材料準確無誤、緊跟時代的內在機制。他對維基百科這樣的項目更熱衷﹐因為它能促使人們更頻繁的對內容進 行修改。



為 了繼續推動這一行動﹐教育工作者、基金會和互聯網在今年1月份簽署了一份宣言﹐敦促政府和出版商將公共資助的教育材料在互聯網上免費提供。迄今為止開普敦 開放教育宣言(Cape Town Open Education Declaration)已經得到了140多個組織和近1,500名個人的簽名支持。另一個喜人的進展是:Elsevier BV同意對使用其擁有版權的MIT圖像和文字資料放鬆監管。這家學術期刊出版商總部設在阿姆斯特丹﹐是紐約和阿姆斯特丹上市公司Reed Elsevier旗下機構。

Jeremy Wagstaff

Free Online College Courses Are Proliferating

A revolution of sorts is sweeping education.

In the past few years, educational material, from handwritten lecture notes to whole courses, has been made available online, free for anyone who wants it. Backed by big-name universities in the U.S., China, Japan and Europe, the Open Education Resources movement is gaining ground, providing access to knowledge so that no one is 'walled in by money, race and other issues,' says Lucifer Chu, a 32-year-old Taiwanese citizen and among the thousands world-wide promoting the effort. He says he has used about half a million dollars from his translation of the 'Lord of the Rings' novels into Chinese to translate engineering, math and other educational material, also from English into Chinese.

The movement started in the late 1990s, inspired in part by the 'open source' software movement, based on the notion computer programs should be free. Open-source software now powers more than half the world's servers and about 18% of its browsers, according to TheCounter.com, a Web-analysis service by Connecticut-based Internet publisher Jupitermedia Corp. Behind its success are copyright licenses that allow users to use, change and then redistribute the software. Another inspiration was the proliferation of Web sites where millions share photos or write encyclopedia entries.

Educators recognized that open-source software, with its emphasis on harnessing the contributions of volunteers to develop and perfect code, was a great model. 'Let's try to build on the momentum of open-source' software, David Wiley, an associate professor of instructional technology at Utah State University, recalls of the thinking among academics in 1998 when he joined up.

The first university to offer course material free online was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 2001. Its OpenCourseWare project now offers lecture notes, exams and other resources from more than 1,800 courses spanning the institute's entire curriculum. The material has been accessed by 40 million visitors from nearly every country, with visitors averaging a million a month, according to its Web site. Nearly half -- 49% -- are self-learners; a little more than a third are students; and 16% are educators.

While MIT remains the poster child of the movement, many universities across the U.S. and Europe have similar programs, and in recent years Asia has embraced the initiative. Institutions in Vietnam and Thailand have begun translating MIT and other Western material into local languages, and more than 150 universities are linked in a network in China. In April, the Chinese city of Dalian will host the twice-yearly session of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which gathers more than 100 higher-education institutions from Australia to Venezuela.

Not all initiatives are institutional. Mr. Chu, the 'Lord of the Rings' translator, says his Opensource OpenCourseWare Prototype System, begun in 2004 and known as OOPS, has translated nearly 200 entire MIT courses and more than 600 partial courses. He reckons 20,000 people have contributed time. Mr. Chu has traveled to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. to build what he calls a 'knowledge liberation army' of specialists on subjects including medicine, nuclear-power-plant construction, satellites and heat processes.

The OOPS example of tapping into a motivated group of specialists could be a model for developing countries without a big budget for localizing courseware, Mr. Chu says. 'In the old days, there were very few ways for a white-collar [worker] or a student to use his knowledge to help people,' he says. 'Now they can use their knowledge not only to earn money for themselves but also to really help others.'

At least three Taiwanese institutions now offer courseware online. In Japan, educators established the Japan OpenCourseWare Consortium, which initially translated MIT material but now focuses on Japanese courses, says Yoshimi Fukuhara, secretary-general of the consortium. With 17 member universities, it has translated more than 1,000 courses from Japanese into English and other languages. And in India, a National Knowledge Commission has recommended initiatives that, if implemented, would push India to the forefront of open-source education, says Mr. Wiley, the Utah educator.

Problems remain. Despite comparisons with the open-source movement, there are crucial differences, notes Richard Wyles, whose Flexible Learning Network is working on a national e-learning network in New Zealand. 'With open-source software, quality increases as lines of code get fine-tuned and replaced,' he says. 'With content, that happens far less often. Instead, it increases without any real quality control.' That is, after lecturers and teachers have submitted their notes and other course material so that others can access it, there is no built-in way to ensure this material isn't inaccurate or outdated. He is enthusiastic about wiki-based software, which promotes more-frequent revisions.

Then there are issues with overcoming the traditions and entrenched interests of academia, such as the concerns some lecturers have about their livelihoods if they put all their material online.

Mr. Wiley's response: Adjust to the new reality. He points to the almost 'pop star' popularity of some who have posted lecture videos online. Some have boosted class attendance and have raised interest in their courses, while others have overhauled and improved material in the process of submitting it. 'What it has done is to expose teaching to peer review,' he says.

To keep pushing the cause, a coalition of educators, foundations and Internet pioneers in January signed a declaration urging governments and publishers to make publicly funded educational material available free over the Internet. The Cape Town Open Education Declaration has so far been signed by more than 140 organizations and nearly 1,500 individuals. In another promising development, Elsevier BV, an Amsterdam-based publisher of academic journals and a unit of New York- and Amsterdam-listed Reed Elsevier, agreed to relax control over use of its copyrighted images and text in MIT's project.

Jeremy Wagstaff