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2017/07/14 第179期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools學前教育不能只是玩耍? 家長嚇壞了
Driverless Transit in Europe, Yes. Sexy, No.歐洲無人駕駛運輸 不求時髦
Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools學前教育不能只是玩耍? 家長嚇壞了
文/Dana Goldstein

A group of students at Woodside Community School in Queens peered up at their teacher one morning this month, as she used an overhead projector to display a shape.

It looked like a basic geometry lesson one might find in any grade school, except for the audience: They were preschoolers, seated cross-legged on a comfy rug.



“What attributes would tell me this is a square?” asked the teacher, Ashley Rzonca.

A boy named Mohammed raised his hand, having remembered these concepts from a previous lesson. “A square has four angles and four equal sides,” he said.



As school reformers nationwide push to expand publicly funded prekindergarten and enact more stringent standards, more students are being exposed at ever younger ages to formal math and phonics lessons like this one. That has worried some education experts and frightened those parents who believe that children of that age should be playing with blocks, not sitting still as a teacher explains a shape’s geometric characteristics.

But now a new national study suggests that preschools that do not mix enough fiber into their curriculum may be doing their young charges a disservice.



The study found that by the end of kindergarten, children who had attended one year of “academic-oriented preschool” outperformed peers who had attended less academic-focused preschools by, on average, the equivalent of 2 1/2 months of learning in literacy and math.

“Simply dressing up like a firefighter or building an exquisite Lego edifice may not be enough,” said Bruce Fuller, the lead author of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. “If you can combine creative play with rich language, formal conversations and math concepts, that’s more likely to yield the cognitive gains we observed.”



The new wave of preschools provide playtime, but their major goal is academic “kindergarten readiness,” and the study could provide ammunition for policymakers who want to keep on that course. It could also help officials like de Blasio make the case for even more public spending on prekindergarten programs.

Whether they will win over all parents is another question.



Driverless Transit in Europe, Yes. Sexy, No.歐洲無人駕駛運輸 不求時髦
文/Mark Scott

On the outskirts of Berlin, Michael Barillere-Scholz is testing a driverless vehicle that is neither sleek nor futuristic. The machine is boxy and painted white. Its top speed barely reaches 20 mph.

The self-driving vehicle is a shuttle with room for 12 passengers. Barillere-Scholz, who leads the driverless research team at Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s largest train and bus operator, and his team have been testing the vehicle around a local office park. Later this year, the partly state-owned public transit company will also begin separate trials of a similar autonomous bus on public roads in southern Germany, connecting a local train station with stops along a predetermined route.



“We want to show that autonomous cars don’t have to be limited to luxury consumer vehicles, they also have a role in public transport,” Barillere-Scholz said. “The market in Germany for this type of vehicle is huge.”

The coming age of driverless cars has typically centered on Silicon Valley highfliers like Tesla, Uber and Google, which have showcased their autonomous driving technology in luxury sedans and SUVs costing $100,000 or more. But across Europe, fledgling driverless projects like those by Deutsche Bahn are instead focused on utilitarian self-driving vehicles for mass transit that barely exceed walking pace.



Forgoing the latest automotive trends of aerodynamics and style, European transportation groups and city planners are instead aiming to connect these unglamorous driverless vehicles to existing public transportation networks of subways and buses. The goal is to eventually offer on-demand driverless services to those who cannot afford the latest expensive offerings from Tesla and others.

“When it comes to public transportation, we’re really close on making this technology work,” said Harri Santamala, who coordinates several projects involving autonomous public transport in Finland and directs a “smart mobility” program at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.



While U.S. cities — including Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Las Vegas — have tested some of these mass transit driverless vehicles, Europe is a particular hotbed of this activity. That is because of the region’s densely packed urban areas and decades-old and widely used public transit systems, which often include subways, trains and buses.

In total, more than 20 pilot or existing public transport programs have taken place in Europe involving autonomous vehicles, according to a review by The New York Times.




自駕車(或稱無人駕駛車,自動駕駛車)之發展堪稱當今顯學,英文可用driverless, self-driving, autonomous, automated等字。

辦公園區(office park或business park)是辦公大樓聚集處,通常設在郊區,因為土地和建築成本較低。科學園區(science park)常蓋在大學附近,以便產學合作、研究和開發新技術。

utilitarian是utilitarianism(功利主義)的形容詞。功利主義是一種道德理論,主張行為的對錯標準是「行為是否能增進最大多數人的最大幸福,或為最大多數人減少苦痛」,主要倡導者是18到19世紀英國哲學家邊沁(Jeremy Bentham)。utilitarian另一個意思是「實用的」,但與本文不合。

先導計畫(pilot program)又稱可行性研究(feasibility study),是小規模且短期的實驗,能讓研究者知道大規模進行時的情況會如何。先導計畫通常須列出目標、執行方法、執行時程表與決定計畫成功與否的指標。


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