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Oct 30, 2009 Article
Science cafés. Cross-cultural adaptation and educational applications

by Michael Norton and Kayoko Nohara

Tokyo Institute of Technology (TokyoTech) has been developing a number of methodologies to teach graduate students the theory and practice of science communication since 2005. One of the tools used is the science café, where students are taught about the background based primarily on theoretical models developed in the UK. They then apply that knowledge and adapt it the Japanese cultural context and plan, execute and review outcomes as part of their course. In this paper we review 4 years of experience in using science cafés in this educational context; we review the background to the students’ decision-making and consensus-building process towards deciding on the style and subject to be used, and the value this has in illuminating the cultural influences on the science café design and implementation. We also review the value of the science café as an educational tool and conclude that it has contributed to a number of teaching goals related to both knowledge and the personal skills required to function effectively in an international environment.

Volume 8 • Issue 04 • 2009

Mar 21, 2008 Article
Overseas internships as a vehicle for developing a meta-level awareness regarding science communication

by Kayoko Nohara, Michael Norton, Miki Saijo and Osamu Kusakabe

The overseas internship programme offered at Tokyo Institute of Technology as part of the science communication curriculum is highly significant, as it prompts graduate students to acquire new skills and awareness levels, including an enhanced meta-level understanding of the importance and complexity of human communications. The capacity to correlate and respond on-site in human interaction can be gradually cultivated during the internship as students experience diverse communication environments. Moreover, the exposure to different organisational, cultural and social environments helps develop a more international outlook. As a result of the initial experience described in this paper, TiTech has adopted internships as an important part of the educational tool-kit to produce scientists and engineers who can play an active role at the global level using their acquired technical knowledge and broad practical capabilities.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008