"The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Lack of health insurance is a factor in life span and contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year. Why the high cost? The U.S. has a fee-for-service system—paying medical providers piecemeal for appointments, surgery, and the like. That can lead to unneeded treatment that doesn’t reliably improve a patient’s health. Says Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies health insurance worldwide, “More care does not necessarily mean better care.” —Michelle Andrews "
This article responds to a generation of techno-criticism in education. It contains a review of the key themes of that criticism. The context of previous efforts to reform education reframes that criticism. Within that context, the question is raised about what schools need to look and be like in order to take advantage of laptop computers and other technology. In doing so, the article presents a vision for self-organizing schools.
"Despite problems, laptops boost student test scores By John Timmer | Last updated January 25, 2010 6:30 AM Flickr user billaday
The past several years have seen laptop prices plunge to commodity levels at the same time that the explosion in WiFi access has made getting them on the 'Net much easier. That's prompted an explosion of one-to-one student:laptop programs, implemented by everything from individual schools to entire states. Hard data on the effectiveness of these programs, however, has been hard to come by. The most recent issue of The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment is devoted to looking at these programs, and it includes some hard data suggesting that they just might help students handle standardized tests. "
Now, in many respects, information has never been so free. There are more ways to spread more ideas to more people than at any moment in history. And even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.
During his visit to China in November, for example, President Obama held a town hall meeting with an online component to highlight the importance of the internet. In response to a question that was sent in over the internet, he defended the right of people to freely access information, and said that the more freely information flows, the stronger societies become. He spoke about how access to information helps citizens hold their own governments accountable, generates new ideas, encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. The United States belief in that ground truth is what brings me here today.
Because amid this unprecedented surge in connectivity, we must also recognize that these technologies are not an unmitigated blessing. These tools are also being exploited to undermine human progress and political rights. Just as steel can be used to build hospitals or machine guns, or nuclear power can either energize a city or destroy it, modern information networks and the technologies they support can be harnessed for good or for ill. The same networks that help organize movements for freedom also enable al-Qaida to spew hatred and incite violence against the innocent. And technologies with the potential to open up access to government and promote transparency can also be hijacked by governments to crush dissent and deny human rights.