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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

digital immigrants and low tech teachers

three Tech world news (1)

How a technology called Wi-Fi adds to America’s class divide

Monday, July 4th, 2011      by Peter Orszag, Business Standard
I now have more health information on my wrist than my doctor had about me 10 years ago, and I’m hopeful that it’s going to help keep me healthier. But it’s worrisome, too, because the same technological change that allows any of us to walk around with all this personal data at a glance may wind up exacerbating the growing gap in life expectancy between people with high levels of income and education and those without.
New technologies allow us to collect our own health data and store it in an online record. When combined with information from doctors and other providers, it can present a picture of someone’s well-being more nuanced than anything available before. My wife and I now have a new Withings Wi-Fi scale: When I step on, it transmits my weight and body-fat readings to the computer over our home Wi-Fi network. The information is then automatically linked to my personal online health record. A similar wireless blood-pressure monitor has just become commercially available.

EMERGENCY BRACELETAnd much of this information can be accessed by yet another new wristband device. As I write this, I’m wearing something called a VITAband, which is an emergency ID bracelet that is linked to online information about who I am, my allergies, my blood type, whom to contact in case of an emergency and so on. Importantly, with appropriate permission, it can also tap into my increasingly detailed online health record. (A particularly clever feature that isn’t directly connected to better health, except in the psychological sense, is the VITAband’s built-in debit card, which lets me make purchases or, if something goes terribly wrong when I’m out for a run, pay for a cab ride home.) As you might be able to tell, I’m quite enthusiastic about these innovations. But I’m also aware of their risks, which may only increase as the technology advances.
S. Korea to digitize all school textbooks by 2015Tuesday, July 5th, 2011     by Yonhap News
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will digitize all school textbooks by 2015 in a bid to help students create their own study patterns and lighten their backpacks, the government said Wednesday. 

   Under the plan, which requires 2.23 trillion won (US$ 2.07 billion) from the state budget, all schools will be fitted with an Internet-based computing system known as cloud computing by 2015, according to a report submitted to President Lee Myung-bak by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the President's Council on Informatization Strategies.
   Cloud computing allows users to share conventional computer resources, including software, information and online connections, through mobile devices such as smartphones without having to carry laptops or personal computers.
   The government hopes that the new educational tool will help students establish their own study patterns based on individual needs by giving them online access to their lessons and other educational resources. Digital textbooks are also expected to remove the physical burden of carrying heavy paper textbooks, which will remain in use for the time being, as well as the financial burden of purchasing them.
   The plan is to introduce digitized textbooks in elementary schools in 2014 and expand their use to middle and high schools the following year, the government said.
   The announcement comes shortly after the government said it aims to become a global cloud computing leader by 2015. The global cloud computing market is expected to grow from some 31 trillion won this year to more than 60 trillion won in 2014.

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3.  Mapping the “civilizations” of the world’s press

 Scholars have long sought to organize the world into “civilizations” that collect countries together by shared cultural or political foundations. Perhaps the most famous theory of world civilizations was put forth by Samuel Huntington in his controversial 1996 book entitled The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order, where he organized the world into ten major divisions. The majority of data–driven civilization theories rely on demographic information such as ethnic group or religious affiliation distribution or economic data such as trade ties. Media–driven studies of the “relatedness” of countries have focused primarily on how often the press of one country covers events in another, measuring media selection bias (Wu, 2000). Yet, as the maps in the previous section illustrate, the global news media appears to cluster regions together, relating cities in one area to those in another more closely than to the rest of the world, offering an implicit grouping of “civilizations.”
Figure 15 visualizes the way in which the global news media frames the world for its readership and the “civilizations” that result. All mentions of a city or geographic landmark across SWB content 1979–2009 were pooled together, and a link established between each pair of cities that appear in an article together. These were then aggregated up to the country level, yielding a network diagram with the countries of the world as nodes and the edges between them recording the number of articles those two countries appeared together in. Many countries appear together in just a handful of articles out ofSWB’s 3.9 million from this period, and so to reduce noise, only links representing five percent or more of one of the two countries’ total appearances were retained. This discarded single isolated connections of a pair of countries, while retaining those that were more regularly discussed together in the news. To capture the intensity of news attention as accurately as possible, edge weights were not normalized, meaning that higher–volume countries that occur together frequently will have a stronger edge weight than those with lower coverage volumes.

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