ICT4D Spring 2014 – Lessons Learned

Reflecting on this course, I can’t help but think that the class, and ICT4D itself, isn’t quite what I expected.  Every other class I have taken in my college career that discussed technology has painted it as an amazing tool, and that there was never enough of it. It was a go-to problem solver. Problems with technology or its appropriate use were never touched upon, and that is the perspective I had at the beginning of the semester.

Now, having learned so much about technology’s role in development, I have to say that that perspective has drastically changed. Before, I had never considered technology as being ‘appropriate’ or not. Of course technology was appropriate! It was innovative, sleek, and multifunctional. It was always relevant and acceptable. But walking away from the class, the biggest thing I think I’ve learned is that technology is not always the answer, and that there can be negative consequences if it is not used appropriately. Giving laptops to every child in a school in a developing country means nothing if we don’t also give those children the proper set up to use them. Who will teach them how to use the computers? Who will fix them if they break? How will they charge their batteries? Simply dumping technology into developing areas is not the answer, and I can clearly see that now.

I’m in no way saying that technology hasn’t completely changed the development landscape, but with its rise has come new challenges to consider. Using it wisely means more resources for more people, but if it is not monitored and used carefully it can have a myriad of negative consequences. This is a lesson I wish I had learned earlier and is something I will definitely be using in my future.

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