Lessons Learned

Development practitioners and policymakers must realize that ICT is a tool, not an goal in and of itself. Access to the most up to date technology and the latest communication innovation does not necessarily translate into tangible development if it is not distributed in an appropriate manner. This class’s focus on synchronizing the needs of the target population with the appropriate technology is one of its strongest features. People’s conception of how technology is/can be used in their daily lives varies significantly. Age, gender, geographic location, peer group, work environment, etc are among the many factors that allow one to conceive a use for technology. The fact that this class was able to address so many different “types” of tech users was very useful. Additionally, the fact that so many sectors were mentioned and studied was greatly beneficial. It was inspiring to see how technology is used in different fields- from security to farming to disaster relief. A snapshot of each sector broadened my outlook regarding post-undergraduate possibilities and options. I can foresee using the what I’ve learned about GIS and open source mapping in the future- before our sessions on disaster relief and humanitarian aid I had not considered the extreme usefulness of crowdsourcing. 

Taking into account that IDEV 4100 is part of the core requirements for the  international development coordinate major, it is understandable that the curriculum focuses solely on developing countries. That being said, I think it would be interesting to investigate the ICT policies and programs of wealthier countries, (such as the United States, Portugal, Sweden, Germany…) especially those that focus on low-income socioeconomic groups. I think technology is a tool that can be used (and already has been used) to reduce inequality, or the digital divide if you will, in developed countries.

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