Ariel’s Lessons Learned

Throughout this semester I have learned so much about the concepts, configurations, and frameworks of ICT4D. We have discussed general themes and ideas in addition to case studies in class, and I have been able to reflect on these class readings and discussions for my own country reports. From this, I have taken away that the most important thing to remember when dealing with ICT4D is not to over-design. As a society, we have this habit of always wanting what is shiny and new, thus causing us to throw out the old so we can get the new. But when dealing with ICT4D, we cannot have this same philosophy. We cannot crowd developing nations with complex hardware and software that, though they may have good intentions, are complex. These complexities in ICT have greater potential to fail, thus putting a society right back where they started, yet with lower self-worth, less hope, and piles of useless e-waste that is unable to be recycled in their environment.

In addition, during this course, I was able to reflect on what types of project I am personally drawn to, and how I can utilize my own personal set of knowledge and skills in the field. And, not to my surprise, this course has only reaffirmed my passion of bridging the rural to urban gap. Yet, because I did not know much about ICT4D before this course, my ideas to do this were much different. With the tools and opportunities that ICT provides for development, I feel that this is a great asset for bridging this gap in many countries. The one thing that is important to remember, though obvious, is that models vary based on time, place, and overall relevance. As IDEV students, we are told that the “one size fits all” approach is garbage and to always take into account local conditions, but this is often easier said than done. If a project is attractive and successful in a certain instance, it is so easy to say that the same thing should be done elsewhere without really thinking about the nature of the model and potential implementation site. I know that I am only reiterating what IDEV students hear over and over, but I still feel that it is the most important concept in the development field.

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