Initially I was not thrilled to be enrolled in Information and Communication Technologies for Development. It is a required class, with only one section that cuts right into my nap time. I have never been too technologically savvy and I figured this would just be the kind of class that would spotlight my lack of skill.
The class wound up being extremely interesting, flitting through a wide array of topics in the ICT4D field that before I had not even realized existed. It has made me realize how interconnected our whole society is with technology today and how this is also affecting the development sphere. We briefly covered many many different tools, interfaces, designs, and challenges that face ICT4D around the world. I took away the most from the ideas of leapfrogging technology in the developing world, and how this leads to exponential growth as well as unforeseen consequences. Themes like cyber security and regulation that we worry about here, also need to be put into motion in developing nations, along with sustainable and environmentally solid technology tools. Finally just the wide amount of innovation we are not exposed to that is happening in the developing world. By exploring the twitter and ict4d blogs that exist I enjoyed posting each week about related topics from class.
I found the sector projects to be the most useful to me personally. I really enjoyed getting to choose something I was interested in (egovernance) and do independent research and a group presentation, while also hearing briefly about the rest of the class’s other sectors. The national ICT policies and the implementation of egovernance and egovernment are fascinating to me in that it is not necessarily a drastic change in poverty etc, but something that is setting the stage for greater efficiency, communication, and transparency.
Finally the theme I took away most from class was that technology is not the solution. This was mentioned constantly throughout the semester by our professor, guest speakers, and the readings. It is clear that ICT is a great benefit, but we must really think through its implementation and challenges before just throwing it at communities in need. There is so much potential for this field I am excited to keep up with ICT4D in the coming years.