The Importance of Implementation in ICT

With the various drives for information technology in the developing world, one necessary lesson remains true: there is no way to leapfrog the necessity for a well-trained teacher; and without a well-trained teacher implementing the ICT program and integrating it into the curriculum, the ICT revolution, despite fantastic claims of "self-learning revolutions" by some, will remain a myth. Thus, with the proliferation of efforts occuring around the world, I am apt to focus on success with the key ingredient: a focus on curriculum development, curriculum integration, and teacher training.

The good folks at the Poverty Action Lab cited this issue with a recent study of a massive, nationwide program in Colombia. Distinctive in this effort, the drive was indigenous, with the Colombian Ministry of Education working to recycle donated machines to school locations around the nation; however laudible an indigenous ICT program might be, if the program does not give the intended outputs, it is still just as big of a waste of resources as an externally-funded and driven ICT project. And again, the key issue here was not scale or breadth; it was the lack of focus on the key determining factors mentioned. Because of a lack of curriculum development and integration, the machines were only used to teach technology skills and not in other core learning areas; there were no significant increases in test scores in any core subject areas despite the availability of machines.

To unlock both the potential of technology and the potential of students to utilize this technology, key tasks must be focused on, or this push risks being another blind drive to obscurity.