5. If you are pointed in the wrong direction, technology may help you get there more quickly
In many cases, 'technology' can be seen as the 'solution' -- but it is not exactly clear what problem the technology is meant to help solve, and how exactly it will do this. As the ICT in Education Toolkit states, "Technology is only a tool: No technology can fix a bad educational philosophy or compensate for bad practice. In fact, if we are going in the wrong direction, technology will get us there faster. Providing schools with hardware and software does not automatically reform teaching and improve learning. Much depends on educational practices and how ICTs are used to enhance them."
6. Anticipate, and mitigate, Matthew Effects
A Matthew Effect in Educational Technology is frequently observed: Those who are most able to benefit from the introduction of ICTs (e.g. children with educated parents and good teachers, who live in prosperous communities, etc.) are indeed the ones who benefit the most. Just because investments in educational technology use are justified by rhetoric claiming that such use will benefit 'the poor' doesn't mean that this will actually happen. In fact, the opposite many well occur. Too many planning efforts related to large scale investments in ICT use in education dwell too long on what is possible, while ignoring much of what is predictable, and in the end what is practical to do doesn't benefit the poor and disadvantaged all that much. It doesn't have to be that way -- but you may need to take some proactive steps (and monitor the impact of what you're doing regularly) to mitigate these potential effects.
7. To succeed in doing something difficult, you may first need to fail (and learn from this failure)
Trying to help isolated, poor communities improve their schools and the education that they offer to their children is a nontrivial endeavor. If the related challenges were easy to overcome, one expects that more of them would have been. Unfortunately, such places may be no stranger to 'failed' projects of various sorts, and the reasons for such failures may be varied and complex. The history of the use of technology in education also features lots of 'failures'. Indeed, 'failure' is a defining characteristic of many educational technology projects ... including the successful ones. A key ingredient for success is often an ability, and willingness, to recognize and learn from failure -- and then change course as needed. How can one learn from failure? A commitment to learn through experimentation and iteration, supported by robust and regular monitoring and evaluation, can certainly help. The flexibility to be able to make changes, and the humility to admit that you may not know everything at the planning stages of whatever it is you hope to accomplish, doesn't hurt either.
This article originally appeared here.