New academic offering: D-Lab ICT

The D-Lab family of classes is continually growing to respond to the students' demand and interest in international development and appropriate technologies in several different fronts. As a result, D-Lab adds another academic offering this fall in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D): D-Lab ICT.

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of projects that apply digital technologies to support socio-economic development. Nowadays, Information and Communication Technologies have become a major tool in all fields of development, with applications in sectors as diverse as health, education, disaster management, e-governance, microfinance, and economic development. D-Lab ICT aims to train the next generation of technology-savvy field-practitioners by providing them with hands-on knowledge and a broad understanding on issues of technology improvements for developing countries.

In D-Lab ICT, we will focus on ICT4D, and we do it the “D-Lab” way: through empowered design and user-driven innovation. Digital technologies can offer a low-barrier entry point to prototyping and innovation, as raw electronic components are very inexpensive and there are many free software development platforms. Thus, they have a great potential to become the right vehicles for local empowerment. In order to attain this goal, a broad understanding of development and a multidisciplinary approach will be required, both of which lie at the essence of the D-Lab program at large.

Students will strengthen their design and engineering skills, and will learn practical ways to channel their desire to make a positive impact in the world. The unique framework of D-Lab classes in which this course is conceived, in conjunction with a strong network of community partners, offers MIT students a great opportunity to explore technological innovation in the developing world, and practice engineering in a very real world context.