My name is Hillary, and I'm so excited - no, really, you have no idea - to announce that I've arrived @NDITech. I'm a former journalist, teacher, and toy store employee who grew up in a house of tinkerers and tech enthusiasts, and I recently graduated from the Fletcher School in Boston. More importantly, my background has made me passionate about tech and media use across disciplines, and coming to NDI allows me to put those interests to good use.
My main interests on the tech team include nonformal education, public diplomacy and outreach, and social marketing, as well as the larger (and related) issues of user interaction and the effects of tech projects from a systemic perspective. I believe strongly that technology needs to be engaging and desirable as well as accessible - not just from an infrastructural perspective, but in terms of the ways in which people go through their daily existence. Which brings me to the title of this post.
As anyone who's ever taught can attest, children can be a very, very tough crowd. A few years ago, I was teaching English in Korea, and one of my fellow teachers put on her Facebook an exchange she'd had with a student. It's now been added to the (long) list of internal memes I maintain.
STUDENT Teacher! Today play game?
TEACHER No, we played a game yesterday.
STUDENT Yesterday game boring and hate. New game!
While the idea of being dismissed contemptuously by an eleven-year-old is pretty funny on its own, I've also adopted it as a sort of informal motto for my work here. A major task that ICT4D still tends to face is coming to people where they are - not where we want them to be - and there's no use in offering solutions that no one wants or will use. If the game boring and hate, it's not going to be played, and there's nothing we can do about that. Except invent a new game. That's the work I want to do.