For me, our new Center for Future Civic Media at MIT provides an opportunity to weave together several strands of my career.
I started my career as a journalist, writing about science and technology for Business Week magazine. Then I decided to make a career shift. I went to graduate school in computer science, and I began developing educational technologies -- in particular, technologies to engage children in creative learning experiences.
How do I make sense of these two seemingly-disconnected careers? I have often explained that both careers grew out of the same underlying motivation: to help people understand the world around them.
That's true. But I now realize that it's only part of the story. Over the years, I have come to realize that I have a strong preference for certain ways of helping people understand the world. I am skeptical about approaches that focus primarily on "transmitting" or "delivering" information. I believe that the best way to help people understand the world is to provide them with opportunities to actively explore, experiment, and express themselves.