For me, the MIT Center for Future Civic Media 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. 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.
In trying to construct a personal narrative of these two seemingly disconnected careers, I have often explained that my underlying motivation was the same in both careers. In both cases, my goal has been 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 involve “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.