Q&A

Joichi Ito

Director, MIT Media Lab

USA

Japanese entrepreneur and venture capitalist Joichi Ito is director of the MIT Media Lab in Massachusetts.

Is there an MIT Media Lab way of learning?
Definitely. It’s “anti-disciplinary”; it’s about building and expressing through doing rather than arguing and planning. It’s about agility, creativity and breaking rules. It’s about aggressively questioning authority and thinking for yourself. It’s about freedom.

How are you and MIT investing in educating a new generation?
I’d like to make a distinction between education and learning. Education is a lot about degrees. Many students spend their time trying to get out of university. The degree is the goal, not learning. You might say that in some cases education gets in the way of learning. MIT is different. A lot of learning happens. And the Media Lab is even more different.

What are you doing to innovate in education?
I think the Media Lab approach to learning through doing and through collaboration is really important, but we can do this on the internet, with more outside groups and bigger communities. I’d really like to see how we can be much more inclusive and help even those who are not physically at the Media Lab to benefit from our DNA and our platform.

What impactful projects will you be starting?
I want to participate in the revolution in scaling learning. Universities were created based on an assumption that there is scarcity. You can only admit a few students and the classroom didn’t scale. With the internet and peer-to-peer learning, the cost of being inclusive is nil. We need to shift to thinking in terms of abundance instead of scarcity when it comes to learning and education, and focus on ideas like open access and sharing.

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