Technology can only change lives for the better if the people creating it intentionally focus on enduring and positive change.
My senior year of college I had the good fortune of participating in a grant for the Muncie Children’s Museum to create an installation. I led the programming to make video games to teach youth about music. The idea was to move beyond the installation about sound at many children’s museums to focus on the different parts of the orchestra and music in general.
Five computers were purchased which were displayed in beautiful wooden structures representing a family of the orchestra. The exhibit opened to much fan fair. The museum had strung a ribbon across the opening, a few short speeches were given and the ribbon was cut.
Years later I returned to Muncie for homecoming and stopped by the museum to see the installation. It was not functional and basically abandoned. Youth were playing everywhere but not there. Some of the computers had frozen and I rebooted them. Watching them boot, I realized the need for maintenance and long term strategy for technology.
The intention behind the exhibit was good. It fell short to make systemic and lasting change. That moment left a lasting mark on me creating a desire for technology that creates a sustainable and positive impact on people’s lives.
– Marty Tormoehlen