Education and Technology:
Serendip's Experiences 1994-2004

Synthesized by Paul Grobstein and Jody Cohen
October 2004

Serendip was founded ten years ago in part as "a continually developing set of resources to explore and support intellectual and social change in education ...". Over the past decade, Serendip has been involved in an extended (and continuing) process of "trying out things" to see how the web can be used in education.

Here we try and summarize lessons learned to date. After a brief outline of "Background and Theory", we provide a list of "Practices" with links to specific examples and critical consideration. Our hope is not only to provide things that might be useful to other educators but to encourage other educators to join us in further exploration of how the web can contribute to deeper, richer, and more available education.

Inherent in this effort is a belief that the web, by encouraging innovation in a number of directions of particular promise in an educational context, provides an environment in which ideas about education can evolve and be tested for subsequent use not only in the web context but in educational environments of all kinds.

Please join us in helping to think about education using the prism of the web as a starting point. Your comments and additions can be posted directly in an on-line forum area or emailed to us. Special arrangements for inclusion of materials from particular classes or groups can readily be made by contacting us.


Background and Theory
(From Serendip's Evolving Web Principles, 2001)
  1. The Web provides, to anyone having access to it, a wealth of information, ideas, and perspectives orders of magnitude greater than was previously available to even the richest and most powerful human beings.

  2. The disorder of the Web is one of its greatest virtues. As a fundamentally decentralized system of information exchange, it makes available, to a much greater degree than any prior human institution, the widest possible array of information/ideas/perspectives in a diversity of forms which, for the first time, approximates the diversity of human users.

  3. The Web makes possible a revolution in "education" in the broadest sense, by making available to all human beings not only information/ideas/perspectives, but also "experiences", of a kind which individuals can themselves learn from, rather than being told about.

  4. The interactivity of the Web is perhaps its most important characteristic. For the first time in human history, it is becoming possible for all humans to play an active role in world-wide cultural and intellectual interchange. This means not only that everybody's ideas/perspective can be made available, but also that people can develop their ideas and perspectives in extensive interaction with other people.


  1. Web as information resource for faculty/students
  2. Web as interactive educational experiences
  3. Web as interactive conversation (forums)
  4. Web as interactive conversation (student and faculty authoring)
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