I’ve been gently restoring the blog back to the way it used to be. And, while waiting for things to happen, I took a random walk. I read the news today, oh boy. And while I avoided finding out how many holes it took to fill the Albert Hall, I chanced across Bill Thompson’s reference to a Steven Johnson post about an op-ed on “the endangered joys of serendipity“.
Go Bill. Go Steven. Mr McKeen does not know what he’s talking about.
There are many reasons to believe that serendipity is increased, not decreased, as a result of the web. That creativity is imbued with new dimensions and in no way diminished. I can think of many arguments; let me concentrate on just one.
The huge shift under way for learning is that the virtual knowledge ecology is not geographical, it is global. It transcends localities and cultures and is available in common to students everywhere, along with anyone else who is interested. The emergence of the virtual knowledge ecology represents a titanic shift from localised learning to a common global knowledge resource.
This is key. Serendipity knows no borders.
An aside. Over forty years ago, Leo Goodman suggested that we get the word Serendipity from Serendip, a corruption of the word Saradip, used in Hindusthani to describe what was then Ceylon. Arthur Clarke then made sure we knew about it.
Serendipity knows no borders. Particularly now we have the web.