The pad, aka Etherpad, is an open-source, web-based collaborative real-time editor, that allows authors to simultaneously edit a text document, and see all of the participants’ edits in real-time. It also displays each author’s text contribution in a color that is assigned to them upon entering the space. Etherpads typically have a chat box as another form of communication between editors.


In our MAPP project, we dived into the Etherpad as a learning environment and as a place for collective learning with/from each other. In connection to the theme on Minimal Viable Learning, we started gathering some questions.


  • How is (or could) Etherpad be an educational environment?
  • How could minimal and viable tools shape collective learning?
  • How could collective learning shape minimal and viable tools?
  • How is the Etherpad minimal? And how not?
  • How is the Etherpad a viable tool for being together and learning together? And how not? 


For Varia, a tool becomes viable if we can work with it collectively and we can maximise the ways of engaging with the tools while keeping a minimal set up that we can mantain. We host the Etherpad in our own server which is situated in the physical space at Gouwstraat 3 Rotterdam. We use Etherpad for various activities from meetings to workshops.

An important aspect of this tool is that we can *stretch it* from a being a collaborative editor tool to a mode of publishing and indexing. It can be shared in its editing format or exported in different formats (such as HTML or Plain Text).

Some experiments include the Etherpump  — a page that indexes all pads that are made __PUBLIC__ with some other __MAGIC__ keywords (to read more about the latter visit this link).


We have also been gathering examples of collective usages of the etherpad, how different communities set the conditions, conduct codes, scores and more for collective learning experiences (see pad-in-progress).


To find traces of thoughts on possible usages of the Etherpad shared during the MAPP residency, read more in this pad.