What is the KEEP Toolkit?
In the last five years, a main focus of our work at the Knowledge Media Laboratory (KML) of The Carnegie Foundation has been to explore and create distinct forms and models that help faculty and educational institutions document, share, and reflect on some of the critical aspects of their efforts in transforming teaching and student learning.
The multimedia examples and electronic portfolios in the Gallery of Teaching and Learning showcase these attempts. However, our experience suggests that creating such succinct yet appealing and engaging representations and sharing them effectively remains an intellectually and technically daunting task. Despite the increasing interest of faculty, students, programs and institutions to develop and use these kinds of representations for collective knowledge sharing and building, in many cases, there is limited support available for them to explore the possibilities and initiate their own efforts.
The Knowledge Exchange Exhibition and Presentation (KEEP) Toolkit, a set of open-source tools developed at the KML, is intended to provide an economical and accessible solution to this challenge. The KEEP Toolkit is available to educators and students at all levels as a free service from our website. We have also made the Toolkit available as an open source software application so that institutions, departments, and educational organizations can also implement and administer the Toolkit locally and integrate it into their local systems as needed. For more information, please see the Site License page.
The latest KEEP Toolkit (Version 2.0) includes a set of tools that enable faculty and students to create succinct Web-based representations of aspects of teaching and learning so they can be shared with others. Users can also create templates that provide both conceptual organization frameworks and visual layouts. By guiding users through framing questions, directions, and rubrics, these templates help them organize materials—such as course materials and artifacts, student work examples, audio, image and video files—in a manner that best represents and contextualizes the content and linked resources.
History and Roadmap
The original idea of the KEEP Toolkit emerged when the KML developed the first generation of the Snapshot Tool for the CASTL scholars in the summer of 2002. We initially shared the tool with a small pilot group of scholars, and their response was immediate. Within a week, a number of CASTL scholars were able to create compelling "snapshot" portfolios that gave their colleagues access to the instruments, data, and teaching materials that were part of their investigations. Beyond making it possible for these scholars to take advantage of technology and the Internet to share their work, the Snapshot Tool also required scholars to reflect on their work and to articulate more clearly and powerfully what they and others could learn from it.
In addition, the scholars identified a number of new uses for these tools including using them in their own classes as a means for instruction and assessment and with colleagues as a vehicle for collaborative reflection and investigation. This led us to expect that the enormous interest shown in the tool would provide an opportunity to find many faculty and institutions willing to try these tools in a variety of contexts and to provide the feedback necessary to support their further development.
Through this website (originally launched in March 2004), we hope to continue providing the opportunity to explore the possibilities of the KEEP Toolkit and learning how others have spearheaded local initiatives to advance their work taking advantage of the Toolkit.
The next version of the KEEP Toolkit (which we plan to release in the Winter of 2005-2006), will include improved multimedia support, an enhanced gallery tool, and other new tools/functions. We are also working to make the future versions of the toolkit more portable and interoperable so that it can be easily implemented locally by many institutions and organizations.
The KEEP Toolkit is an open-source technology and we are interested in actively partnering with other institutions and groups of committed educators and developers that share common interest in using, evaluating, expanding and disseminating these tools at many levels.
Partnership for Strategic Development and Dissemination
We are actively partnering with other initiatives and institutions that help us explore how best we can disseminate, evaluate and further develop our tools and resources at many levels.
For example, we have joined the Sakai Project, a national initiative to develop of a growing set of non-proprietary, open source learning and teaching tools that can be easily integrated into a wide range of educational enterprise systems, through its Educational Partners Program. This kind of partnership enables us to make our Toolkit widely accessible as well as explore its synergy with other educational tools. For more information about our current partnerships and collaborations, please see the Partnerships page.