Stanford, CA, March 2004 - The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Knowledge Media Lab (KML) has developed a new tool to help educators document and share their work and knowledge online. The Web-based KEEP (Knowledge, Exchange, Exhibition and Presentation) Toolkit provides educators and students a means to easily organize and display their work online in ways that can be shared with others taking advantage of the Internet and multimedia.
"Our goal in making the KEEP Toolkit available is to help educators and students effectively share their experience and ideas so that they can build collective knowledge to advance their teaching and learning," said Toru Iiyoshi, Carnegie Senior Scholar and Director of KML. "In the past five years, we have been working closely with over two hundred educators both in K-12 and higher education to investigate how emerging technologies and new media can best support them in pedagogical knowledge sharing and building. The KEEP Toolkit is one of the major outcomes from our research and development efforts and we hope that it will enable more and more educators and students at various institutions to do this work efficiently and meaningfully."
He explains that much of what teachers put online as "electronic portfolios" resembles a binder full of work without the needed content and reflection that would reveal to others how work was accomplished and what was substantial learning from educators' and students' points of view. The KEEP Toolkit leads the educator through the selection process and provides space for the teacher to reflect on each artifact or piece of information, taking advantage of flexibly designed templates, in order to reveal what was learned from that occasion or slice of work.
The toolkit can be used in a variety of education settings. K-12 teachers, for instance, who generally don't have the luxury of technical support in the schools nor access to advanced tools, can use it to easily share the teaching and learning documented in their classrooms. In addition, it can be used by teacher educators and teacher education students to demonstrate progress in the classroom by sharing information beyond what they can share through traditional teaching and learning portfolios. The KEEP Toolkit has also been used by faculty members to organize materials for peer review, to provide evidence for grant reporting, or to integrate materials for tenure and promotion reviews, and by students to create portfolios of their work.
Carnegie began working with educators to help them make their work more available for review and use by their peers through the KML as early as 1998 when college and university faculty members from across the United States who were selected as scholars in the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) posted research projects on teaching that included teaching portfolios, course syllabi, examples of student work, and reflections on the process on a private workspace, allowing collaboration and knowledge sharing among participants.
"Since universities and colleges are all by definition, centers for scholarship, a substantial portion of the scholarly energy of every institution of higher education should be directed to the study, understanding, and enhancing of the teaching and learning that occurs both inside and outside its walls," said Carnegie President Lee S. Shulman. "K-12 teachers, too, have an opportunity to change their culture by using these new genres and formats that foster the advancement of individual and collective knowledge of teaching and learning."
Shulman said that through the Foundation's work in the KML and this new KEEP Toolkit, they are helping faculty members use the instruments of research and scholarship for the study and improvement of teaching by making it possible for them to make their work public, accountable and exchanged "so that their efforts can rest on scholarship and not just on anecdote."
The KEEP Toolkit is available free of cost at: cfkeep.org. The Web site also includes a tour of the toolkit as well as use case examples.
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission "to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education." The improvement of teaching and learning is central to all of the work of the Foundation. The Foundation is located in Stanford, Calif.