KitZu is a website idea created by Hall Davidson which contains “a collection of free, educational, copyright-friendly media resources.” According to the website:

A digital kit is meant to provide students with the building blocks necessary to build video and multimedia projects that tell a story and demonstrate learning. A kit can be made up of:
– Photos
– Illustrations
– Animations
– Video Clips
– Audio Clips
– Document[s]

Use the left sidebar search menu on the website to select grade level and content area. Since there are a pretty limited number of kits available, I recommend leaving the grade set to “all” and just choosing a content area. When you view the webpage description for a kit, you can see what media elements are included and how many of each.

Kits download as zip files. Most of the images in the kit I sampled came from pics4learning.com. Now that Flickr has a creative commons search, copyright-friendly images could certainly be gathered there as well almost as easily. The asset information included in the PDF file could certainly help students in creating their references pages for projects. Thanks to David Warlick for referencing KitZu in his post about MacWorld and the K12 Market Symposium.

Multimedia kits like those on KitZu obviously have appeal for teachers short on time (and who isn’t these days, besides homeschoolers perhaps) but I have a rather significant criticism. It probably shouldn’t, but it often amazes me how entrenched the ideal of a transmission-based curriculum is for most adults. Somehow, we have become most comfortable with the idea that the best student assignments are the ones that come back for grading looking fairly uniform, predictable, and consistent.

From the perspective of constructivist pedagogy, the main criticism I would offer of multimedia kits is that they could limit students’ creativity and authentic learning. Certainly these kits could just be used as STARTING POINTS for multimedia projects, rather than “all the resources” students should use or are expected to use. As with most other things educationally related, it all comes down to how the teacher chooses to use the material and how students work with it in the classroom or at home.

I recommend that teachers using multimedia kits include project rubric elements which encourage creativity and challenge students to go beyond the resources included in the kit. Of course when students are searching the web, it is easy to waste time and be off task, so I do see the benefits and value of these kits. I want to make the point, however, that multimedia student projects should encourage creativity and innovation. A multimedia project done in the school computer lab should be far more than a exercise in “filling in someone else’s blanks” on a digital worksheet, to quote one of my favorite EduTopia video clips about Urban Academy in New York City.

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2 Responses to Multimedia project kits

  1. Digital Kits and Collections

    I was quite excited to find KitZu a few days back [via Dave Warlick. ] The brainchild of Hall Davidson, Kitzu provides digital kits for education which can include images, video, audio and (I assume) text—all in a convenient zipped format compl…

  2. […] So now imagine you’re a teacher wanting to quickly put together a bunch of relevant photos for students working on a project. Sure the students could search all by themselves (it’s good learning experience) but it could well be an exercise in frustration. (What’s better, a frustrated teacher or student? Hopefully neither.) Wesley worries about providing cookie cutter resources that will result in all student projects looking the same and I agree that’s a risk, but 30 students individually wasting 3-4 hours each looking for two useable, openly licensed photos of Paris (let alone something really arcane like a portrait of Marie Antoinette and the Bastille) is equally wasteful (especially with all this open content around.) […]

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