Do You All Know Curriki, the website for sharing open source curricula? www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/
I get their enewsletter to keep an eye on an area that interests me at a distance. In the latest issue I read about kitzu.org/. Kitzu offers students and teachers pre-assembled "kits" on a wide variety of topics, from dance, to maps, to history. Each packet contains materials students can then use to create their own multimedia projects — that is images, sometimes video or animation, sound, and or documents.
I have been working with schools in Western NY, Illinois, Massachusetts, and California on a similar idea — student-created history projects that take the form of digital presentations. One inspiration for the idea was this digital presentation created by students in Springfield over a summer: viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php
This slide show is about the 1908 white against black race riot which took place in the city so generally associated with Lincoln. The students, who had time and funding, did a terrific job. But as the Kitzu site shows, creating multimedia presentations can and should be a normal part of regular classes with normal resources.
And that, friends, is where I think we who create books — authors, editors, designers, artists — come in. A non-fiction books for K-12 is a form of multimedia — we have to weave text and art in every book we make. So I think we need to help kids, and learn from kids. They are creating multimedia nonfiction and we can learn from their skills and their interests. We are creating multimeida nonfiction and they can learn from our training and knowledge.
Imagine if school had an author/researcher in residence who did his/her work while also helping kids with theirs. Imagine if this were going on all across the country and students and school systems shared their best projets. Imagine if for every beat along the way of the school year we had high quality student-created materials? If we can imagine it, lets do it.