Our educational platform updated: what happened first

28 May 2020

More than 67,000 users have found their way to The Archive for Education since the platform was opened up to teachers and trainee teachers in Flanders in 2016. This is the place to find image content, selected by and for teachers, for use in the classroom – with almost 19,000 clips from 33 archives.

Four years later, and the platform is ready for a thorough update.

Students are now also being given access to the platform as innovative education focuses more and more on image culture, active teaching methods, self-directed and collaborative learning, digital skills and media literacy.

Doesn’t happen overnight

We’ve been continuing to investigate how we can serve education better ever since the platform was launched. In 2017, for example, we conducted an environmental and legal analysis for the platform. Teachers were given the opportunity to state their wishes and needs in several co-creation sessions. And other stakeholders in education as well as our content partners also had the chance to have their say. In 2018 we worked on the platform’s design and user-friendliness, with field testing also taking place that year to clarify what students needed to ensure easy access.

This process helped us clarify what our target audience in education and content partners wanted and needed. It’s important for teachers to have a more logical ordering of search filters, for instance, as well as the ability to share materials with students. We ourselves want to focus on improved platform performance and a more efficient management system.

With this in mind, a call for tenders was issued in 2019 as the first step on the way to updating the image database. The first user testing, when teachers were given the chance to try out the platform and provide feedback straight away, took place during the development stage.

What happens next

Teachers started beta testing the new image database in our workshops at the start of 2020, and we’ll be launching the new platform version at the beginning of the next academic year.

We quickly gave secondary school teachers the opportunity to request student access on the existing platform when the Covid-19 measures were put in place. These teachers will be able to collaborate in a structured way via the brand new student space on The Archive for Education from the next academic year onwards. Students will then have easy access in partnership with Smartschool, among others.

In order to ensure a smooth transition to the updated platform from the outset, we are focusing on supporting teachers, students and partners with regional training sessions, workshops on request, online webinars and a dedicated Archive for Education help centre – hopefully enabling us to bring images and audio into every classroom.