|Target Users||Secondary schools (teachers, students)|
|Nature of the initiative||Public|
|Contact||Mieke Van Der Heyden
Knooppunt is a unique secure distribution system of licensed educational content. On Knooppunt, pupils/students and teachers/instructors gain easy access to all the digital material that accompanies their course books. Users can register on Knooppunt for free, but to add material to their account, they need activation codes. These codes are distributed by the educational publishers via their paper books, e-mail, or schools/teachers. The content that can be activated and accessed on Knooppunt varies from digital exercises to interactive textbooks, addenda, method sites and monitoring systems. In addition to the online platform, users can also download the ‘Knooppunt Kiosk,’ an app that offers extra features for certain materials (mostly e-books), like e.g. offline usage. Knooppunt is not only used in Flanders, but also in Wallonia. Here, the platform is called Digiportail.
Why Knooppunt? The answer to this question is “simplicity”: a single distribution platform with central organization. Users only need one account to access content of multiple competitive educational publishers. One helpdesk offers support for the users of both websites (www.knooppunt.net & www.digiportail.be), and of all of the apps (native apps, webapps and desktop apps).
Knooppunt is managed by Knooppunt vzw. This non-profit organization consists of five of the leading educational publishers in Flanders (Van In, Plantyn, Averbode, Die Keure, Pelckmans) and a publisher-independent project leader. Knooppunt vzw only represents the communal platform, not the content activated on the platform. This content remains the responsibility of the publishers. This way, Knooppunt remains publisher neutral, and does not advertise or favour certain materials or publishers.
Early on, educational publishers in Flanders understood the importance of digital publishing. To avoid a proliferation of different platforms, workflows and ways of distribution, 2 of the 5 current participating publishers took the lead in 2009 and set up a platform for secondary schools so as to enable them to share their digital content in a secure and user-friendly way, with the added advantage of being able to share the expenses. The project was soon taken over by the collective group of Educational and Scientific publishers, a subdivision of the Flemish Publishers Association (VUV).
To make this platform a cost-efficient, state of the art educational platform, new technological investments have been made. A brand-new platform will be launched in September 2015. Knooppunt constantly tries to innovate, keeping in mind the various degrees of digital knowledge and available infrastructure of its target audience. The portal will also gradually be expanded to other educational levels (e.g. higher education) where similar needs can be identified.
Knooppunt has grown into a central platform that houses over 4.250 digital learning tools provided by five of the leading educational publishers in Flanders (Van In, Plantyn, Averbode, Die Keure, & Pelckmans). Via one account teachers and pupils can activate their digital material with the codes they received from the publishers of their course books.
Knooppunt itself is paid for by the educational publishers and free of cost for its users. Because they share their technology, publishers can focus solely on content, which adds to the quality of their digital publications. As the platform is managed by an umbrella organization, Knooppunt can offer its users a unique service, namely a publisher-independent centralized helpdesk.
In addition to the online platform, users can also download the Knooppunt Kiosk app free of cost. This app complements the Knooppunt website, in that it offers extra features for material that is compatible with the app. These features include offline usage of digital books, adding personal notes & accessing content on tablets/iPads.
Knooppunt also offers security to the educational publishers that use the platform, in that they can distribute their digital material easily, but at the same time keep control over their licensed content and their budgets.
The role of technology
The materials that can be activated on Knooppunt are not just digital versions of paper books, but enriched learning tools with sound fragments, videos and exercises, in which students can add their own notes & test their knowledge. Teachers can monitor the activity of their students and share solutions, prepare lectures and project books in class.
Knooppunt strives to cater to all of its users: you don’t need specific software to use the platform or its content. The publishers make an effort to ensure their digital publications are compatible with as many devices, operating systems and browsers as possible.
95% of all educational material from our publishers is also available in digital form. Knooppunt.net is 100% digital.
The platform currently houses more than 300.000 active users, about 650.000 active licenses and over 4.250 available products. Knooppunt has become a well-known concept within the Flemish secondary school system, and its fame is still growing.
Benefits for the users:
- They only need one account (one username and one password) to access the digital content of multiple competitive educational publishers
- Extra study tools to achieve an optimal learning effect
- Diverse, qualitative and enriched content
- Content available for any type of device & operating system
- Platform free of cost
- For questions they can contact one central helpdesk
Benefits for the publishers:
- Secure distribution system of licensed content
- Shared knowledge and software
- Shared costs
- Great service to offer to their customers