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The service is provided in close collaboration with EUN consortium members, its Steering Committee (represented by Ministries of Education) and the Policy and Innovation committee (represented by Ministries of Education, ICT in education agencies and inspectorates). Insight has also established international relationships and works on information exchange and common projects with the consortium of school networking CoSN in the U.S. and the education network EDNA in Australia.
The insight approach is based on a regular information exchange with key actors in the field, analysis of information and research results, compiling and valorising data from elearning projects, making use of peer learning approaches, and providing tools and services for policy makers and practitioners.
Structure and themes
Insight provides information, news and analysis in three core areas of eLearning: policy, school innovation and interoperability. In a fourth section, the thematic dossier, one elearning topic is analysed from different perspectives, and arises from input of European experts in the field. They meet regularly in the framework of EUN’s Policy and Innovation Committee and deal with topics such as “leadership”, “quality criteria” and “innovation”. Results of these discussions are published quarterly on the website as well as in print.
The Insight portal is also the main hub for highlighting key results and findings from EUN projects and other European projects in the area of elearning. It provides in depth knowledge on peer learning methodologies, the use of games and eportfolios in education and shows how schools make efficient use of emerging technologies.
Country reports on ICT in education
At the core of the portal are country reports on ICT in education. These are updated annually with Ministries of Education in 28 countries according to a common framework provided by EUN. They are in-depth descriptions of national developments in six core areas of eLearning: Trends in Education and ICT, ICT Policy, ICT Practice, Content and Services, Teacher Education for ICT and Infrastructure.
The reports are provided in a detailed and summary version, stored in a KMS, and are searchable by topics of interest. According to their information needs users can look at one specific country or investigate one topic horizontally across countries of interest. An evaluation of the reports shows that they are used by Ministries of Education for a variety of purposes mainly to investigate a specific issue or topic, internal briefings and sharing with colleagues and the preparation of visits to another country. The information in the country reports is analysed and fed into a yearly trend and issue paper provided to Ministries of Education and other stakeholders.
The ‘Policy’ section gives updates on national, regional and EU policy in the field of ICT in education. It contains ‘policy briefs’ drafted by the Insight team on specific issues and two sections on ‘Peer-to Peer’ and “Network sharing’. They endeavour to describe how policy-makers and inspectors meet, exchange and learn from each other in Europe.
Insight provides a framework of gathering intelligence of elearning practices in schools. The Insight school gallery is a main part of the ‘best practice section” and offers a framework for schools active in European elearning projects and often at the forefront deploying new technologies to showcase their school and experience using ICT. Currently there are 140 schools showcased. Another major part of this section are the ERNIST school portraits describing innovation happening in 20 schools in Europe portrayed by six European inspectorates. The section ‘teaching models’ presents new ways of teaching with ICT. ePortfolios scenarios contains a database about different usage of e-portfolios in education.
Issues related to interoperability, standards and harmonisation of eLearning services, both systems and content are featured in this section. This section regularly features ‘Monthly insight to interoperability’ in which international experts are questioned on the current issues in the field.
The section also reports on EUN actions on interoperability dealing with eLearning content and related services, as well as on the LIFE (Learning Interoperability Framework for Europe) and the EUN Learning Resource Exchange (LRE).
Reports and Surveys
Insight publishes regularly a number of elearning surveys, trend and issue papers, thematic reports and studies. In the Insight library several key reports, studies, research papers are regularly added. The report can be searched using a comprehensive interface, the latest report uploaded on the Insight portal also feature in the Insight Newsletter (see below)]
Additional services in Insight include a quarterly newsletter with the latest articles published on the portal in the three sections: Policy, Interoperability and School Innovation, additionally key articles from the latest thematic dossier published on insight can also be read in the newsletter with links to the full version of the articles and the thematic dossier.
An estimated 2,000 readers receive the newsletter either through individual subscriptions of through listservs set up by European Schoolnet. The main audience of the newsletter are policy-makers, teachers and head teachers and organisation dealing with issues linked to the use of ICT in teaching and learning.
myInsight is another service developed in 2006 to allow Insight users to connect to people with the same interest, it is a social networking tool community/partner-finding tool which also allows to read and select RSS feeds (provided by third software ‘furl) of the various sections of the Insight portal so that users can ‘create’ their own Insight homepage, focusing on stories that are of interest to them. Other RSS feeds include selected links by insight editors and ICT in education experts as well as stories from the Insight Blog and the Insight library of resources.
Other new items include a calendar, shared with other members of the myInsight to inform about upcoming events, project meetings and key conferences and workshops in the area of eLearning. Additional services and networking tools are added to the application regularly.