For March’s ‘Meet the Kognite’ we sat down with our Head of Content Harriet, to chat with her about how she got into publishing, what we have to expect from the Kognity Content team in the future and what her average day as Head of Content looks like!
Where are you from originally?
I’m from the South Coast of the UK.
What did you study at university and why?
I went to Exeter University and studied a BA in English Literature, then stayed on a year to do a Masters in Criticism and Theory, while working at a small publishers. I loved reading, writing and discussing ideas, so it seemed like the right choice for me.
What was your first job and what has been your worst job?
My first job was a paper-round! My first proper job was working as an editorial assistant for Routledge, an academic publisher based in Oxfordshire, UK. My worst job was working in an apple packing factory in New Zealand – the only positive was that the smell of the apples was pleasant.
How did you get into publishing?
I’d done some work experience, worked part-time at a publishers during university and liked the creative, thoughtful and committed people the industry attracted, the feeling of developing a meaningful “product” and of helping to disseminate knowledge. I also liked the fact you could wear jeans to work without judgement!
Why did you decide to make the move to Kognity?
I was ready for a change and wanted to have an impact, to feel part of something meaningful and put ideas into practice. I was already working in the international schools space and I’d met Hugo at IB regional conferences a number of times over the last 2 years. I had watched Kognity (as a competitor!) grow at a rapid pace, so I was excited to join an energetic start-up in a new exciting city.
What do you like the most about your current role?
The team at Kognity is my favourite part! I also like having the opportunity to take ideas and run with them and the ability to affect change – both on our content and processes, but also by hopefully having an impact on how students learn around the world.
What is it about digital textbooks that enticed you to leave publishing printed textbooks?
I worked in educational software publishing for several years before coming to Kognity and enjoyed that dynamic environment and the exciting products we developed to engage students. From there, I moved to Pearson developing printed textbooks and enhanced ebooks for international schools. Moving to Kognity enabled me to combine my experience of developing high quality textbooks with working with new technology and powerful data, which opens up a lot of exciting opportunities! Working outside of publishing, I can work to create great teaching and learning resources that solve problems and support users, without being bound by tradition.
What do you envisage for the future of Kognity content?
The future of Kognity content is very exciting – we will keep on improving and developing our content to help better support IB DP learners, plus adding in extra support, new subjects, curriculum updates and increased interactivity. We are also exploring supporting other curricula, so I think we’re at the beginning of something exciting.
What does your average day look like as Head of Content?
Every day is different and it’s a varied and dynamic role, which is why I love what I do. Communication and support is an important part of my role – it could be anything from a Skype meeting with an exam board or an author, reviewing platform data to learn more from our users, developing a new content proposal, or a workshop to solve a particular issue.
What have been the best and worst thing about moving to Stockholm?
I think the best thing about moving to Stockholm is the unbelievable natural beauty – the close proximity to nature and water. The hardest thing is probably the lack of daylight in the winter months!
Thank you Harriet! If you have any questions for Harriet let us know in the comments below and make sure to read the feature next month when we introduce another Kognite.
Author: Abigail Bryant
Abi is Head of Support at Kognity, where she works closely with teachers and students getting them set up and ensuring their experience with Kognity is a great one. Previously she worked as an English teacher working with International Schools in South East Asia.