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Digital Textbooks for IB Schools: The Bigger Picture

Posted by Abigail Bryant on August 22, 2016

The Debate

The digitalisation of education is inevitable and well underway, especially in the cutting-edge IB community. The administrative side of things has been growing increasingly digital for a while now, but some more central areas are still resistant to change. The textbook represents the final frontier. The reason for this is that it plays such a central part in education. Learning revolves around it, and so education traditionalists are reluctant to allow this rock of gibraltar to change with the times.

The discussion has become one of digital textbooks and printed textbooks. While this antagonistic distinction is practical and immensely useful, there is something inherently misleading about the term ‘digital textbook’ unless we unpack it first. We need to continuously acknowledge what the concept ‘digital textbook’ entails. This is necessary if all parties involved in the debate, especially traditionalist opponents to digitalisation, are to understand the true potential of these products.

Concept: Digital Textbook

While the digital textbook is a product, a more accurate representation can be reached by thinking of it in terms of a subscription. This subscription includes 24/7 support, product on-boarding, and training sessions for both students and teachers. This is simply not the case in the world of printed textbooks. At Kognity, a substantial part of business is dedicated to Customer Success – ensuring that our users get the absolute most out of being our users. This shows that the digital textbook isn’t a static product, but a continuous process.

Essentially, it’s a give and take. Our users use the product and its related services. By doing this, they are automatically gathering data about the effectiveness of our product and the way they apply it. Periodically, they’ll have the opportunity to offer feedback through a survey or interview. This information allows Kognity to draw conclusions on what is working and what isn’t, so we can swiftly and steadily improve our product and services.

Thanks to this constant optimisation and updating, the value of a digital textbook increases with time, while that of a printed textbook decreases. It would be an oversimplification to say that Kognity tells schools to buy a digital textbook that’s better than the standard printed textbooks. It would be more accurate to say that Kognity invites schools to join a movement.

The Movement

The nature of this movement is well illustrated by the Kognity Conference, an event to which Kognity invites all existing users. High-profile speakers talk about innovative ways of using Kognity in the ever-changing world of education, and interactive workshops allow members of the Kognity movement to exchange ideas and motivate one another to excel as educators.

The Kognity movement is growing at an astonishing pace, now spanning across six continents and more than 50 countries. The ulterior aim of this movement is to revolutionise education by improving on the standard textbook, that most central and fundamental of learning tools. The more of us there are pushing in the same direction, the better off everyone involved will be. For every new user, the overall value increases because the process of product improvement gets better. Each school is different, and will always contribute in its own unique way. Every single teacher, administrator and student has a bespoke approach and will contribute to new solutions to educational problems.

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.

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