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IB curriculum | web-based learning resources

Clearwater Central Catholic High School

Meet Alan Hamacher, the IBDP and Curriculum Coordinator at Clearwater Central Catholic High School (CCC). Alan has over 30 years of teaching experience and is the past-president of the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS). Learn how Kognity helped CCC in their quest to transition from paper textbooks to digital! 

Transitioning from paper to digital

When CCC introduced a 1:1 device scheme, their teachers were struggling to find consistent web-based learning resources. In September 2015 they reached out to Kognity, wanting to make a full transition to digital from paper textbooks. When we first spoke to Alan he presented many challenges connected to the school’s goal – to transition from paper to digital textbooks. These were the top six challenges presented:

  • A need to update static, paper-based textbooks with more dynamic material
  • Lack of resources for continuous practice and formative assessment
  • Difficult to track qualitative data on students’ learning
  • Course structure sometimes being unclear
  • Teachers having a lack of time to personalise teaching
  • High quality, well presented material was tricky to find


Getting familiar with different use cases

“The International Baccalaureate (IB) is such a big factor in Florida. We decided to try to aim for a true digital resource and not  to have multiple texts or use it as a supplement. We told ourselves: ‘We are not going with something else if we don’t need it.

Part of the journey of going digital has involved getting familiar with the different ways teachers and students might make the most of a interactive textbooks. By embracing technology, CCC has been improving both students’ and teachers’ experiences in the classroom.

Alan noted how important it has been to give attention to what is most important: “While I see new buildings for our school being constructed and renovations being made to make sure our school is staying up-to-date on the outside, I also want to make sure updates are happening on the inside through our pedagogy. Kognity is a major part of that.”

“I want to make sure updates are happening on the inside through our pedagogy. Kognity is a major part of that.”

Understanding the course structure

When teachers at CCC first started teaching the IBDP, they struggled with understanding what the programme expected of them. That all changed when the school switched to Kognity. Teachers have found Kognity’s IB textbooks easy to use as they are broken up into digestible segments and they outline the connections between ideas. Teachers like how Kognity textbooks offer interactive material. It encourages students to engage with and connect to the curriculum.

When teachers at CCC think about preparing their students for May exams, they appreciate how convenient it has been to rely on a digital platform like Kognity. Their students have easy access to course material wherever they take their iPads. Plus, Kognity’s interactive textbooks allow for continuous formative assessment.

Alan continues:“The new teachers appreciate it even more because it has helped to structure their courses. They can see where it is going over two years. More experienced teachers feel it keeps them organized, is more hands-on, and easier to grasp than the subject guides.”

“With Kognity, it’s easier to understand what knowledge questions are and how to approach the TOK essay and presentation.”

“TOK has been a blessing and has had great relevance to the course. With Kognity, it’s easier to understand what knowledge questions are and how to approach the IB curriculum.”

Changing the approach to education

With Kognity, teachers at CCC have developed a clearer understanding of the courses they teach. They’ve gained more insight into the IB curriculum as a whole. Kognity provides an overview for teachers of what the IB curriculum is asking of them, and it offers more readily available guidance than the school’s previous paper-based curriculum guides.

Kognity quickly became their sole provider for IB Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Business Management. In September 2015, after founding Kognity, CCC made a full transition away from paper textbooks. Over the years, as Kognity developed a more expansive IB catalogue CCC has begun to teach more broadly across the IB curriculum using Kognity.

“There are no other books, there is just Kognity.

“Kognity really helps with making sure we’re not just checking off boxes and looking at just content. It changes the way the school approaches education and presents material to students. It isn’t simply rote memorization, either. That’s not what the IB is or how they evaluate a student’s progress.”