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Cognite, from Follett Software Co.

By Victor Rivero - Posted Sep 1, 2010
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Overall Rating:5 Stars
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A


Company: Follett Software Co., 1391 Corporate Drive, McHenry, IL 60050. Phone: (800) 323-3397; internet:

Price: Contact Follett Software Co. for individual pricing.

Audience: K–12 teachers, students, parents, and principals.

Format: Web-based digital learning environment.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with internet access and school or district installation of Destiny Library Manager and subscriptions to WebPath Express and Standards from Follett Software Co.

Description: Cognite is a digital learning environment that integrates discovery and organization tools, collaboration, and communication.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Cognite is accessed with a username and password. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Some platforms are so intuitive they need little instruction. Just click and go. You’ll figure it out. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and now, specifically for education, there’s Cognite.

That is to say, before Facebook, there were email, coffee table photo albums, annual family holiday newsletters, mailed party invitations, and ... really, how did we do it?

These sorts of technologies so fill a need, it’s hard to even remember how it went premicrowave, precell phones … precar . The platform, the service, the ease of use simply rises up to meet your needs while memories of how it used to be just fall away.

For example, in the old days, parents required interrogation skills to keep abreast of student progress: “What’d you do in school today, Johnny?”

(Slight pause. Blank look on Johnny’s face.)


“Alright. How ’bout you sit down in the chair, under that light. Sit up straight with your hands on the table where I can see them, and let’s try that again.”

Or at school, a caring teacher might have been better off with training as a forensic scientist:

“Where’s your homework, Johnny?”

(Slight pause. Sad look on Johnny’s face.)

“Dog ate it.”

“Alright. Bring your dog in. We’re going to swab his cheeks for traces of graphite and paper.”

I mean, really. What did we do? The sad fact remains: not much. We did what we could with the technology we had. But oh, how things change.

Designed to transform the way teachers teach and students learn, Cognite encourages the development of 21st-century literacy skills, such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and research abilities by giving students a space to share ideas and develop solutions.

Cognite provides greater access to resources, allowing teachers to create a more engaging digital learning environment. It further helps organize the K–12 classroom by giving teachers the opportunity to spend more time with their students, and it serves as a liaison in helping teachers collaborate, develop, and disseminate lesson plans, organize materials, create assignments, grade projects, and communicate with parents and students from anywhere at any time.

Students are engaged inside and outside of class as Cognite gives them 24/7 access to resources, both in class and at home. Plus, students can use Cognite to reach out to teachers and seamlessly work with classmates on group projects without having to be under the same roof.

Cognite gives students a secure way to seek knowledge online and encourages smart research with a searchable collection of more than 60,000 educator-approved websites. Moreover, it provides an easy way to implement active learning through discussion and idea sharing.

Parents have an easy-to-access place where they can be informed and stay involved about their child’s progress with information on assignments, grades, and class activities. They’re not asking Johnny what he did in school anymore. They already know before he even gets home. Cognite allows for access to digital resources to assist with assignments at home as necessary too, so Johnny can get creative about the content of his homework—not the way in which he “lost” it.

Cognite enables district administrators to maximize their educational resources as teachers, students, and parents alike gain access to district-owned, school-owned, and teacher-created materials.

Districts that use existing Follett Software products—Destiny Library Manager, Destiny Quest, and WebPath Express and Standards—will find their investments are maximized and expanded to classroom use with Cognite. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Cognite’s collaborative learning environment provides any user with an intuitive interface that requires no hand holding. What’s especially cool (and familiar to any Mac users) is its drag-and-drop capability. The search function, calendar/scheduling features, and other functionality will feel familiar to teachers, students, and parents. Memorable icons make it a navigational no-brainer. The fail-safe file system keeps teachers more organized than they might have hoped for on their own. Ease in implementation helps students, teachers, and parents get going on what they’re truly interested in while the Cognite platform, you could say, quickly fades into the background. And that certainly beats the what-did-you-do-in-school-today-oh-nothing approach; it beats those bygone dog-ate-my-homework days of yore. And it certainly beats … well, quite honestly, with even a small amount of time spent with this intuitive toolset, it’s actually difficult to remember how it used to be pre-Cognite. An 8-minute demo is available at Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: A Cognite help line is available by calling (800) 323-3397. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: I highly recommend that schools desiring to engage and develop the 21st-century learner and digitally enhance the classroom give serious consideration to Cognite. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Victor Rivero , contributing editor,


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