Tech Books
Digital textbooks make learning social and interactive
Tech / 29 Aug 2011
These days, a composition notebook and a number two pencil simply don’t make the grade. Virtual learning, complete with online curricula and digital textbooks, is emerging as the future of education. New digital textbook services are changing the way that plugged-in students learn, making education more interactive, social, and fun—without breaking the bank.
Kno:
Touting an impressive 100,000 books in its digital stacks, this education software company allows students to buy textbooks not only as iPad apps, but also purchase them to read on the Web or on Facebook. Kno goes beyond the capabilities of traditional e-books to make learning more interactive. Standout features include the “Quiz Me” button, which turns images into pop quizzes; the “Journal,” a repository for users’ highlights, notes, audio notes and photos; and video tutorials via Smart Links (recently made available in 3-D). Facebook integration will eventually facilitate study groups, meaning that time spent on the social network could actually qualify as learning.
Inkling
: The founders of this educational iPad app don’t just want to save trees, they want to change the way people learn. While Inkling users can find the same material that’s in traditional textbooks, the app combines 3-D imagery, audio, and video to make studying more engaging. Most notable, however, is how Inkling makes full use of the iPad’s social capabilities, allowing users to connect with their social networks to turn solo study sessions into study groups while seamlessly connecting to the Web for research. Interactive notes from professors and other experts can be placed in textbooks’ sidebars, giving a digital makeover to educators’ notorious red pen marks.
Kindle Textbook Rental
: Amazon is well known as a cost-efficient resource for buying and selling textbooks, but now consumers are becoming less interested in owning them at all, whether they’re digital or old-school hard copy editions. So the online retail giant launched Kindle Textbook Rental this summer, offering electronic textbooks for up to 80% off. Students choose the term of their rental—from 30 to 360 days—and pay accordingly. Books can be read on any device that supports the Kindle reading app. Students’ notes and highlighted content remains accessible via the Amazon Cloud even after books are returned, so there’s no fear of racking up late charges while studying for a big test.
©The Intelligence Group