“Maybe the iPad will move digital college textbooks out of theory and into practice,” Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Although electronic book sales have exploded, digital college textbooks have been slow to get off the ground, in part because of high prices and hardware concerns. Now, a former Apple Inc. employee, Matt Mac Innis, is trying to shake up the market with a new approach that taps into the iPad’s strengths.”
Textbooks are going to change rapidly and if the major publishers do not get on top of the wave quickly, it will crash over them. Putting multimedia content on an iPad is so obvious that someone will figure out how to do it right.
Perhaps Inkling has. Because if you watch the video at their site you find out something the WSJ article missed that will make Inkling a big deal.
About halfway through, they show a student bringing up a note on a page and asking a question. Then all their friends also using the textbook see a little thumbnail of him on the same page he put his question. They can then tap and see what his question is and answer it.
Study groups in the cloud!! No longer to you have to be in the same room at the same time with others in the class for a recitation session or to ask others questions about areas you do not understand. Now, asking questions can just happen and relevant people from your social network can help you answer it.
Turning your notebook into a social tool is a great idea and could change how learning is done at a University. If this plays out, schools will be giving iPads to their students already preloaded with important stuff linking them to incipient social networks for any entering Freshman – bookstore, library, etc. Textbooks can be purchased and downloaded to the iPad without having to stand in ine at the boostore.