As I continue to look for alternatives to the heavy and expensive textbooks for our students, one company Kno, is rising to the top. I like their business model, (they have one) and the response time from their employees is swift. I have observed the company mature for a few years as they only continue to get better. In my opinion, they have now overtaken everyone but Amazon’s Kindle as the supplier of textbooks that are dynamic, affordable and easy to deploy if you work with them. I know that iBooks are wonderful, but they are device specific which is a real drawback as I want students to have access to textbooks no matter where they and there iPad happen to be located. Learning no longer happens only during class and with the textbook so access to the digital textbook at the point of learning is what is needed.
I am not sold on having novels and reading books as only a digital option as there is something nice and non-distracting about curling up with a book and reading. My iPad provides too many opportunities to take away from the reading even though I try to read. I know I could do the same with a paper book by putting it down and picking up my iPad, but that effort is just enough to prevent me. Besides, novels are not nearly as large as some of the textbooks.
I have the expectation that the books our students need will be setup with accounts they create for us. In addition, they will bill us so we can bill the parents. Cost is huge in that a Kno version of our current English textbook is $9.99 versions compared to $110.00 for a paper version. Besides the cost factor, there is much more interactivity and learning objects which will allow for deeper learning. I am hopeful that next year the backpacks of some of our students will be less as we begin to shift some of the mass from hard cover paper books to downloaded textbooks.
The movie below gives a nice overview of what the company is doing. I could have done without the whole Valley Girl stuff, but it does make the video available.