A business associate of mine recently moved to an interesting new startup in Silicon Valley called Inkling. The more I learn about this iPad application the more I like it – and like Adam Lashinsky’s fine March 23rd article in Fortune Magazine http://bit.ly/gG3Yhb – it makes me wish I could go back to college and use ridiculously cool tools like this to help me better appreciate things and learn more.
From Mr. Lashinky’s article: “Inkling, a San Francisco startup, recently added textbook giants McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Pearson (PSO) to its roster of investors, which includes Sequoia Capital as well as Felicis Ventures, Kapor Capital and Sherpalo Ventures.”
As a parent having one current college student already and another to enroll this fall, I am particularly sensitive to the cost of college textbooks. They were expensive when I went to college and are even more so now. Having college textbooks on an iPad (or any kind of tablet for that matter) makes all the sense in the world. Think about the many advantages of having all your college textbooks on a tablet. In fact I expect that high schools will follow suit shortly and have all of their textbooks available for tablet download –this is happening already in some places but is far from being adopted in any significant manner.
1) Less weight to haul around campus. Not only for college kids but how about that 94 lb. high school freshman whose back is being thrown out of alignment due to hauling around an Earth Science textbook, Algebra, English, Social Studies…you get the idea. Medical school students should particularly cheer the Inkling iPad application as they have to feel carrying around bricks disguised as books is way beyond getting old.
2) It’s greener by far ¬– And I will bet that you have a few old school textbooks lying around somewhere in your house or apartment – I know I have at least one that I’ve not opened since graduating and it will eventually be thrown out.
3) Web links don’t work using conventionally printed textbooks – need I say more?
4) Student’s natural curiosity can be more fully explored using a tablet – if you are using a conventionally printed textbook and want to investigate something more deeply you either have to pick up another book or volume (unlikely to say the least) or go to the web. With a tablet you are already on the web.
5) You can pay for what you need – the current model allows students to purchase chapters for $3. I suspect that model is still being tested but the ability to buy incrementally is a good idea by spreading out the cost of purchasing a textbook over a longer period of time. And we all know there are many teachers that don’t always instruct from every chapter in a textbook.
Right now Inkling is only available as an app for the iPad since the company was started by CEO Matt MacInnis who worked at Apple before founding Inkling. I expect an Android app is in the works and when RIM releases its PlayBook tablet in April one would be developed for that as well in time.
Here’s a link to a CNN Money video on the Inkling Application featuring Mr. MacInnis from last year – http://bit.ly/bcA192.
It is often joked that education is wasted on the young. Even if that’s not true I am really jealous and wish I could go back to college and have my iPad with this application in my backpack.