Like the e-book revolution before it, the digital textbook revolution is well underway and promises to be big, but with a few caveats. It isn’t enough to simply make another flat, boring PDF. Students want more than just a lightweight solution; they want interactivity and learning tools, which is what digital textbook platform Kno is now offering. The company announced Wednesday that it’s now making over 100,000 digital textbooks available on Facebook and the Web, and it’s launching some new interactive features to boot.
As of 5 pm PT, students will be able to access digital textbooks through Kno’s Facebook page, which will allow them to study in groups by posting text from their books directly in their news feed, or alone, if they’d like to use their three hours of Facebook time productively (but who does that?). Students can purchase their books through the Kno website and then download the Kno Facebook app, which will allow them to access their books and their course manager.
Students can also access digital textbooks on the Web through Kno’s website, which is good news for those who don’t have an iPad. Now students with an Android tablet or just a good old fashioned laptop can get Kno books, too.
Additionally, Kno is pushing out some interesting new features that allow students to interact with the text (beyond highlighting and zooming in on pictures). The new Quiz Me feature allows students to test their understanding of a concept by turning any diagram into a multiple choice quiz. With a tap of a button, the feature instantly blocks out all text and presents a series of multiple choice questions.
Another new feature that Kno is offering is the Journal, which allows students to automatically transfer notes, highlights, images, text, and media from their books into a digital notebook (just like the old school notebooks you used to carry around, but without all that handwriting nonsense).
“There is no competition on the market that comes close to what Kno offers, considering we have over 100,000 discounted eTextbooks and more than 60 interactive features that instantly simplify learning for students,” said Kno co-founder and CTO Babur Habib. “And were not stopping there…we’re constantly adding new features that make a traditional textbook look like nothing but an oversized paper weight.”
Thems fightin’ words, considering the fact that Inkling has been in the digital textbook market for some time now and has charged Kno with attempting to sell glorified PDFs as legitimate digital textbooks. Inkling has staked its brand image on its interactive features, which go beyond basic reading and text-memorization to actual learning enhancement through tools that allow for self-assessment and sharing, among others.
So to get a little competitive edge going, Kno is launching a new promotion. The company is giving away $1 million worth of digital textbooks in a new Facebook game that lets students play for Facebook credits, which can be redeemed for real purchasing value. Students can play by visiting Kno’s Facebook page, where they can spin the “Wheel of Knowledge.” Each player gets ten spins to start, and each spin will earn them Facebook credits that translate to a dollar amount. Individual students can earn up to $50 by playing the game, which they can redeem at the Kno store for digital textbooks. The promotion ends September 30, 2011.
Check out the new features below.