Sequoia backs digital textbook Inkling

Faith Merino · August 20, 2010 · Short URL:

Inkling announces the launch of its digital textbook platform

This is not your parent's textbook.

Inkling announced Friday the launch of its digital textbook platform and a Series A found of funding from blue-chip venture capitalists, Sequoia Capital, Kapor Capital, Sherpalo Ventures, and Felicis Ventures. The San Francisco-based startup received an earlier round of seed funds from Mitch Kapor of Kapor Capital and Ram Shriram of Sherpalo Ventures. 

Leveraging the success of the iPad, Inkling is available as an iPad app and provides a unique interactive learning experience for students. 

“Inkling uses multitouch interactivity to create engaging learning experiences,” Inkling founder and CEO Matt MacInnis, said in a press release. “Rather than replicating a book on a screen, Inkling puts 3-D objects, video, quizzes, and even social interaction right at a student's fingertips inside the textbook.”

This translates to students’ and teachers’ ability to take learning beyond the classroom into a virtual space of real-time social interaction and collaboration via their iPads. 

Students can share notes and comments from any location and can see notes from their peers and professors.  Additional Inkling features include an intuitive search engine that allows students to locate specific information in their textbooks, interactive media in every title, and assessments that allow students to measure their understanding.

Inkling has already forged a number of promising partnerships with major textbook publishers, such as Cengage Learning, John Wiley & Sons, Wolters Kluwer, and McGraw-Hill. And, it is launching several pilot programs at Seton Hill University, the University of Alabama, Abilene Christian University, and with the Virginia Department of Education.

How education is getting digital

In recent years, colleges and universities have been quick to capitalize on interactive technology that supports student-professor connectedness outside of the classroom, from BlackBoard to BookGlutton.  Like Inkling, BookGlutton, an online bookstore and discussion forum, allows students and professors to collaborate on notes and discuss books as they read them, but reading material is limited to books that the Web site chooses to upload, and the books themselves are not interactive. 

In other attempts to promote learning beyond the classroom, Georgia Gwinnett College recently announced its plan to provide fully paid-for Smart Phones to all of its professors so that professors can stay in touch with students and respond to inquiries in no more than 24 hours.  

Inkling will not only allow students to discuss assigned texts with their professors, it will also allow professors to gauge their students’ understanding of the material, how they are learning, and where they need help.

Inkling is a free iPad app and boasts an ever-expanding list of titles in the disciplines of marketing, psychology, biology, and economics from McGraw-Hill, with prices starting at $2.99 per chapter and $69.99 per book.

With increasing emphasis placed on interactive learning, Inkling’s future looks promising.

Inkling wasn't immediately available to comment.

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