Student debt remains one of the pressing issues in higher education today, and the cost of textbooks still plays an important role in the equation. There is a range of edtech startups tackling this issue in different ways, from unbundling textbooks to OER.
Redshelf which just raised a $2 million Series A led by the National Association of College Stores offers a digital distribution platform, enabling students to rent digital textbooks with different durations, offering up to 60% in savings.
Ingram Content Group acquired the assets of CourseSmart through its textbook unit VitalSource Technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
CourseSmart was founded by the publishers Macmillan, Cengage Learning, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson in 2007 to facilitate the distribution of digital textbooks but has since expanded to become a leader in providing digital learning content in higher education.
With the recent launch of the iPad Mini, the Microsoft Surface RT and the new Google Nexus 10 tablet as well as the new Nexus 4 flagship phone being just around the corner one can say that the mobile device war has definitely heated up over the past couple of weeks. It’s not just Apple and the iOS ecosystem anymore as other manufacturers in combination with new operating systems offer quite attractive alternatives.
Our sister site Fair Languages already covered the launch of the first Windows 8 language learning applications by Berlin-based startup Babbel. Today K-12 and university students can add a ton of textbooks on top of that.
Kno just launched its Windows 8 application in the Windows Store which gives students access to over 200.000 digital textbooks from over 65 publishers.
Osman Rashid, co-founder and CEO of Kno said
“Kno and Microsoft share an unwavering commitment to improving education through digital technologies that enhance the student learning process to achieve better outcomes. And, because the Windows operating system is the most used in the world, we’re now able to bring our interactive learning tools to even more students and teachers whether they are using a laptop or tablet in the classroom.”
The new Kno for Windows 8 app takes advantage of the new Windows 8 features such as Charms, which are a set of shortcuts to common tasks that are available anywhere within the system.
The new Android version of the Kno app is also taking full advantage of Jelly Bean (4.2), the latest version of the Android operating system. This way the app is ready for the upcoming Google Nexus devices that will be available in November.
With the addition of Windows 8, Kno’s textbooks are now available on almost any device on the market.
In this episode of the Today’s Campus Innovation Interview Series, Kirsten Winkler talks with Scott Hasbrouck, co-founder and CEO of Ginkgotree.
Ginkgotree is a web application that enables professors to create digital coursepacks (textbooks) based on free web content like YouTube videos, open educational resources or other creative commons licensed material and merge it with copyright cleared content from journals, magazines or textbooks in order to offer students custom course materials.
Ginkgotree is also offering a free book scanning service for professors. They simply choose the pages of the textbook they would like to include into the coursepack and then send the books or journals to Ginkgotree where they are professionally scanned and digitized.
This way Ginkgotree is able to cut down the cost of a textbook to about $30 instead of the usual $200 per semester. Ginkgotree partnered with the Copyright Clearance Center to offer the largest choice of copyright cleared content possible.
Editor’s Note: This article has first been published on edcetera – straight talk on edtech.
Digital textbooks still take a smaller percentage of the overall textbook market, but with the increasing adoption of tablets in education I believe it is safe to say that they will be the standard five years from now.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of problems to solve along the way, one of them being the multiple devices people use today to access their data, e.g. emails, music or videos in the cloud. And digital textbooks are of course part of that. Today, we (or most of us) have a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop and/or a PC/Mac workstation — all of which usually run a different kind of operating system. On top of that, all devices have a different screen size, ranging from around 4 inches on a phone to maybe 21 inches on your PC.