Long gone are the days when your otherwise drab textbook might be lightened up only by the occasional graphic or stock photo. Now, while perusing your electronic textbook, you'll be able to get videos from the educational gurus at Khan Academy, which has teamed up with e-textbook startup Kno to launch a new platform for its video tutorials.
"Smart Links," a new set of tools in Kno’s e-textbook library, calls up appropriate videos, websites, images, and other related content that might enrich a student's engagement with the text they're reading. A batch of math videos from the Khan Academy is part of the first release.
Osman Rashid, Kno’s CEO, told Fast Company that the reason they chose to feature Khan Academy’s videos (aside from their being the "best [educational] videos on the web, hands down") was the same reason that they've become so popular online: because they come in simple, easy-to-digest bite-sized segments. That makes them ideal as added content in relevant sections of the math textbook.
To keep the content fresh, Kno wrote code that would search, find and pin web videos to text on appropriate e-textbook pages automatically, and the system is set to auto-upload any new videos that the Academy releases, Rashid said.
Sal Khan, Founder and Executive Director of Khan Academy and seventh on Fast Company’s list of 100 Most Creative People in Business, wrote in a statement: "We’re excited that Kno sees the value in our mission and has integrated our videos and study tools directly into their books. This provides students with a new way to access Khan Academy content—and all within the context of what they are already learning."
Last June, Kno showed off a double-screened e-reader/tablet hybrid for college students, which the company hopes will be the tool to finally unseat textbooks as the dominant education information device. The big double screens are designed to display two full pages of a regular textbook. (Update to original post: Intel licensed the tablet design in April and took over the manufacture and design work, leaving Kno to focus on creating e-textbook apps with their trademark frills, for Facebook, iPads and the web.) Their application allows highlighting, note-taking and of course, access to their trove of new Smart Link tools. So no matter where you are getting your degree, part of it will be from the Khan Academy.
[Image: Flickr user jurvetson]