an eText Pane



See Also this post!


I’ve just discovered and once again the internet surprises. I’ve got over 200 books in Kindle, I’ve got my classes running from Google Docs, and I thought I knew what an eText was. Alas, I did not kno. is an eText hosting web site. But more than being just another proprietary reader for eTexts, kno’s software use model turns texts into windows, and contexts. Let me explain:

Kno windows:

When I read a eText, I can, like in Kindle and Acrobat Pro, add web links, sticky note comments, and highlight text in multiple colors. So prepping a course text in the kno reader allows me to track my own train of thoughts as I read, to capture ideas about how to discuss the material with students during class meetings. Every book becomes a scrap book snap shot of my reading and thinking as I read. And the kno text allows me to recover the “situational awareness” I had while reading, when later I need to dip back into the book to set up a discussion. So I think of kno texts already, as windows that allow me to see further and more comprehensively.

Kno contexts:

But, it gets Kno better! In addition to allowing annotation and scrap booking of thoughts, there is a social media dimension to Kno. I can share my Kno eText markups with my students. And, my students can share their markups with me. Now, before this semester, I had never had the idea that it would be cool if my students could read a copy of their texts that is marked up by me. And the idea is still sinking in. But even within one week I’ve come to see how amazing this might be as a tool for me to catalyze student discovery.

Read the last paragraph again!

Ok, I probably didn’t get the magnitude of this idea across. So, let me try again. You know the scene in paper chase were Hart decides to read Kingsley’s student notebooks to get inside his imperious professor’s head? The video is on youtube and embedded here. Advance to about 6:20 in the video to watch the scene:


So, question, if the student is so “into” the content that s/he will break into the library to read the material, should we professors not make learning easier?

With Kingsley could have annotated the contracts text with his own student journals, and every student in the class would have had unrestricted access to getting inside his decision cycle.

With my MBA students this semester, thanks to, I have the ability to put all the key information I know, at the student’s disposal as s/he reads the text materials. They don’t have to read my view, gives the student the option whether to subscribe or not. This is just a game changer for teaching. My texts should get better and better for students as classes repeat and the students and I traverse the learning curve.

The transactions costs of mentoring students have just changed. Instead of interacting with students one by one and making my tool box of analytical models, historical events, and cross disciplinary reading available. I can now, get the materials I love in the subjects I love, captured where they are available to all.

This is just a HUGE deal for teaching online or on-ground.

The old joke “He makes a better door than a window, even though he is a pane.” is echoing in my mind. Kno is a pane where textbooks up until now have been doors.

bill meade

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