Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Inkling Announces New Publishing Tool

Inkling recently announced the launch of their new Inkling Habitat, an e-book publishing tool.  According to the company, the new tools are more versatile, faster, and have more interactive capabilities than Apple’s iBooks Author.  The functions of Habitat include 3-D rendering, guided tours, HD Videos, interactive quizzes, and more.  What the company claims is amazing about Habitat is that with a click of the button it can push updates to every target platform at once, with customized, device-specific layouts.  It also allows for collaborative authoring since all work is taking place in the cloud.  Inkling will be offering Habitat products and services to publishers.

This is not a tool for stores, so why should we care?  Well, such tools continue to make it easier to create and package Native Digital content for course materials.  One thing disruptive technologies do when entering an industry is make the prior process or approach easier, faster, cheaper, or just plain better.  These and similar technologies could represent a shift in how course materials are created by publishers in the future.  Stores must ultimately determine how they gain access to and then help sell or distribute the content that tools like these produce. 

On the Inkling side, as we see them do more work with retailers, it could provide a future opportunity that allows the store to help faculty create more Native Digital content.  At the same time, Inkling has mostly been on Apple devices up to this point.  If they are going to start producing content, particularly educational content, for other platforms it raises the risk that they may need to do more direct work themselves to address accessibility requirements and concerns. 

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