Legendary investor Vinod Khosla has a post up at Techcrunch about the future of education, entitled “Will We Need Teachers Or Algorithms?” and discussing how technology will affect education. This quote in particular caught my eye:

It’s encouraging to me that we are starting to seriously experiment with content that is different than linear translations of books to online. With the new platforms, we have the ability to rapidly run experiments with new styles, techniques and resources (like social learning) which will lead to a new understanding of education.

Lisa’s and my vision for Coliloquy has always included a world where our platform of branching narratives could be used to teach children about actions and consequences, with storylines that change and are customized to different learning styles. Customized learning for students is no longer a pipe dream — companies like Khan Academy are leading the way on that front.

And now, the latest announcement from Apple about interactive textbooks fits right into this theme. The iPad is an amazing device that has transformed the relationship between consumers and their content, with an interface that people of all ages have been able to use. Textbooks are a natural next innovation, and companies like Inkling have been leading the way.

“Traditionally, creating electronic interactive books has been really hard.”

While we focus on narrative and adult fiction, all of these efforts around education are coming from the same place–what can we do with a digital platform that was impossible just a few years ago? Apple and Kindle have provided the distribution channel, and now we’re starting to see content providers and authors truly innovate.