★ On Kno

[caption id="attachment_2640" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Image courtesy of This Is My Next"][/caption]

I'm two weeks into my studies at the Johnson School at Cornell after just over two years away from academia. One of the things that's struck me about the way education has changed in that short period is the speed with which iPads have integrated into the classroom. When I was a college student, there was no such thing as an iPad. Now it seems that everyone has one - in fact, I'd wager that there are more iPads than Macs in the Johnson Class of 2013, and it's not hard to see why. The iPad offers the opportunity to dramatically improve a student's ability to manage his academic life, and I can't count the number of times since my arrival that I've wished I could have had one at Middlebury.

Calvetica, Evernote, and Todo are indispensable elements of my grad school routine, but the one app that I don't think I could do without is one of which I had not heard even a week ago: Kno. More than any other app, Kno is redefining how I function as a student, and hats off to them for it.

Kno is ostensibly a digital textbook retailer and reader. Its catalog is both broad and deep - every book I'll require for the next semester is available for rental and purchase, and at substantially discounted prices, lower than the college bookstore's and even Amazon's. Used copies might run cheaper on Chegg, but are both heavy and contain annotations from another student. Kno, by contrast, weighs only as much as the iPad, and takes up practically no space in a crowded book bag.

Where Kno really shines is in course planning. A simple drag-and-drop interface enables me to create a customized curriculum, containing not only my texts, but also any additional readings such as PDFs I import. As long as digital copies of class materials are available (almost a given in this day and age), Kno completely replaces both my textbooks and binders.

Best of all, Kno knows notes. (That's the worst sentence I've ever written.) What does that mean? It means that anything I highlight in any text, or any graph I tag as important, or anything I choose to bookmark is automatically copied into a digital notebook contained within the app. It's amazingly simple and saves significant time highlighting and copying notes. Brilliant.

Kno is fantastic technology, and what I mean by that is it simplifies the tasks I need to do to such an extent that it almost doesn't register. The results is that I can stop worrying about the things that don't matter in the process of being a student and get down to what's important: learning. Highly recommended to anyone going into a classroom. Check it out.