When I’m not blogging away about technology for the Bits Blog, I’m also an adjunct professor at New York University in the Interactive Telecommunications Program.

The program is a technology-focused graduate course, so it came as no surprise when four of my students walked into class in early April with fancy new Apple iPads in hand. After the students got past the novelty factor, a debate ensued about how the iPad would fit into their school life. One factor the students discussed was the ability to carry less “stuff” in their backpacks: the iPad can replace magazines, notepads, even a laptop.

Now there’s an iPad application that could further lighten the load. A new company called Inkling hopes to break the standard textbook model and help textbooks enter the interactive age by letting students share and comment on the texts and interact with fellow students.

Matt MacInnis, founder and chief executive of Inkling, said in a phone interview that the company wants to offer a textbook experience that moves far beyond simply downloading a PDF document to an iPad.

One unique feature the service offers is the ability to discuss passages of a book with other students or professors. By selecting a piece of text you can leave a note for others to read and develop a conversation around the text.

via Replacing a Pile of Textbooks With an iPad – NYTimes.com.