By definition, revolutionary ideas throw out the old standard instead of merely reinventing it. iBooks digitizes textbooks, mixing in some rich media, simple quizzes, and a nifty note-tracking system. You can even search! It’s certainly a big improvement over print. But the essence of a textbook remains: a linear, monolithic body of knowledge.

Contrast this with Khan Academy, an online video library that is taking the educational world by storm. Its goal: to provide a world-class, free education to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It launched out of founder Salman Kahn’s converted closet. Now, it has delivered more than 115 million lessons to students around the world via short video segments taught by “Sal” himself. While its presentation is engaging, the real impact stems from its ability to organize information into a truly individual experience where you can choose your own learning adventure.

It’s a model that has proven as effective as it is unorthodox: a school without walls, without a curriculum, and without textbooks. It is education unbound. And students are flocking to it.

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