News Corp., AT&T Experiment With Mobile Education on Tablets

Marion Herbert's picture
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

News Corp. is forming a partnership with AT&T Inc. to provide tablet-based learning and assessment products for kindergarten through grade 12.

The two companies said Monday they would offer a 4G mobile platform on tablets through a pilot program this coming school year. News Corp. also announced that its education business would be named Amplify.

The media company's statement on Monday was its most detailed outline of its plans for expanding into the education sector since it spent $360 million in late 2010 to buy 90% of Wireless Generation, an education technology company that makes online tools to evaluate students and personalize instruction. Wireless Generation forms the core of Amplify.

Amplify will take Wireless Generation's offerings a step further by introducing more original curricula and tools designed for students rather than teachers. In an interview, Joel Klein, News Corp.'s executive vice president in charge of Amplify, said it was critical that students have access to the platform both at school and when they take tablets home. "The idea that you can do this 24-7 can really change the game," said Mr. Klein, who was chancellor of the New York City Department of Education before joining News Corp. in 2011.

The K-12 e-learning market in the U.S. is roughly $5.4 billion currently, a fraction of the amount spent on traditional educational materials like textbooks. But the digital market is growing about 20% annually, according to Michael Horn of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank.

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