Industry News

News Corp. Reveals Initial Plans for Education Division

As Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation begins emerging from the phone-hacking debacle that beset its United Kingdom media properties, the executive originally hired to oversee the company's education division is returning to that duty after overseeing News Corp's internal investigation. Previously, from 2002 to 2010, Klein had served as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest district in the country.

Klein joined the company to launch Amplify, an education division built from the News Corp. 2010 acquisition of Wireless Generation. Now Amplify has begun to talk about its three business areas, Insight, Learning, and Access, some of which already exist under the Wireless Generation brand and others that will start to surface as pilots in the new school year.

Amplify Insight uses technology from Wireless Generation to do analytics and formative assessment to support K-12 learning. The company said that currently 200,000 teachers working with three million students are using products and services in this business to assess learning progress through the year, personalize instruction, and adapt course content to meet individual students' needs.

Amplify Learning will create new digital resources in the areas of English Language Arts and math that aligns with the Common Core State Standards, as well as science. The classroom products will combine interactive activities with analytics and offer adaptive technologies to personalize the lessons for students as they move through lessons. The new materials are being created by a Wireless Generation team working with others from Lawrence Hall of Science, a public science center at the University of California, Berkeley and Lapham's Quarterly, a magazine that explores a single topic in each issue.

Amplify Access is a distribution and delivery package for delivering digital content into the classroom and making it available to students outside of class too. Amplify is teaming up with AT&T's Mobility operation on the new offering, which includes tablets, a bundle of content, analytic capabilities, and 4G connectivity.

Access isn't the only offering in which AT&T will work with Amplify. During the pilot phases for all of the new and refreshed products, AT&T will be providing 4G tablets, device management, technical services, and connectivity over the AT&T Wi-Fi network and AT&T 4G network.

"It is our aim to amplify the power of digital innovation to transform teaching and learning and to help schools deliver fundamentally better experiences and results," said Klein in a statement. "Amplify will introduce new products in a thoughtful way, so that technology can finally live up to its promise to advance learning and augment teaching for students, teachers, and parents everywhere. A prosperous economy and an equitable society require that all young people have the chance to succeed and excel, and we're excited about the potential of our products to help achieve that goal."

Amplify has also started a new website to act as a forum for "meaningful conversations about teaching and learning. Amplify.com expects to introduce the ideas of innovative people, host discussions on education and technology topics, and pull together content on critical issues in education from across the Web. A current video features Marc Hans, who founded scienceFIST, a program to introduce at-risk students to science topics.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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