Thursday, September 15, 2011

e-Learning Updates

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseTextbook publisher Pearson announced today that it has acquired Connections Education, which operates virtual schools or academies in 21 US states, serves about 40,000 students, and has developed a broad array of educational technology tools. This marks the first time that one of the "big three" textbook publishers (Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, and McGraw-Hill) has stepped so deeply into the virtual education world.

McGraw-Hill Cos. will split up into two public companies with one focused on education and the other centered on markets. McGraw-Hill Education will be the new company focused on education services and digital learning. The education segment of McGraw-Hill is forecasting revenue of about $2.4 billion for the year, and an increasing percentage of this coming from digital textbook initiatives: sure to be a big money maker for publishers, and not surprising that the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board increased their collective stake in McGraw-Hill to 5.2 percent.

Then there's Apple's connection to education. Apple officials say they know of more than 600 districts that have launched what are called "one-to-one" programs, in which at least one classroom of students is getting iPads for each student to use throughout the school day. For example, Kentucky's education commissioner and the superintendent of schools in Woodford County, Ky., stated that Woodford County High will become the state's first public high school to give each of its 1,250 students an iPad: perhaps Kentucky isn't the "hick" state we all think it is. There are a number of schools and school boards across the states which appear to be taking the dive an investing heavily in iPads.