News Corp. Goes to School: Media Giant Sets Sights on Education Biz

News corp. in schools
Parents of America, are you ready for your children's education to be fair and balanced? News Corp. (NWS) announced Monday that it will collaborate with AT&T (T) to bring digital education services and products to U.S. schools.

News Corp.? Yes, News Corp. At first blush, it may seem the company has no business in the education market. However, companies from many different sectors are rushing to get in on the digital-education boom, some with a better pedagogical pedigree than others, and some with better focus and energy than others.

And when you look more closely at News Corp.'s plans, it's evident that theirs is no half-hearted effort.

Turning Up the Volume

This new education division of News Corp. will be called Amplify, and will be organized around three key areas of business:
  • Amplify Insight focuses on educational analytics and assessment through Wireless Generation, an Amplify subsidiary that's been making mobile, digital assessment, and instructional tools for teachers for more than a decade.
  • Amplify Learning will create a new digital curriculum that aligns to state standards and is driven by technologies that adapt to students' needs. Core subjects will include English language arts, science, and math.
  • Amplify Access will develop new distribution and delivery mechanisms to bring the new digital curriculum into the classroom or the home.
It's the final bullet -- Amplify Access -- that really tells the tale of News Corp.'s determination to make a go of it in the education market. And that's where the company's collaboration with AT&T comes in.

Children, Please Open Your Tablets

Amplify will offer what it's calling a "breakthrough, 4G, mobile tablet-based platform" to access the new curriculum. 4G is the next-generation wireless communications standard, and is set to offer faster service than the current 3G. This will allow more to be done via wireless streaming, like kids diving into a full-blown school curriculum.

Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, Amplify and AT&T will launch a pilot program to introduce these new curriculum and tablet-computing products. In the pilot phase, AT&T will provide the 4G tablets and technical services.

"It is our aim," Amplify CEO Joel Klein says, "to amplify the power of digital innovation to transform teaching and learning and to help schools deliver fundamentally better experiences and results. 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."

You Take the High Road, We'll Make Money

Aside from Klein's high-road rhetoric, Amplify will also get News Corp. and AT&T into the booming education market, which one industry trade group estimates to be worth $7.5 billion in the U.S. alone.

But while it's certainly booming, it's also a market that's already full of big players.

In January, Apple (AAPL) announced its collaboration with publishers McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Pearson (PSO), creating a service that allows textbook makers to create fully interactive titles for Apple's ubiquitous iPad. These three companies represent a lot of experience, a lot of money, and a lot of determined people already hard at work in the digital education and delivery sector.

So while News Corp.'s efforts are clearly serious, it remains to be seen whether the company has arrived after the school bell has already rung.


John Grgurich is a regular contributor to the Motley Fool, and owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this column. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and McGraw-Hill. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.

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27 Comments

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ha6ai

Oooooh Nooooooh ....!!!! The radical leftist "educators" who have been trying for years to poison and radicalize school children against traditional American values must be horrified!!!

No more political correctness (lies and absurdities)? Back to actual eduction? The horror!!!! LOL!

July 28 2012 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jlf0425

The vandals are at the education gates!!! They busted the economy and are now after school district funds. For gods sake somebody just say no.

July 27 2012 at 9:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
roland444

This is absolutely frightening, the right wing arm of of neanderthal minded sociological policies in children's education? THIS SHOULD BE STOPPED, DEAD.

July 27 2012 at 6:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to roland444's comment
Setanta

heeeeeee heeeeeeeeeeeee just wait.
leftwads and liberalism, UFT, relativism, no morality,graphic sex ed over and over,free condoms along with their free breakfasts and lunches definitely WORKED---right ? LM@O.

July 27 2012 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jaimemorrissey

Unemployment numbers are comprised of those that are in the job market for the past 30 days. It does not include those that have not been in the job market in the last 30 days: people who have given up looking; those that have gone off unemployment because it has run out. One solution to unemployment is High Speed Universities check it out

July 27 2012 at 5:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
newsmyrnasuite

Had dinner at our club with some new people last night from Tennessee. Husband played golf with the husband for first time and they invited us to their table. The wife actually said something to the effect that the KKK was not actually a racist organization. I almost chocked on my food. We won't be joining them again. It's amazing to me that an educated person could say such a thing. Our world sure is changing.

July 27 2012 at 4:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to newsmyrnasuite's comment
Setanta

and why didn't YOU ask her to expand HER thoughts ? and at least REFUTE THEM.
and what DOES THIS have to DO with THIS THREAD anyway ?

July 27 2012 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yuccapucka

What next robot teachers? How are kids gonna respond to robots?

July 27 2012 at 1:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yuccapucka's comment
Setanta

why.... they'll do a safe sex demo on them.

July 27 2012 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pumpkinpie

OH DEAR GOD!
FOX media is now eduacting America's children?
Watch out, the Muslim version of Madrasa is here.

July 27 2012 at 1:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Pumpkinpie's comment
Setanta

due to the libturds within nyc we HAD a madras within the PUBLIC school system-
and all the mess IS DUE 100PERCENT to the MORONS OF THE LEFT allegedly EDUCATING when the CORRECT TERM IS INDOCTRINATING our children.
time's up as NOT ONLY THERE'S NO FUNDING LEFT for the bs but the TOLERANCE OF THE PARENTS has run out.
so ""dear gawd"" that right now.

July 27 2012 at 1:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
qaqs9000

The most unscrupulous pseudo-news pack of lying republicans ever to infest the planet are now going to teach your child that they should condemn abortion, believe the earth is flat, greed is good, lying is fair if in the name of religion, contraception is for prostitutes, the rich are job creators, global warming is a lie and swear that evolution is wrong.

July 27 2012 at 12:05 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to qaqs9000's comment
Setanta

guess it NEVER OCCURS TO THE ELITE FASCISTS that
they don't HAVE THE RIGHT and NEVER HAD THE RIGHT
to POLLUTE THE MINDS OF CHILDREN via what they call education-

AND WE KNOW THE EARTH IS NOT FLAT
WILL CONDEMN ABORTION ON DEMAND
etc
etc and gorebuLLs warming remains a LIE and as for evolution ???? LM@O as where is that missing link ? where's a WHITE gorilla ? and sure fish walked out of the sea,grew lungs and wings etc.

and WHY bring UP TAQIYAA here ? are they NOW teaching this too as a part of the libturd arts ?

July 27 2012 at 1:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
qaqs9000

The most unscrupulous pseudo-news pack of lying republicans ever to infest the planet are now going to teach your child that they should condemn abortion, believe the earth is flat, greed is good, lying is fair if in the name of religion, contraception is for prostitutes, the rich are job creators, global warming is a lie and swear that evolution is wrong.

July 27 2012 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
prewiredunplugged

Computers or good teachers? Teaching was once considered an art, back when the qualities of a good teacher were celebrated, such as creativity, empathy, ingenuity and wisdom. It was a belief that carried the cargo, but was left in the dust because it couldn't keep pace with the advancing computer age. Nowadays we can't seem to abandon our natural qualities to technology fast enough. We're at the stage in our devolution that some experts see teaching as a technical skill, a skill performed as well by a computer as by a warm human being. When good teachers teach, it is an art, because, like an artist when creating, she uses a totality of qualities (computers rely on quantities). When she exercises these qualities she can awaken the sensibilities of students the way a piece of art can awaken the sensibilities of viewers and listeners. When sensibilities are awakened we are able to perceive qualities, to be impacted by them, and to discover and connect to our potentials for them, qualities such as learning, creating, empathizing, being ingenious and being wise. Who in their right mind would choose the best computer hardware and software in the world over an ordinary good teacher?

July 26 2012 at 9:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply