Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation will be selling its digital education tool Amplify because of sliding profits.
Amplify is an online library that teaches core subjects in a visual way using videos, games, and tools. Users also have access to a set of curricula, including ELA, math, core knowledge for the language arts, general science, and cell structure, and additional services like career readiness tools. Student performance can be measured with assessments and analytics, in particular to identify students who need extra reading help.
Amplify could be used by subscribers on multiple platforms, but they also made their own tablets for the service that were in turn leased out to schools.
The Amplify website describes the services:
Inspire students to work harder and aim higher, and invigorate teachers with new ways to truly personalize learning. Our print and digital curriculum products engage and challenge students, and were developed specifically with college and career readiness in mind.
The service didn’t sell nearly as well as expected in preparation for the new school year – for a few reasons, writes Larry Dignan of ZDNet. The Amplify tablet couldn’t compete with Apple and Google‘s more versatile tablets, which also saved districts money by sometimes already being in students’ possession. Also, Amplify was expensive and did a poor job of integrating with student information systems.
Amplify is led by Joel Klein, a former Chancellor of New York City schools, according to Michael J. de la Merced of the New York Times. Klein said that Amplify will stop producing tablets and taking on new customers, though support will continue for existing subscribers.
Klein said that it’s time to re-think their model:
This move will allow us to focus our efforts on the growth and success of our digital curriculum and assessment products.
As positive as this relationship has been, Amplify and News Corp. both believe it is time to explore new and exciting strategic opportunities, working with partners who share a deep understanding of what it takes to be successful in education.
News Corp. will take a $371 million write-down, writes Shannon Bond of the Financial Times, after more than $1 billion in investments.
Lukas I. Alpert of the Wall Street Journal quoted News Corp.’s Chief Financial Officer Bedi Singh:
The recent selling season for the new school year for our digital ELA curriculum overall has been disappointing and the marketplace in digital curriculum has been much slower to develop than we initially expected.
News Corp. purchased Wireless Generation in 2012 and renamed it Amplify.