The Slow Demise of Another Much Ballyhooed Digital Education Venture

Last week, in the New York Times, Michael J. de la Merced reported on News Corp.’s plan to sell off its unprofitable education unit.


“Amplify, a much-heralded push by News Corporation into digital education, led by Joel Klein, a former New York City schools chancellor, is nearing an inglorious end.

“News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said on Wednesday that it would take a $371 million write-down on the education division and would move to wind down the production of tablets for schoolchildren, a key part of the unit’s offering.

“Moreover, News Corporation’s chief executive, Robert Thomson, said in an earnings call with analysts that the company was in an ‘advanced stage of negotiations’ with a potential buyer for the remaining education business.

“Together, the moves highlight the difficulty that has confronted News Corporation and others looking to move teaching into the digital age, relying on the Internet and tablets to update traditional curriculums.

“Few initiatives possessed the prominence of Amplify, which grew out of a nearly five-year-old acquisition of a testing software maker that became a small but visible part of News Corporation. And it gained a prominent leader in Mr. Klein, who oversaw New York City’s public schools under Michael R. Bloomberg and was known for pushing technology—sometimes controversially—into the city’s education system.

“Among Amplify’s main propositions: an online curriculum that taught arts in a more vivid way, including videos, games and apps. An introduction to “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” relied on a video of the actor Chadwick Boseman, while a lesson on Edgar Allan Poe drew on games that students could play to solve a mystery. . . .”


De la Merced’s complete article is available at:



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