Amplify, led by former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, will work with AT&T to offer digital tools for teachers and students, News Corp. said today in a statement.
Amplify will unveil its software and tools in a pilot program beginning in September. The tablets, made available through AT&T, will have cellular connectivity for students without Internet access at home, Klein said in an interview.
“We’re bringing enormous educational software to bear on this,” he said. “We’re very excited for the start of this.”
News Corp. began its push into the education market when it acquired 90 percent of Wireless Generation Inc., a Brooklyn- based startup, for about $360 million last year. The business lost a $27 million bid to build an education data system for New York State because of ties to its new parent company, which was being investigated for hacking and bribery.
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, a proponent of academic reform, hired Klein to build an education business before the hacking scandal erupted. Klein returned his full-time attention to the division last month after serving as the head of News Corp.’s internal committee investigating the matter.
“Rupert is very interested in this,” Klein said. “He’s committed to it, and he’s spent a lot of time learning about the business.”
Amplify will be part of News Corp.’s new publishing company that will be spun off next year. Operating income at the publishing unit, which includes the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Times of London, dropped 32 percent from fiscal 2008 to 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A shift to the Web has cut industry advertising and circulation revenue.
“I am confident that the resources necessary to support the development efforts of Amplify will be available moving forward,” Klein said.
Shares of New York-based News Corp. fell less than 1 percent to $21.82 in New York at the close. AT&T rose 0.3 percent to $35.38.
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