News Corp. unveils new education biz

Unit run by Joel Klein called Amplify, in partnership with AT&T

News Corp. is finally taking the wraps off its new education division led by Joel Klein. It’s calling the business Amplify and has inked a deal with AT&T to roll out digital tablet-based programs for teachers and students K-12.

“It is our aim to amplify the power of digital innovation to transform teaching and learning and to help schools deliver fundamentally better experiences and results,” said Klein in a statement Monday. He first joined News Corp. to launch the unit but was sidetracked when a phone hacking scandal erupted in the U.K. and he was tapped to coordinate the response, a task he recently handed over to the conglom’s general counsel Gerson Zweifach.

The details come several weeks after News Corp. decided to split its businesses in half, breaking up publishing and entertainment. Wall Streeters have been curious about the new division, which will fall under the publishing arm.

“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,” Klein said. “A prosperous economy and an equitable society require that all young people have the chance to succeed and excel, and we’re excited about the potential of our products to help achieve that goal.”

Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, said the partners plan to bring to market a “tablet-based experience” in pilot programs across the U.S. starting this fall.

AT&T will provide 4G tablets, device management and technical services and connectivity over the AT&T Wi-Fi network and AT&T 4G network.

The new division has three prongs: Amplify Insight, focusing on educational analytics and formative assessment through subsid Wireless Generation; Amplify Learning, to create new digital curricula beginning with English, science and math. Wireless Generation is working with partners the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley and Lapham’s Quarterly; and Amplify Access, to develop new distribution and delivery mechanisms both in and out of the classroom.

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