At the Book Business Live: Executive Summit on Digital Publishing, held in New York City in March, leading publishers from the trade and education sectors gathered to share insight on how they’re managing change and working to reorient their organizations. During the panel “Transforming Your Company for the New Era of Book Publishing,” speakers were asked what maneuvers their organizations are making to thrive in an era of flux.
Depending on your point of view, digital technology has either undermined or enabled the book publishing industry. Either way, there's no denying that digital technology has changed publishing. Change is constant, inevitable, and often irreversible. So it goes.
Bethlam Forsa was born and raised in Addis, Ethiopia, where she says education can make a life-altering difference. Based on her upbringing, Forsa was determined to devote her life and expertise to a mission that shapes people's everyday lives. As president of Pearson's learning services, she's answering that call. Through the development of innovative learning technologies, Forsa aims to further the capacity she fervently believes education has to cause positive change in the world.
Pearson, which only got into the U.S. testing business about 15 years ago, has quickly become a giant in the rapidly expanding world of standardized testing. It has also become a target for critics unhappy with the growing presence of for-profit companies in public education.
There have been questions about Pearson's spending as it has worked to expand its testing business. In 2013, the company's charitable arm agreed to pay $7.7 million in fines after New York's attorney general said the charity sent state education officials on overseas junkets
Pearson, the world's largest education company, is monitoring social media during the administration of the new PARCC Common Core test to detect any security breaches, and a spokeswoman said that it was "obligated" to alert authorities when any problems were discovered.
The superintendent of a New Jersey school district wrote an e-mail to colleagues (see below) about the monitoring, saying that she found the practice "a bit disturbing."
Indiana appears ready to ditch the company that creates ISTEP after years of testing problems, but the cost of delivering Indiana's state tests could go way up if it does.
British-owned Pearson, another giant testing company, won the state's bid for a $38 million two-year contract to give the ISTEP test starting next spring over CTB-McGraw Hill, according to awards released today by the Indiana Department of Administration. California-based CTB-McGraw Hill has created ISTEP since the test's inception in 2009. The company had a four-year, $95 million contract to create ISTEP that expired last year.
A POLITICO investigation has found that Pearson stands to make tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and cuts in student tuition from deals arranged without competitive bids in states from Florida to Texas. The review also found Pearson's contracts set forth specific performance targets - but don't penalize the company when it fails to meet those standards. And in the higher ed realm, the contracts give Pearson extensive access to personal student data, with few constraints on how it is used.
Learning giant Pearson has created a tablet-based learning assessment to benefit English language learners by supporting an array of the English skills necessary to succeed on assessments.
"With the assessment system, called TELL (Test of English Language Learning), students watch video clips and interact with pictures and words, then answer questions out loud," reports ESchoolNews. "They listen, write, read and speak-all with no mark-ups or grading by teachers. TELL screens, diagnoses and monitors each ELL student's progress throughout the school year. Responses-written and spoken-are automatically scored by Pearson's automated scoring technologies.
Big ideas are new ideas. Big ideas are bold ideas. Sometimes big ideas are small ideas. Often, big ideas seem wrong at first glance because they present such a different way of doing things.
These are the types of ideas we’ve tried to capture with the Book Business Big Ideas Issue. Industry thinkers -- and readers and supporters of Book Business -- contributed mini-essays, exploring what they think are the imperatives for a thriving, progressive, effective book business.
Today Boundless launched another new way for entrepreneurial educators and thought leaders to engage students in a more modern way. The company's newest software opens up its content creation platform for authors to create textbooks that can be accessed through Boundless, which has been used by more than 3 million students and educators. Boundless's "new standard" for academic publishing is a major step in the company's expanding vision for changing the face of what has been a (financially) burdensome aspect of higher education: the existing, expensive academic textbook cartel.