NEW YORK - Textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said on Monday it had launched a $100 million ideas fund as the next step in bringing the digital age to the classroom.
The Boston-based Houghton Mifflin said the fund would invest in ideas on future education tools, switching the focus away from traditional textbook publishing and e-books to online and interactive learning.
For example, last week it announced a year-long pilot of an Algebra app for Apple's iPad.
CEO Barry O'Callaghan said the fund was "providing the capital to identify and incubate the next generation of innovation in education" and was open to submissions from students, teachers and technology companies around the world.
Simply transferring traditional physical books to read-only format e-books was an outdated way to look to the future, O'Callaghan told Reuters, rather than offering learning tools that provided "more data" and tools tailored for specific students and lessons.
O'Callaghan said Houghton Mifflin, which specializes in textbooks from children in kindergarten to the 12th grade, saw the fund as part of a "call to action to the industry" to speed up digital learning in the classroom.
Textbook publishers such as Houghton have faced potential sales declines because state and local governments are limiting spending to cope with budget deficits linked to the weak economy.
Earlier this year its privately-held parent company, Education Media and Publishing Group, underwent its second debt restructuring.
In 2006, O'Callaghan's Riverdeep agreed to buy Houghton Mifflin from private equity firms Bain Capital LLC, Blackstone Group LP, and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP for $1.75 billion.
The combined company later bought Reed Elsevier NV's Harcourt education business for roughly $4 billion.
(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant)
Theo reuters.comCập nhật ngày Thứ ba, 14 Tháng 9 2010 07:00