education's digital future

How textbook publishers are turning into tech companies

Textbook publishers do far more than print books these days. The five biggest players in the textbook market have collectively invested more than a billion of dollars in the past five years buying software companies and building technology-services divisions. They're betting that the future is digital and that the transition can let them enter new parts of the education business.

May 15: Teams up with Quantum Simulations Inc., a developer of artificial-intelligence-based education services.

September 13: Teams up with Kno, an education-software company that offers digital textbooks for iPads and other tablets.

October 2: Purchases, which runs online programs for colleges, for $220-million.

November 12: Teams up with TED, the nonprofit producer of popular speaking events, to create talks and instructor materials.

June 2: Teams up with Panopto, a company that sells lecture-capture software to hundreds of colleges.

December 7: Announces Digital Science, a new division focused on software for scientists that combines tools from three companies the publisher purchased.

October 11: Invests in Labtiva, a Boston-based company that helps researchers manage information, through its Digital Science division.

May 22: Acquires Educational Benchmarking Inc., a Missouri company that specializes in student retention.

November 7: Acquires Sapling Learning, a company that makes interactive homework software and had 96 employees, for an undisclosed amount.

February: Launches McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, an ­online-learning system that offers individualized student assessment.

September: Launches McGraw-Hill Connect, an online platform that allows for searching recorded lectures and turning in assignments online.

October 4: Acquires Tegrity, a lecture-capture company that already had 200 college customers.

October 11: Launches McGraw-Hill Create, a publishing tool that allows instructors to create customized e-books from 4,000 McGraw-Hill textbooks.

August 2: Acquires Key Curriculum, a developer of software tools to help students learn mathematics concepts, for an undisclosed amount.

October 1: Launches McGraw-Hill Tegrity Remote Proctoring, a service for securely administering examinations online....

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