Blended Learning, Domestic, K-12, Math, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private, Public, Publishers & Curriculum, Required, Science, Technology - Written by on Thursday, August 2, 2012 20:34 - 0 Comments

McGraw-Hill Education To Acquire Key Curriculum For Undisclosed Sum

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Enrique Burgos via Compfight

Mathematics education company Key Curriculum said Thursday that it would sell its technology assets - including The Gemeter’s Sketchpad, TinkerPlots Exploration and Fathom Dynamic Data - to McGraw-Hill Education for an undisclosed sum.

The deal comes as Key already was focusing on shifting to technology products rather than textbooks. The Emeryville, Calif.,-based company was founded by math educators in 1971. It was previously owned by New York-based Springer Publishing.

Jason Tomassini at EdWeek writes:

By the end of the year, McGraw-Hill will integrate its own digital offerings with the technology behind Key’s three central products: Geometer’s Sketchpad, a math visualization software used in about half the high schools in the U.S.; Fathom, a data analysis tool; and TinkerPlots, a data visualization application. Plans are still preliminary, but the technology could be used in something like McGraw-Hill’s iPad textbook. Or, theoretically, students could learn McGraw-Hill’s math curricula through interactive tools developed by Key. New digital products will be developed in the future, both sides of the deal said.

About five years ago, as school budgets grew tighter, Key began losing a number of textbook contracts, leaving the business unprofitable. After it decided to refocus on the popular, but neglected technology it also produced, the company devised a major overhaul. Two-thirds of staff were eventually laid off.

“A powerful road map emerged that was interesting to many potential partners. The best fit, though, was between McGraw-Hill Education and Key,” said Karen Coe, president and CEO of Key. “McGraw-Hill Education has a very strong presence in the STEM disciplines and across all grade levels in K–12. Particularly appealing to us was McGraw-Hill Education’s penetration into the elementary market with a range of programs. Recent research by our R&D affiliate KCPT, via their Dynamic Number project, has focused on using The Geometer’s Sketchpad with students in elementary grades. It was a natural fit.”

The companies said McGraw-Hill Education will aim to use Key’s technologies on several products. The McGraw-Hill sales and marketing staff also has potential to sell Key’s products more heavily. “As a small education company it has always been a challenge to extend our reach into all grade levels in mathematics, yet our learning tools are just as relevant to students in elementary schools as they are to students in higher grades,” Coe said. “It will be terrific to finally accomplish that reach through McGraw-Hill Education’s channel.”

Key will remain based in the San Francisco Bay area and its staff, led by Coe, will report to Christine Willig, senior vice president of STEM for McGraw-Hill School Education. Willig said the Key brand is highly regarded by math educators. She said Key’s products will still be sold under the Key Curriculum brand name. But “Customers using McGraw-Hill Education’s math programs can expect deeper integration between these products and Key Curriculum solutions in the future,” Willig said, in a statement.

The companies say the acquisition and integration will be complete by end of 2012.

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2013-02-15 16:00

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