Pearson School Systems is in the eSchoolNews headlines twice this week for acquisitions of other companies and major products. The first article is about Pearson’s purchase of Canadian-based Chancery Software, a major SIS (student information system) company. The second article focuses on Pearson’s purchase of PowerSchool, Apple Computer’s student information system that has been selected for awards by both Technology and Learning and eSchoolNews. According to the article and Apple’s own press release, Pearson will be developing content for the iPod and the iTunes Music Store as part of the deal.

From my perspective, this latter concession probably represents a much more important financial landmark for Apple than continuing promotion and sales of Powerschool internally would. The educational future will increasingly include podcasts– and getting a major educational publisher like Pearson to embrace both iTunes and podcasting is a huge deal.

It will be interesting to keep watching Pearson. In a lot of commercial contexts today, we see the big fish getting bigger– continuing to eat the smaller fish. This is happening in banking, telecommunications, and the commercial education market. Whether or not this trend is a good thing for students, teachers, administrators, and consumers / citizens in general remains to be seen I think– but the trend seems undeniable.


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  • http://www.assortedstuff.com Tim

    The hard part for Pearson is not buying all these companies. Now they have the far more difficult job of making them all work together.

    Our school district has had a front row seat for for this event over the past decade as we’ve bought more and more applications from Pearson. Each time they promise that they will make everything work seemlessly with the systems we already have. And each time the gaps in the seems are glaring.

    For example, our middle and high school teachers have used a gradebook from Pearson for the past six years. It still doesn’t talk directly to our student information system, also a Pearson product. At the end of each grading period, teachers must export their grades to a file which someone else must import into the SIS.

    The moral of the story is that big fish are not agile swimmers.

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