Pearson Steps Up Development of Online Education Network

Pearson plc, the international media company, announced today a series of agreements that will accelerate the development of its online education network.

Pearson and America Online, Inc., the world?s leading interactive services company, have reached a preliminary agreement to serve as a framework for developing a relationship. It is envisaged that the relationship would establish Pearson?s education network as the preferred supplier of educational content and online learning tools with AOL providing carriage for Pearson?s education network on the AOL service and other America Online, Inc. brands. The two companies will also investigate opportunities to collaborate on the development of a curriculum architecture and a range of select education tools. The Pearson education network will also be available through the Internet at large.

Pearson has also announced today the first of a number of strategic alliances with, and equity investments in, leading Internet educational companies which will further strengthen the development of its education network. The alliances are with:

--SCORE! Learning Inc., at www.eSCORE.com, a national provider of after-school learning centres and online learning services.

--Copernicus Education Gateway, at www.edgate.com, which provides customised, local, online access to education resources and activities for kindergarten to 12th grade.

--Blackboard, Inc., at www.blackboard.com, a leading Internet infrastructure company. Its software platform powers online teaching environments at over 1,800 colleges and universities and in 70 countries.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, said: "Around the world, public and private resources devoted to education are rising rapidly as individuals, companies and nations strive to be part of an increasingly brain-powered world. The Internet personalises learning to individual needs in a way that has never been possible before. We aim to create an online learning environment that transforms the educational opportunities open to all of us at every stage of our lives, wherever we live in the world".

The education network, to be launched this year, aims to be the leading online learning portal. It will supplement in-school activities from elementary school through to adult learning, with both ongoing education and professional training. The portal will draw on content, tools and distribution channels from Pearson businesses, and incorporate content from other leading print and Internet educational and consumer publishers, both within and outside Pearson.

The network will earn revenues from a mix of individual subscriptions and site licences from schools and e-commerce and advertising revenues in the open access part of the network. Advertising will not appear on the site when accessed from schools. The overall development of the education network is being led by Pearson?s in-house digital publishing company, San Francisco-based Headland Digital Media. The brand identity for the network will be announced at a later stage.

Pearson?s education network

The education network will extend the ongoing learning activities of its participants. For example, the elementary-school teacher portal will include lesson planning software and teacher training materials. Parents of school-age children will have access to a fully integrated site that ties back directly to the components of the student?s experience, thus establishing a genuine home-school connection. The college student portal will provide detailed, subject-specific learning materials for key academic disciplines. The adult-learning portal will provide information and resources relating to personal and professional development. Each portal will integrate the components that the online environment makes possible - fast communication, easy access to peers and tutors, a set of always accessible organisational tools, self-paced learning and assessment opportunities, and a host of subject- and grade-specific learning resources.

SCORE!

Pearson is also forming a strategic alliance with, and has agreed to take an equity, valued at around $20m, in SCORE! Learning, Inc., a subsidiary of education and career services company Kaplan, Inc., and a leading national provider of learning programs and educational resources. This alliance extends the relationship already in place between Pearson and SCORE!, wherein more than 100 neighbourhood SCORE! after-school centres already use adaptive digital curriculum created by Pearson?s Computer Curriculum Corporation. Pearson and SCORE! will work together to develop the technology required to create new services for Internet delivery. These services will be available at SCORE! centres as well as directly over the Internet via eSCORE.com, making SCORE!?s educational coaching available live on the internet. eSCORE.com , a leading provider of online learning and resources for children will also be prominently featured within Pearson?s education network, making it possible to offer online coaching and support to students whose teachers and parents use the network.

Kaplan (www.kaplan.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Kaplan offers test prep and admissions services (www.kaptest.com); K-12 educational programs for children and parents through SCORE! Learning,Inc. and www.eSCORE.com; on-site education and professional development at schools and universities; books and software; professional education services; and distance learning programmes (www.KaplanCollege.com). Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO).

Copernicus

Pearson is taking a 10% equity stake and Board representation in Edgate.com, Inc., creator of The Copernicus Education Gateway (Copernicus), which provides customised, local education portals for teachers, parents and students in local schools and school districts across the United States. Copernicus will co-brand their localised online education gateways with Pearson?s education network, and the combined offering will be promoted by Pearson and Copernicus as a key element of the kindergarten to 12th grade section of the network. Pearson and Copernicus will work together in placing their content, goods and services within these localised gateways.

The Copernicus Education Gateway uses an "open content model", allowing each local online community to customise and enabling educators to add content of their own selection to meet the needs and interests of their community members. Educators easily post homework assignments and other important community announcements by using their Copernicus SchoolNotes for parents and students to retrieve this information anywhere at anytime. Educators direct students in the classroom and at home to their school?s customised Copernicus Education Gateway to gain access to local school and community information, research information and other websites. Educators access the Copernicus Curriculum Matrix to retrieve their state?s educational standards with cross-referenced lesson plans and other Internet resources. Schools are able to place online fund raising events in their Copernicus Community to reach community members.

Blackboard

Pearson is partnering with, and will invest in, Blackboard Inc., a leading Internet Infrastructure company whose software platform powers "edu" online environments at more than 1,800 colleges, universities and in more than 70 countries around the world. In addition to online administrative and community services, the Blackboard CourseInfo product line enables educators to enhance in-class instruction and/or deliver distance learning by bringing their course materials, class discussions, assignments, and quizzes to the web. More than 2.1 million people worldwide teach and learn in online education environments powered by Blackboard.

The Blackboard partnership will further position Pearson as the premier provider of higher education content and services for online course environments. The Blackboard CourseInfo course management platform will be featured in the education network serving the Higher Education, K-12, Professional Development and Adult Learning markets. Pearson and Blackboard are also in the process of developing plans for cross promotion and development of content and services for Blackboard's Scholar.com and Blackboard.com web properties and the Higher Education portion of the education network.

Notes to Editors:

Pearson Education

Pearson Education the world?s largest education business covers the school, college and professional markets. It is the leading US school publisher, publishing textbooks and electronic education programmes across the whole curriculum. In the US elementary education market, Scott Foresman is the preferred publisher and offers companion websites and digital workbooks for many of their titles (e.g. www.sfreading.com). The Waterford Reading programme is the leading electronic reading programme for children of kindergarten age. Prentice Hall School (www.phschool.com) publishes in all the major secondary programmes and, in addition to companion websites, creates subject specific learning communities (such as www.chemplace.com) for high school students and educators. KnowZone (www.kz.com) is an online assessment programme linked to state tests, which can be accessed by teachers, students and parents either at school or home.

Pearson Education is also by far the leading higher education publisher in the US, covering every part of the college curriculum through imprints such as Addison Wesley Longman, Prentice Hall and Allyn & Bacon. It has a significant portfolio of premium web-based educational content including online assignments and interactive exercises for self-assessment and practice, lecture resources and full testbanks for exams.. This information is available in over 1,200 "Companion Websites" and in many commercial course management system platforms such as WebCT and eCollege.

It is the world?s leading technology publisher, with over 1,000 computer and technology titles published each year through imprints that include Que, Sams, Prentice Hall, Cisco Press, Adobe Press, New Riders, Peachpit and Addison Wesley. InformIt (www.informit.com) is positioned to be the leading vertical portal for accomplished and aspiring IT professionals.

Outside the US, Pearson Education is the premier English Language Teaching publisher and a leading publisher of indigenous works in the school, university and professional markets in countries all around the world.

For further information
Pearson plc

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