McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education moved down a spot from 2011 to be the eighth largest publisher in the world in 2012, and the second largest educational publisher behind Pearson. McGraw-Hill Education joins Pearson to dominate the K-12 textbook market. President of McGraw-Hill Education K-12 Peter Cohen notes the company’s success in a recent article about the Common Core: “[You would be] hard pressed to find a school district that doesn’t have a McGraw-Hill program of some kind.”

Despite this strong presence in the market, McGraw-Hill Education recently did some restructuring, a possible response to the 10% decrease they experienced in sales in the first nine months of 2012 due to decreased school funding. In June 2012, McGraw-Hill Education named Lloyd G. “Buzz” Waterhouse as new president and chief executive officer of the company and in March 2013, parent company McGraw-Hill sold McGraw-Hill Education to Apollo Global Management. In a letter to shareholders, Harold McGraw stressed the company’s focus on the digital future of their products by explaining that the sale “will enable the education company to continue developing digital learning systems for better outcomes for students and professionals around the world.”

It was recently reported that Apollo is already considering slimming down their purchase by selling the professional side of the business, possibly to focus exclusively on its educational work, a large task that includes both K-12 as well as higher education publishing. While this post focuses on McGraw-Hill’s K-12 efforts, the company is making noteworthy digital advancements in their higher education materials, with new products such as their excellent e-book, the adaptive and interactive SmartBook.

As the second largest educational publisher, McGraw-Hill Education has a lot of content and coverage to digitize, but they are doing so in exciting ways.  As their Digital Solutions page boasts, they have it all: Online Learning Systems, eBooks, Digital Curriculum, Adaptive Learning programs, and Hybrid models. McGraw-Hill also offers online resources–such as free webinars–for teachers.

McGraw-Hill offers more than 50 apps, many of them free. It’s important to note that many of their apps are aimed toward students, attempting to infiltrate their digital world with education. Their CINCHLearning app encourages the social digital reading Scholastic’s book fair app facilitates. Just as Scholastic’s app links to peer reviews of books, the CINCHLearning app features a highlighting tool where students can comment on the text and begin discussion threads with other students. Studying and engaging with learning material becomes more accessible for students with these apps.

McGraw-Hill Education's CINCH Learning app.

McGraw-Hill Education’s CINCH Learning app.

McGraw-Hill is offering many of the same types of products that Pearson is: apps, interactive online modules, eBook textbooks, social networks for teachers and students. But McGraw-Hill differs from Pearson in how they’re approaching these new digital products. In an Education Week article from earlier this year, Michelle Davis discusses how the Big Three educational publishers (Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) are rethinking their K-12 strategies. Davis draws distinctions between how these three big players are approaching the shift from print to digital.  In contrast to Pearson, who aims to restructure the educational landscape with a digital platform, McGraw-Hill is not focusing all of their attention on electronic products. McGraw-Hill’s Chief Digital Officer Stephen Laster explains,
“Digital is clearly the future, but we’re in this blended world, where digital and print are really what our teachers are using today,” he says. “McGraw-Hill doesn’t think you should throw out the way education has been done and start from scratch.”
This is certainly evident with McGraw-Hill’s Networks: A Social Studies Learning System. The system is designed to “meet you wherever you are today in the use of classroom technology and takes you wherever you’re going on the digital spectrum.” The promotional video below shows its features.
McGraw-Hill’s approach to digital publishing meets schools in the middle as they transition into using more technology. The company’s recent reshifting should hopefully only bode well for their digital future, even as they seek to maintain their print past.
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