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Big Deals: Edtech industry news from HMH, Pearson, and Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS)

New advancements in writing assessment, AI, and equity

Learning technology company HMH announced it has acquired award-winning software company Writable, building on a longstanding partnership between the organizations that includes the integration of Writable’s research-backed writing assessment and practice solution with HMH’s core ELA offerings for grades 3-12.

With the acquisition of Writable, HMH will also establish HMH Labs, a new incubation team focused on the development and customer experience of emerging technologies, including generative AI, in support of HMH’s high-tech, high-touch vision for K-12 learning. Led by Writable CEO and co-founder Andrew Goldman, who will become Executive Vice President of HMH Labs, the group will expand upon and support HMH’s focus on innovative technology and continue to develop Writable.

“HMH is excited to welcome the talented team from Writable into the HMH community,” said HMH CEO and President, Jack Lynch. “We have already seen the transformative power of Writable and are excited to harness the agile development capabilities of Andrew and team through HMH Labs in service of empowering educators and deepening the connection between teacher and student.”

The HMH Labs team will build on the Writable experience to explore and develop cutting-edge solutions that drive student growth by creating differentiated and dynamic learning experiences that constantly improve based on learner and teacher interaction.

“At Writable, we have worked to tackle the challenges and inequities students and teachers face with innovative and forward-thinking technology solutions,” said Andrew Goldman, CEO at Writable. “As we enter the AI age of technology, we see tremendous opportunity to leverage HMH’s unparalleled curriculum and customer relationships to deliver edtech’s next chapter to connect students and teachers in thinking, writing, and communication. We’re excited for the opportunity to build HMH Labs in this spirit.”

HMH and Writable have collaborated as partners since 2018, when Writable’s research-backed tool for personalized writing feedback and revision for grades 3-12 was first integrated into HMH Into Reading and HMH Into Literature. Since then, Writable and HMH have continuously leveraged customer feedback to refine the solution to maximize student efficacy and teacher productivity.

Last fall, Writable launched new OpenAI-powered integrations that enable teachers to incorporate AI-suggested feedback and scores into their instruction, saving valuable time teachers can use to invest in student connections. This solution reinforces HMH’s commitment to a human-centered approach to advanced technology like generative AI, one that enables and extends the valuable work of teachers, blending the best of technology with the best of the classroom experience.

Writable has won accolades both as an integrated and standalone solution, most recently being named Best Reading/Writing/Literature Instructional Solution for Grade 9–12 in the SIIA CODiE Awards. Current Writable customers will continue to receive the support, service, and innovation they have come to expect and love, and all contracts and quotes with schools and districts will be honored.

 Pearson (FTSE: PSON.L) today announced plans to further expand its beta AI study tools into additional Pearson+ eTextbooks. Generative AI tools are an increasingly popular feature for thousands of students in both Pearson+ eTextbooks and in Pearson’s MyLab and Mastering homework platforms. Now, even more students will benefit, with at least 40 math, science, business, and nursing titles available for fall back to school in both products.

“We’ve had a great response to our AI offering from students and instructors, and we’re excited for millions more to experience these features this year. As we expand our AI study tools, we are learning more about what students want and are acting on their feedback. When we combine learning science and trusted content with AI technology, our products are even more effective in helping students learn and instructors teach,” said Tony Prentice, Pearson’s Chief Product Officer.

By combining new technologies with world class learning content, students say they are already seeing the benefits to their education. Since the start of the beta, tens of thousands of students have used Pearson’s AI study tools and have shown strong levels of engagement and positive feedback. In fact, students in the initial selection of three Pearson+ eTextbooks have initiated more than 331,000 interactions with AI study tools to help them learn by generating explanations, summaries, and practice questions. Those who used the AI tools spent more time in their courseware and 75% of users said the tools were ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’ for their studies.

With more than 80% of its products now digital or digitally enabled, Pearson is committed to investing in the responsible application of AI to advance product innovation and enhance the learning experience to educate, certify, and credential students and the workforce.

Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS), a leading education-focused nonprofit organization, is thrilled to announce its strategic collaboration with Intentional Futures, a renowned design and innovation consultancy, to launch the groundbreaking Mission-Driven AI Use Case Rubric.

The Mission-Driven AI Use Case Rubric is a comprehensive framework designed specifically for nonprofits, educational institutions and edtech companies seeking to harness AI’s potential to drive long-lasting impact. It is a user-friendly tool with which organizations can align different AI use cases with their unique ethical, social, and mission-oriented goals, using a set of predefined criteria.

As AI technologies continue to play an increasingly prominent role in shaping educational experiences, it is essential to ensure that these tools adhere to principles of equity, inclusivity, and positive social impact. This rubric equips organizations with the ability to integrate and scale AI into their work while holding these considerations at the core.

Equal Opportunity Schools recognizes the importance of leveraging AI in education without perpetuating existing disparities, as we have long sought to incorporate emerging technologies in our work to close race and income enrollment gaps in advanced pathways like Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment programs.

“Student potential is a multi-faceted, dynamic and complex concept,” EOS President Sasha Rabkin says about the pivotal partnership and tool. “Our project with Intentional Futures (iF) demonstrates what is possible for both our organization and the field. iF has helped us clarify our value proposition, dream big and develop a set of concrete solutions, rubrics and prototypes that will transform our use of AI and allow us to scale more rapidly and with greater dexterity.” 

The education team at Intentional Futures, renowned for their expertise in designing human-centered solutions and guiding organizations towards responsible innovation, shared this about their team’s critical role in developing the rubric.

“As generative AI continues to develop and be implemented in education, mission-driven organizations and schools must intentionally consider if these technologies align with their values and meaningfully serve students, teachers, and staff. The rubric we created with EOS gives education-serving organizations a tangible tool that allows them to pause and critically reflect on the impact of potential use cases of AI.”

Key features of the Mission-Driven AI Use Case Rubric include:

  • Ethical Considerations: Assessing the impact of AI use cases on student privacy, data security, and potential biases
  • Inclusivity: Evaluating how AI applications support diverse student populations and contribute to closing opportunity gaps
  • Mission Alignment: Ensuring that AI technologies align with the core mission and values of educational institutions
  • Transparency: Assessing the clarity and openness of AI systems in terms of decision-making processes and outcomes

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