Classroom Connects Gains New President, New Business, Launches New Instructional Software

Classroom Connects Gains New President, New Business, Launches New Instructional Software

Classroom Connect (Brisbane, Calif.), the online K-12 professional development business of Harcourt Education (Orlando, Fla.), in the last month has named a new president, acquired ACTV’s online education business and launched a K-8 instructional program for students.

In late October, the company promoted Jim Bowler from vice president of marketing to president and CEO of the company. Bowler, who joined Classroom Connect in August 2002, formerly was CEO of Kids 123, which provided online standards-based learning resources to educators, and vice president of marketing for SuccessMaker (then CCC) and NovaNet at what became Pearson Digital Learning.

Bowler is the third president of Classroom Connect since Harcourt acquired it in September 2001. He replaces Pat Harrigan, who was named president in May 2002 and who left the company to pursue other interests. Harrigan replaced Judith Hamilton, who came to Hacourt in the Classroom Connect acquisition. Bowler reports to Julie McGee, president and CEO of Harcourt Supplemental, Professional and Trade.

eSchool Addition Bowler stepped up to the helm just as Classroom Connect was acquiring eSchool Online, the online education business of ACTV (New York), for an undisclosed sum. eSchool provides online professional development content and K-12 instructional courseware, which integrates video with relevant Web content, interactive chat functionality and online assessment. ACTV was sold in July to interactive television provider OpenTV (Mountain View, Calif.) in a stock-for-stock transaction (EER, July 11). The company said that its eSchool Online business had grown in 2002, but revenue for the Enhanced Media Division, which comprised eSchool and streaming media HyperTV, fell almost 29% in the first quarter of 2003 to $1.7 million, the most recent figures available.

Connected Tech The acquisition comes at a time when Classroom Connect is launching Connected Tech, a Web-based K-8 program that provides instruction on technology applications within the context of core curriculum.

Connected Tech marks a resurgence of Classroom Connect’s efforts in instructional software, after discontinuing the Quest line at the end of 2002. It was submitted in Texas for the computer applications state adoption in 2004.

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McGraw-Hill Education’s (New York) secondary textbook unit, Glencoe, launched a similar product, TechConnect, last month (EER, Oct. 24). The two products go head-to-head on price – McGraw-Hill is offering its product at $10.50 per student; Classroom Connect is offering its software at $10 per student and plans to have it available nationwide in January.

Classroom Connect contributes an estimated $14 million to Harcourt revenue, and it competes with professional development offerings from other major publishers, including McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) and Scholastic (New York).

Classroom Connect: 650 351-5100; www.classroom.com

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