Blackboard and Sprint Team Up to Bring Mobile Learning to Students at No Additional Cost to Schools
Blackboard Mobile Learn to debut on select Sprint smartphones in JuneStudents can complete class work, check grades, interact with professors and more from virtually anywhere, anytime and at no extra charge on the Now Network(TM)New partnership aligns with the National Broadband Plan proposal to support and promote online learning
WASHINGTON & OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Mar 22, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today's students are increasingly reliant on mobile devices to communicate and manage their lives, and many educational institutions are looking for ways to use mobility to attract and engage students. To help support them, Sprint (NYSE: S) and Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced a partnership to turn the "everywhere" mobile device into an anytime learning option. The two companies will offer Blackboard Mobile Learn(TM) - a new application from Blackboard that will let students learn when and where they want - to users of Sprint devices at no additional cost to institutions.
The application will recreate and enrich the course experience of Blackboard Learn(TM), the leading Web-based teaching and learning platform, in native applications for a range of devices. With it, millions of students who log into their Blackboard(R) accounts each day will be able to tap into mobile learning opportunities by checking grades and assignments, adding comments to discussion boards, e-mailing instructors and classmates and posting comments to blogs - all from their mobile devices.
"Campuses are seeing increased demand from students and faculty who want to do more on their mobile devices," said Michael L. Chasen, Blackboard's president and CEO. "By partnering with Sprint we're making it easy for clients to get started fast, without having to worry about startup costs that might otherwise delay progress in this important area."
Research indicates that the need for a mobile learning platform is taking place rapidly, and Blackboard has received encouraging feedback on its plans for Blackboard Mobile Learn, which will be available to Sprint customers on select devices - at no charge to universities - as well as a wider range of smartphones and Wi-Fi devices in June.
"Learning is a deeply personal act and the better the experience the better the results," said Danny Bowman, president of Integrated Solutions at Sprint. "Together, powered by a dependable 3G network and rapidly expanding 4G network, Sprint and Blackboard are leading a new era of innovative mobile learning where student experiences are relevant, reliable and engaging."
The recently released National Broadband Plan made recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission to improve education in the United States by supporting and promoting online learning through the expansion of broadband technology.
"Innovative mobile technology and resources are keystones to improving the education of America's students and ensuring our growing workforce is adequately prepared to enter future industries," Bowman added. "Sprint hopes this new partnership with Blackboard will serve as a positive step and template for continued efforts to make online learning accessible inside and outside the classroom."
A perfect complement to Blackboard Mobile Learn, Sprint 4G and the new Overdrive(TM) 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot can provide blazing fast speeds on any Wi-Fi-enabled device. The nation's first-ever 3G/4G mobile hotspot, Overdrive allows users to connect up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously - including laptops, gaming devices, cameras and even smartphones from other carriers - through a single connection to run seamlessly over Sprint's 3G or 4G network where available.* These technologies can support students, gathered in portable hotspots, downloading huge files, viewing video lectures, and accessing collaborative discussion boards powered by Blackboard Mobile Learn and Sprint 4G.
As part of the partnership, Sprint will also launch a comprehensive campus awareness campaign, including an outreach toolkit that participating clients can use to spread the word on Blackboard Mobile Learn, Sprint's device portfolio and discounted plans at their institution.
Blackboard Mobile Learn will be available initially for U.S. and Puerto Rico higher education and professional education clients on Blackboard Learn Releases 8, 9 and higher. Details on availability for K-12 and international markets, as well as for previous versions of Blackboard Learn and the WebCT and ANGEL platforms, will follow. Blackboard Mobile Learn will be enabled with the free Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block(TM), which is available for download today at Blackboard's client support Web site Behind the Blackboard.
For more information about Blackboard Mobile Learn, please visit http://blackboard.com/Mobile/Mobile-Platform.aspx
Powered by the Now Network, Sprint offers voice and data services for the education industry, including the first wireless 4G network from a national carrier; and has a full data-services portfolio including business-continuity, wireless, wireline and managed services and embedded mobile computing and M2M solutions. To learn more about Sprint's higher-ed solutions visit http://www.sprint.com/highereducation
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 48 million customers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The company's customer-focused strategy has led to improved first call resolution and customer care satisfaction scores. For more information, visit http://www.sprint.com/.
About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-K filed on February 17, 2010 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of March 22, 2010. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to March 22, 2010.
*Coverage not available everywhere.The 3G Sprint Mobile Broadband Network (including roaming) reaches over 273 million people. Sprint 4G is available in over 25 markets and counting, and on select devices. See sprint.com/4G for details.
Sukhi Sahni, 703-592-7779
Matt Maurer, 202-463-4860 x 2637