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I’ve created a timeline for “The History of Pearson” as part of my larger research into the political and financial networks that shape education technology.

I’ve been meaning for quite some time to write an article about how a construction company founded in Yorkshire in 1844 could go on to become the world’s largest education company. At the very least, my timeline details all the investments that the giant conglomerate has made before finally turning its focus to education.

The timeline is at once both too detailed and too incomplete. I’ve used timeline.js to build it, and the Knight Lab (maker of the tool) suggests limiting the timeline to 20 slides. Mine has almost 200.

Much of the data in it comes from Pearson’s own website, but its timeline stops at 2014. And it is a rather carefully constructed narrative to underscore certain elements of its business. There’s no mention of Pearson’s oil interests, for example. There’s no mention of “Pineapple-gate.”

Consider this a work-in-progress. I’ll continue to fill in the gaps with missing details. (As this larger project is powered by a GitHub repository, you can always leave a message there or file an “issue” if you see something I’ve overlooked.)

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Audrey Watters


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