Worldwide shipments of tablets continue to rise yet only 10 percent of U.S teachers reported using tablets during class. However this may change with Samsung’s new Samsung School, a digital classroom technology that combines the Galaxy Note tablet with teaching management software. Samsung says it’s a comprehensive solution with the ability to compete with Apple’s iPad.
On June 24th, Samsung announced the availability of Samsung School in Canada and the U.S. for students from kindergarten to the 12th grade; other markets are expected to follow. Students can use it as their primary learning and communication tool; it takes the place of textbooks, paper, pencils, and notebooks.
Samsung School Features
Samsung School allows educators to select online content for their students, including textbooks converted to digital format with traditional tabs and footnotes and improved features such as interactive graphics and video. Learning-management software allows screen sharing, group collaboration, student-screen monitoring, and instant quizzes.
Users can add components such as a notebook PC, a wireless printer, and a 55- or 65-inch digital e-board to replace or complement the traditional chalkboard. It also provides a mobile device management capability, which has already been used in school districts across Canada and the U.S. This allows for updates and deployment of applications and protection against filters and malware.
Philippe Lozier, the Director of Business Solutions for Toronto-based Samsung Canada, stated that Samsung has an edge in the market for digital-classroom offerings because they can manage a large number of devices. He said the standard retail pricing applies to hardware, software licenses, and the Android Note 10.1 tablet with S Pen stylus; and this offer is powerful enough to diminish the need for hardware giveaways and deep discounting, which are both tactics that have been used by company’s including Microsoft to get their tablets into classrooms. Samsung is partnering with the National Film Board of Canada to give students access to a variety of homegrown content for the Samsung School.
Kevin Bradbeer, Toronto District School Board Program Coordinator for Learning and Teaching Technology, said the iPad mini and the iPad are popular in their schools and that other devices are used much less frequently. However, he says the board is considering Android devices because of their competitive pricing and open-source software.
Toronto Board, which is the largest in Canada with over 250,000 students, allows individuals schools to fund mobile technology purchases. Some teachers even let their students bring their own devices to school as long as they follow specific requirements.
A major benefit of mobile computing is that learning can be extended past school hours, but it’s still up to parents and teachers to ensure that students focus on the acceptable use of technology. The trial process for Samsung School shows how tablet PCs and new software can engage and encourage students, while improving the educational experience.