Will ‘Samsung School’ Classroom Technology Program Spread?

Samsung Electronics America has a new offering for schools in the United States that it claims will help close the ‘digital divide.'

In Arizona, the Eloy Intermediate School District has deployed "Samsung School" across 15 classrooms, becoming the first school in the U.S. to use Samsung's classroom technology, writes David Yankus of Tri Valley Central.

Samsung School's digital classroom package includes a fleet of Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets, interactive whiteboards with large format displays, and wireless printers, all tied together by classroom management software meant to create a dynamic learning environment.

As a part of Samsung School, every student individually receives a Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung's Android-powered tablet device, to use during the school day. The Galaxy Note 10.1 features advanced S Pen technology that provides the functionality and precision of a pen and paper on the tablet's display.

Eloy Elementary School District Superintendent Ruby James explained why they chose Samsung over its competitors. "We flew to Vegas and tested out the Apple store and Apple products, but we just didn't feel right with them," said James. "Samsung was with us every step of the way, with the technology, with the support, with the education and teaching us how to use all of their products. It's a great technology tool."

According to school district officials, they investigated and considered three other companies before selecting Samsung. Eloy Intermediate School's technology coach Kevin Ousler said Samsung offers a complete package and brings everything the school needed to be successful with technology.

"If we had the funds for it, I would put this in every classroom and in every student's hands, from kindergarten all the way to high school," James added. "The students are engaged, they're talking about it, they're excited and they're learning. It's our responsibility to get them prepared for what they're going to face in the outside world, and technology like this is now and will be a big part of that world."

Eloy Intermediate School implemented the Samsung School program at the beginning of the school year in early Augustafter teachers were trained on the Samsung School products they would be using. The three-day professional development and instruction seminar taught the teachers everything they would need going forward.

Diane Ashby, national business development manager for education for Samsung Electronics America said: "The power of the pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note and the capability that that gives the student is astounding. The Samsung multi-function printer allows students and teachers to print wirelessly and even input hardcopy lessons the teacher wants to scan into the system. The interactive white board can mirror any tablet's screen, display anything the teacher chooses, or can be used as a white board for students to work on."

Teachers at Eloy Intermediate School are very satisfied with Samsung's new educational technology. Irene Avila, a sixth-grade teacher, said that she enjoys using new management tool that enables teachers to manage "what the students are doing, where they are going, what sites they are visiting, and how advanced they are or if they need extra teaching."

According to Ashby, Samsung intends to continue expansion of Samsung Schools throughout the U.S. The company's officials will regularly invite school representatives from all over the country interested in the program to its headquarters in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, where a replica of a Samsung School classroom exists.

"We'll continue to make improvements in the solution and we're really looking forward to getting input from the teachers and students and incorporating that feedback into improvements in the classroom solution," Ashby said. "We will continue to evolve as the needs of the students and teachers evolve."

In the education technology market, Samsung will be facing a tough competition for market share from Apple, Microsoft and Google.

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