Samsung Markets to Schools

Simba Information talked to Samsung senior manager education Diane Ashby about company efforts in K-12 in the March 28 issue of Electronic Education Report. An accompanying article in the issue details Samsung’s partnerships with three school districts.

Samsung (Ridgefield Park, NJ) is a brand widely known in the consumer space that also competes in the K-20 market; this spring the company is introducing new Chromebook and tablet options for schools.

Samsung is hearing that there are three areas where the company now can help schools with their technology, Diane Ashby, who joined the company to bring focus and structure to its education efforts five years ago, toldEER. Those areas are:

• implementing 1:1, particularly as schools bring in more devices to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards and related assessments;

• facilitating the use of digital content as schools move toward an all-digital environment; and

•working with chief innovation officers, a title emerging in the district hierarchy as schools look to think outside the box to come up with sustainable solutions that transform teaching and learning.

“In the past, all decisions were internal in education-between the superintendent and his cabinet,” Ashby said. “Now external forces are saying here is what you need to do in terms of standards, differentiating learning and measuring performance.”

There is pressure to immerse technology into teaching and learning and there are increased expectations for teachers and students, Ashby said. It is a significant burden on schools to educate and graduate more college- and career-ready students at the same time they are dealing with reduced budgets, more state mandates and the changes brought by Common Core.

One of the biggest disconnects that Samsung would like to help address is that a generation of mobile learners that spends every waking moment interacting with technology goes to a school environment where they see little technology use.

“Technology needs to be immersive in their learning,” Ashby said. “There is no one right answer; schools have a plethora of choices.” She cited picking operating systems, form factors and whether the learning environment will be bring-your-own-device, blended, flipped classroom or game-based as some of the choices to be made.

Chromebooks and Tablets

Samsung offers a portfolio of technology and solutions to schools, including Chromebooks and tablets. In March, the company introduced the Chromebook 2 series, offering upgrades to its original $249 Samsung Chromebook. A $319 Chromebook added longer battery life and a faster processor; a $399 Chromebook extended battery life and included a 13-inch high-definition display.

In April, Samsung will introduce the Samsung Galaxy Tablet for Education, which includes a Google Android console for management capabilities and integrates Google Play for Education to provide digital content that is vetted, curated and easily downloadable.

The tablet was built with a lot of input from school districts, content providers and educational technology companies, Ashby said. Ashby said the market advantage for Samsung’s tablet will be its easy set up. When one tablet is ready to deploy, it can set up future tablets by tapping one tablet to another.

Samsung partners with traditional publishers, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Boston), Pearson (London and New York) and McGraw-Hill Education (New York), as well as a range of technology providers including ePals (Herndon, VA), BrainPOP (New York) and Kno (Santa Clara, CA).•