Samsung has set up an interesting partnership that sees its entry-level, small business-focused digital signage solution Pro TV used in classrooms for distance learning and collaboration.
The electronics giant partnered with Academica – one of the largest charter school support organizations in the U.S. – to “reimagine the classroom for the 21st century.” Feedback from parents indicated that, amid COVID-19, what they most wanted to see was a mixture of classes in both physical and online classrooms.
Given this feedback, says Samsung PR, Academica knew incorporating more technology in the on-campus classrooms would be paramount and quickly began designing the Classroom of the Future (COTF). As a result of that study, Academica is installing 4,500 Samsung Pro TVs in over 2,300 classrooms in 125 of its schools across several states including Florida, South Carolina and Nevada. Plans are currently in place to roll out the solution in other states over the next few months.
The screens are equipped with Col?gia, a digital education operating system that acts as a UX hub for applications, content and communications, Samsung Pro TVs give both remote and in-person students the ability to interact with each other and their teacher in a live format.
“We are thrilled to partner with Samsung to help our students, teachers and administrators get back to the classroom safely and efficiently,” says Antonio L. Roca, Managing Director, Academica Virtual Education. “When schools shifted to virtual learning at the start of the pandemic this spring, we took it as an opportunity to shift our way of thinking about the traditional classroom. The display solutions provided by Samsung allowed us to create an environment that allows each student to thrive no matter their location.”
As students and teachers embark on their remote learning journeys and in-person classroom setting, Samsung and their trusted partners will keep powering schools in the Academica network with innovative display technology solutions to reimagine the learning experience. These include nationally-ranked networks such as Somerset Academy, Mater Academy, Doral Academy, Pinecrest Academy, CIVICA, International Studies Charter and the Sports Leadership Arts and Management (SLAM) Charter Schools, founded by GRAMMY-winning international superstar, education advocate, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Armando Christian Perez (Pitbull).
”That’s what it’s all about…reinventing yourself, challenging yourself, pivoting…and that’s exactly what our schools are doing,” says Perez. “I’m really proud of the amazing work the teachers, parents, students and administrators have put in to make this happen. We’re changing the game on how kids learn and appreciate Samsung’s help in making it happen.”
Large format displays allow teachers to adapt to the new normal and engage with each student on a one-to-one level whether they are in a physical classroom or in a remote setting.
Samsung launched its Pro TV earlier this year, unfortunately timing the launch of a budget-friendly prosumer smart TV with bundled MagicINFO-ish software just as the pandemic really hit and many small businesses were forced to close their door and cut operating and capital budgets to the bone.
With most businesses back open now, often under new operating rules, digital signage displays make a lot of sense for operators who need to communicate a lot of regular change to customers. A high-bright, outdoor-ready version makes a lot of sense for restaurants who added or expanded patios to deal with indoor capacity restrictions.
One of the things I liked about this product is that simplified controls are ALL hived into a smartphone app, not just some. So a cafe manager or, in this use case, a teacher, can just make changes on the fly while walking around, away from any desktop.
I don’t remember much in Samsung’s initial marketing to suggest education and classrooms was a vertical for this, but that’s clearly happening. It makes sense that school districts and organizations would see some attraction to display solutions integrated with education-focused software in ways perhaps not possible with normal smart TVs. They’d also like the idea of three year commercial warranties, rather than the one year they’d get using consumer TVs.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.