As the classroom doors close for the summer break, other doors are opening for channel partners who have a heightened focus on classroom solutions for the K-12 education market.
At the International Society for Technology in Education 2014 conference in Atlanta, Intel Corp. announced new education-specific product reference designs created by the chip maker’s education division. These reference designs focus on the active student and active learning culture. One of the many challenges facing the K-12 education market is that school administrators deal with limited staff resources and, on average, manage five vendor partner relationships.
John Galvin, vice-president of sales and marketing and general manager of Intel Education, said instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to transforming education, Intel provides a variety of different tools – including devices, software, content and professional development services – to ensure that school districts can choose the right solution to achieve student success.
Supporting the new Intel reference designs at the event were Samsung and Panasonic. The two companies have rallied around Intel’s platform and are instructing educators to invest in an education consultant who can offer turnkey solutions that could resolve procurement challenges as well as prove an answer to student digital needs.
One of the new products unveiled at the event is the Panasonic 3E tablet, which the company says has been designed for the active learning and active student’s lifestyle. The 3E tablet comes with a detachable keyboard build on Intel’s 2 in 1 reference K-12 design. This product also comes with a software bundle of K-12 apps and features a thermometer probe, on-board cameras and an add-on lens that can turn a science and mathematics class into hands-on lab.
The Panasonic 3E was developed in collaboration with Microsoft Corp.
Intel also showcased the Kno* app, a turnkey solution for deploying a digital education curriculum.
Samsung has branded its offering “Samsung School.” The Galaxy tablet device is a fully integrated one-to-one learning solution that combines large-format displays and is designed to be more intuitive and participatory. Samsung already have 50 deployments of the Samsung School around the world.
Tod Pike, senior vice-president of Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division, said the Samsung School creates a dynamic digital classroom environment, melding together the very best classroom technology with interactive teaching tools to improve student outcomes. Samsung School comes with classroom management tools such as screen sharing, student screen monitoring and device control. Teachers can now create a customized lesson toolbar providing the ability to launch an app on all student devices, send a resource or URL, or initiate a group activity.
According to Pike, the intuitive user interface enables teachers to create quizzes that allow students to answer with images, sketches and other multimedia. Group collaboration features enable students to simultaneously contribute on a shared screen using personal tablets, or merge individual assignments into one to submit seamless group projects. For the channel, Samsung School is available in several packages and configurations for school districts and these districts can deploy the product with or without a school server.
In addition, Samsung announced plans to make an EDU SDK (Software Developers Kit) available to channel partners and ISV developers that will enable them to integrate Samsung School’s in-class features and device management capabilities into their own applications for Samsung Galaxy tablets. The Samsung EDU SDK, which will be available globally this fall, will further expand the Samsung School ecosystem.
Digital inking was also a big part of this combine announcement. Margo Day, vice-president, U.S. Education for Microsoft, said the collaboration with Panasonic to create a STEM-centered Windows 8.1 student device at an affordable price is an important pillar in that effort. The 3E comes in at $499.
“Today’s students are digital natives, and we can’t expect them to respond to learning environments and lessons that are devoid of technology,” said Rance Poehler, president, Panasonic system communications in North America. “We hear from students, teachers and administrators that technology is making a difference in student engagement and performance. In fact, technology-based classes have reported an 81 percent increase in high-stakes test scores, according to Project RED.”
With this launch, Panasonic introduced Panasonic Education Pricing (PEP), a new program that offers K-12 institutions deep discounts from retail pricing.
There was also a Canadian connection to this joint announcement. Global education solution provider Promethean, which has Canadian operations based in Aurora, Ont., was part of this massive classroom launch. The company introduced its ClassFlow Student application for Windows 8 and single sign-on integration with Office 365. ClassFlow is a new “all-in-one” interactive lesson orchestration platform for creating and delivering interactive multimedia lessons in today’s connected classroom. With ClassFlow, teachers can share the interactive lessons being delivered on front-of-classroom digital surfaces such as interactive whiteboards to any student-owned devices running Windows 8, such as Surface Pro tablets and Windows RT-enabled devices.