Math class might be a little more fun for sixth-graders at Geeter Middle School, thanks to a new pilot program implemented by Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
The company has partnered with Memphis City Schools to launch its Smart School Solution Pilot, which was developed to increase classroom engagement and show the potential of technology in the classroom.
The first of its kind in the nation, the program provided Geeter's sixth-grade math class with 35 Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets, a 65-inch interactive whiteboard, and a wireless printer.
"You don't have those issues of children not being on task or not wanting to do math," said Geeter Middle math teacher Michael Green. "They can't wait to get to your class, because they want to use the devices."
The pilot project launched in September, and Green said students are still learning how to use the devices.
Jason Redmond, head of integrated marketing at Samsung's enterprise business division, said the company considered various schools across the nation but chose Geeter Middle because of its administration's passion for students, embracing technology, and helping improve the city's school district.
"[Geeter] has been very flexible and appreciative and open, which is exactly what we've been looking for in a pilot school," Redmond said. "[We wanted] someone who is going to work with us to make the solution better so when we do roll it out in the U.S., it's kid- and teacher-tested and approved."
Redmond said an engineer will visit the school on a bi-weekly basis to ensure the project is running smoothly and record feedback from the math class on how to improve the project.
The tablets allow students to access course materials and information from all their classes, write and photograph notes, and utilize the internet.
The tablet also has screen- and content-sharing features that allow teachers to lead lessons and group activities on the interactive whiteboard.
"From where I'm standing, I could hold my tablet in my hand and see what Johnny is doing. And if he's off task, I have a button that says pay attention," Green said. "[We also have a] 65-inch interactive whiteboard. It's just like a whiteboard but instead of me having to walk from the screen over to the board to explain the problem, I can do it over my tablet and send it to the students that I really need to send it to, or I can put it on the board for the entire class."
Cleon Franklin, director of instructional technology for Memphis City Schools, said the district is working to get the tablets placed in all of the school's classes.
"I expect this program, and programs like it, to produce higher test scores and a greater interest in the subject being taught," Franklin said. "As students learn faster, because they're motivated, teachers can go more in-depth into their subjects."
Redmond said he doesn't know yet if the project will be implemented within all MCS schools, but continuation at Geeter is indefinite. He said they're discussing using the project in other courses at Geeter.