Samsung Group’s Solar-Powered Schools at UNESCO

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Samsung Group’s solar-powered schools were recently showcased at UNESCO in South Korea. The original equipment manufacturer has opened more than a thousand smart classrooms worldwide as part of its corporate citizenship program to leverage its tech solutions and improve learning experiences in almost a hundred countries.

Samsung Group is not just about making high-end and stylish smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, appliances, accessories, the Internet of Things and other “smart” stuff, but it is also trying to contribute to mankind’s benefit by introducing several measures and initiatives. One of its humanitarian efforts is opening more than a thousand smart classrooms all over the world.

The South Korean conglomerate’s Internet Schools Programme is a venue of tech-rich teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms. Hosting the pilot programme are five African countries, namely, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. The goal is to go into more countries in the future and to reach two and a half million learners.

The program focuses on Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure, such as the e-board, Note PCs and multi-purpose printers. It aims to carry out infrastructure deployment and educators’ professional development and management, and then share the best practices in ICT integration to improve the learning process.

Samsung Group’s e-board makes cross-group collaboration possible among learners and educators regardless of geographical boundaries. The e-board can access the Internet, video conference, and embed the Note PC and connect it to the lab’s Note PCs, which, when done simultaneously, are amazing teaching and learning experiences for educators and learners alike.

Overall, Samsung Group’s education program helps innovate tools for teachers so they can engage the pupils and control the digital classroom. Teachers can track the activities of their students in the classroom and provide private, personal coaching based on the student’s understanding level with Screen Monitoring. The latter enables educators to monitor their student’s progress remotely and individually, providing quick attention in interactive ways.

The teachers can activate the Samsung Group device’s content and apps across devices, as well as take control of the classroom and student messages, for example. Also, there is the Lesson Toolbar, which allows teachers to use various sources, educations apps and web content easily and quickly. Teachers can write on a screen, share screens, monitor, and even lock screens.

The Group Discussion feature of the smart school allows up to six participants in Screen Sharing to write on the screen simultaneously, and also for productive real-time collaboration. There is also the Separable Canvas that enables splitting of an image into sections so that each group member completes their part of the assignment. The feature also lets the group leader combine the split sections and submit them to the teacher.

Samsung Group’s solar-powered smart schools, showcased at UNESCO, started when the tech firm tried to open schools in Africa in 2011. It was hindered due to the lack of a dependable power supply, as less than 25 percent of the country’s rural areas have electricity, while those who do have an unstable supply. Samsung then designed a solar-powered smart school for Africa, and called it Solar-Powered Internet School.

SPIS units have since sprung up across 15 African countries, and the numbers keep increasing. There is an ongoing walkathon raising support to build more. It proves that technology can bring global villages together under a common goal. Solar-Powered Internet schools are doing well in Africa because the place gets plenty of sunlight during the day.

Although constructed in Africa, Samsung Group’s solar-powered schools were showcased at UNESCO, in Incheon, South Korea’s World Education Forum from May 19 to 22. The recent UNESCO event was aimed at using education to transform lives with its “Equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030” theme. UNESCO leads the way, and partnered with six co-conveners during the Incheon education forum.

By Judith Aparri

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Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License