Samsung Empowers Educators During a Summer of Teaching and Learning
For educators, summer break serves as an important period to refresh and prepare for the upcoming school year by evaluating lesson plans, participating in professional development programs and building new teaching strategies with their peers.
Samsung Electronics America celebrated the summer season by participating in key education events promoting K-12 learners and educators. Kicking off activities in New York, Samsung sponsored the Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs Mayor’s Cup (June 10) before traveling down to Philadelphia for the 2023 ISTELive conference (June 25-28), where the team showcased its innovative technology and pedagogy to K-12 educators and decision-makers. Samsung capped off its summer education event series at its Executive Briefing Center in the Nation’s Capital by hosting the first Arts Innovation Institute session (July 10-12) in partnership with D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and others.
If you weren’t able to attend these education events in person, here are three key takeaways that you need to know for an A+ school year.
Gaming fosters STEM skills and opens the doors to exciting careers
K-12 educators are increasingly employing game-based pedagogy like Minecraft Education in the classroom to help students appreciate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and build high-demand skills of the future, such as problem-solving, project management and collaboration. New York City Mayor Eric Adams selected Minecraft Education as the creative medium for the Battle of the Boroughs contest—the first event of the NYC Summer of Games, a summerlong celebration of the city’s growing digital games community. The contest challenged K-12 student teams to design a future-ready New York in alignment with the Mayor’s initiatives and SDGs to improve public safety, connectivity, resilience and sustainability.
The Battle of the Boroughs began with a qualifying round between April 22 and May 20, where 25 student teams—five from each borough—presented their vision to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and improve inclusivity and accessibility for all residents. Judges from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) reviewed the entries based on originality, potential social impact and demonstrated teamwork, narrowing the competition down to one team from each borough to advance to a live build challenge at the Mayor’s Cup at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on June 10.
Hailing from Staten Island, the PS 58 Girls Who Code Club won the Mayor’s Cup junior trophy for an eco-friendly city design promoting electric-powered public transportation, solar energy and air purification systems. Students from John Dewey High School in Brooklyn took home the top prize for their idea to transform wastelands into public parks. Each student winner received a trophy, certificate, gaming console and gifts from sponsors.
In addition to the Battle of the Boroughs competition, the Mayor’s Cup included a digital games career expo, where students learned about career opportunities in gaming, from sports management and broadcasting to engineering and advertising. Dr. Micah Shippee, Director of Education Technology Consulting and Solutions of Samsung Electronics America, and Michele Gill Conte, Senior Manager at Samsung Electronics America, met with teachers and student teams at the expo to discuss their schools’ esports and Career Technical Education programs.
“All participants in this year’s Battle of the Boroughs competition successfully demonstrated how smart ideas coupled with the right skills and technology create positive change in the world,” said Dr. Shippee. “We commend Mayor Adams, the NYCDOE’s Randy Asher, Jose Perez, Anthony Casanovas and Sean Arnold, and the amazing educators in New York City for creating new learning opportunities like these as they reaffirm how esports programs enable students to explore their passions and find new pathways to promising careers.”
Dr. Shippee and Conte also gave expo attendees a sneak preview of the Samsung Interactive Display before its official launch to demonstrate how these tools enrich student learning experiences. Like game-based learning, interactive displays engage students with fun, hands-on learning and teamwork.
Collaborative classrooms spark active learning and engagement
Following the Battle of the Boroughs competition, the Samsung Display team traveled to Philadelphia for ISTELive, one of the most influential K-12 conferences in the world. At the show, Samsung debuted the new Interactive Display and met with educators to address pressing education issues, such as advancing educational equity, tackling learning gaps and boosting student engagement. A recent study from Gradient Learning revealed that 50 percent of students feel unengaged, prompting educators to seek new strategies that spur excitement in the classroom and reduce associated challenges like learning loss and declining test scores.
In the wake of the pandemic, these classroom challenges remain imminent concerns for educators and students. Samsung Education Coaches hosted 38 interactive sessions at the company’s in-booth Teaching Theater, all of which explained how the Samsung Interactive Display can promote active learning, spark joy among students and improve knowledge retention through collaboration and connectivity.
In the session, “But How Do I Use Sketchnoting in the Classroom?” Rachel Swanson, Samsung Education Coach, used the Interactive Display’s intuitive writing and drawing features to showcase sketchnoting as a tool for students to visually map information by creating shapes and making connections. Sketchnoting fosters the active processing of new concepts and activates a student’s visual and kinesthetic memory, which improves knowledge retention and recalling information during tests. Swanson invited session attendees to practice sketchnoting on the Interactive Display, taking advantage of its multi-touch feature that allows up to 20 users to write and draw on the screen simultaneously.
In another session, “Teaching Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Empathy Through Virtual Field Trips,” Dee Lanier, instructional design expert and Samsung Education Coach, shared how virtual field trips breathe new life into lesson plans and make learning exciting and accessible for all students. He recommended using Interactive Displays with solutions like Google Earth and Google Arts & Culture to allow students to virtually tour renowned international museums, historical sites and natural wonders. Lanier shared that exposure to people, sights, art, environments and cultures from around the world builds SEL competencies, such as empathy, self-awareness and social awareness—critical skills for students throughout their lives.
The ISTELive conference also allowed educators and school leaders to engage in thoughtful discussions surrounding the future of education. Conversations at the show ranged from enthusiasm for AI’s potential to enhance individualized learning to concerns about the technology’s potential impact on academic integrity. Matt Miller, speaker and author of “Ditch That Textbook,” presented a guest session in the Samsung Teaching Theater focused on AI titled “Six AI Conversations Every School Should Have.” Rather than fear AI disruption, Miller urged educators to adapt their curricula to foster skills needed to work with the technology in the future. He also advised teaching responsible AI usage to students and exploring new efficiencies in teaching by letting AI take over routine parts of the school day, such as lesson planning, drafting emails to parents and administrative paperwork. Full playbacks of Miller’s sessions and supporting resources are available at ditch.link/Samsung.
Samsung’s world-class Education Coaches were in demand throughout all of ISTE. The team’s well-known thought-leadership perspectives were shared from partner booths to the ISTE mainstage. While the four days at ISTELive went by quickly, the inspiring ideas and teaching strategies presented at the show will have a lasting impact on collaboration in classrooms nationwide.
Merge technology and art to promote student creative expression
To conclude its summer of teaching and learning, Samsung partnered with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and companies, including Adobe, Soundtrap for Education and Fender, to launch the first annual Arts Innovation Institute event (July 10-12) in the nation’s capital. The DCPS Arts team, which sits within the school district’s Office of Teaching and Learning, works closely with educators and school decision-makers to cultivate students’ ability to create and develop high-demand skills like critical problem-solving. Samsung collaborated with Lindsey Vance, Arts Innovation Manager for the DCPS Office of Teaching and Learning Social Emotional Academic Development, to develop an agenda that merged technology with arts education to help DCPS fine arts teachers inject new creativity, collaboration and communication in their classrooms.
The inaugural Arts Innovation Institute gathering kicked off at the Samsung Executive Briefing Center with a keynote led by Dr. Shippee about AI in Education. Dr. Shippee discussed change management in AI adoption, asking the fine arts teachers to consider:
- What will I do with this new technology?
- What will my students do with it?
- How will I monitor their use?
- How will I maintain it?
These questions are as relevant for AI as previous classroom technologies like calculators and Chromebooks.
Putting the ISTELive demonstrations into practice, Dr. Shippee and Rachel Swanson led a series of creative workshops for DCPS educators on sketchnoting, podcasting and generative AI-powered photo editing.
Following the EBC activities, Swanson led a group visit to the Planet Word Museum, an innovative language arts museum in Northwest Washington, to illustrate how the museum’s interactive exhibits inspire enthusiasm for language among young learners. At the museum, Swanson gave a keynote presentation in which she linked the vital role that art and music play in student storytelling. Swanson guided the group in a storytelling experience, asking participants to craft and share their own stories from teaching. The session culminated in the teachers identifying how their stories can be the catalyst for change in their advocacy for arts in education.
As a cap to the three-day event, Caitlin Ward, Director of Education at Plant Word, hosted a private tour of the museum, giving the DCPS educators a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of the museum’s immersive exhibits, inspiring them to incorporate similar technology in their classrooms.
The summer education event series allowed Samsung to connect with educators and engage in thoughtful dialogue on ways to shape the future of learning. From the profound impact esports can have in boosting student collaboration to the many ways display technology unleashes creative expression in digital arts, Samsung continues to work with K-12 schools across the nation to make these concepts a reality.
On his next stop, Dr. Shippee will speak with educators at the South Colonie School District in Albany, New York, on Sept. 5 about seizing the opportunity to adopt innovative technologies and teaching methods to prepare students for the future.