As K-12 educators look ahead to the next school year and a return to classroom-based learning, they know they have a lot of catching up to do. More than 97 percent of teachers reported seeing some learning loss in their students over the past year, while 55 percent say their students have fallen behind by more than three months, according to a survey by Horace Mann.

If there’s a silver lining, though, it’s the adoption of new digital technology that schools implemented to support remote learning — and which can now enable a more connected classroom. Budget-strapped school districts also have new funding opportunities to tap into, with the American Rescue Plan setting aside $122 billion for elementary and secondary school emergency relief to support the re-opening of classrooms.

The global pandemic has made an enormous impact on education. The unscheduled switch to remote learning forced many school IT teams to accelerate their deployment of digital technology. Some were already well on their way to a 1:1 device ratio (one device for each student), while others started from scratch, working to identify the best devices, online learning platforms and teacher training. Among U.S. children ages 6 to 17, 14 percent don’t have access to home internet, so districts also had to find creative ways to provide them connectivity.

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Even if the 2021-22 school year begins with in-person learning throughout the U.S., districts are now more prepared than ever to meet unexpected circumstances such as local emergencies and outbreaks. Teachers can quickly pivot to remote learning days as needed, minimizing the risk of more learning loss.

A positive perspective on the next normal

Traditional classroom learning with paper-based materials has sufficed for many generations of students, but the 2021-22 school year has different needs. Today’s students are growing up in a digital environment and need to be comfortable with using technology in the workplace. Because most districts now provide every student with a tablet or Chromebook, teachers are able to introduce students to digital tools and foster collaborative learning starting in the early elementary years. With the right technology, teacher training and lesson plans, digital learning can be both flexible and effective — whether it’s done remotely or in the classroom.

In remote learning, modern videoconferencing and collaboration software allows students to work together on group projects, ask questions and make presentations. Back in the classroom, a combination of student devices and interactive displays can facilitate group work and help students become familiar with technologies they’re likely to use in the future. Student devices can connect to large interactive displays, allowing them to share presentations with audio and video elements. Teachers can deliver content to students’ devices simultaneously, creating a fluid transition between group discussion and individual work. Ultimately, the new classroom must seamlessly integrate technology with live interaction to enrich the learning experience.

How Samsung can help

Enhancing digital learning has been a focus for Samsung for the past decade. We’ve helped thousands of schools integrate technology and achieve a 1:1 device ratio with Chromebooks and Galaxy tablets. Through these initiatives, we’ve seen how putting technology in the right hands can boost engagement, inspire participation and improve learning outcomes.

The role of technology in students’ lives has changed. Even for districts that had already proactively adopted a 1:1 computing model, the primary method of instruction pre-pandemic was still face-to-face, with technology playing a supporting role. That model has since flipped; these devices are the classroom now.

Today’s K-12 students comprise a generation of digital natives. Students need technology that makes them feel empowered and excited to learn. We see that engagement with mobile devices like our new Galaxy Chromebook, Chromebook Plus LTE, Galaxy Tab S5e, and Tab S6 Lite, which give students the ability to multitask effectively, to interact naturally with vivid, responsive touchscreens and to use the S Pen to get creative. These devices bring a digital curriculum to life.

For group work, we offer 4K digital whiteboards with incredible collaborative capabilities, including tracking 20 concurrent touchpoints. Students can write on the interactive display with a stylus that feels just like pen on paper, or capture, crop and edit images right on the screen.

At the same time, schools’ IT leaders need technology that is reliable, easy to manage remotely and secure for learning. Thanks to the Chrome admin console, Chromebooks and Galaxy tablets — paired with our Knox device management capabilities — meet those needs and are a proven platform for scaling up to 1:1.

Every student should have the opportunity to learn in a connected, digital environment. At Samsung, we’ve got the technology, the ecosystem and the expertise to help. In partnership with a host of digital curriculum partners and education-focused integrators, we’re making sure students continue to learn every day.

As you plan how to provide digital learning solutions for your K-12 schools in the next normal, Samsung’s breadth of education technology offers unmatched flexibility. And if your students are still learning remotely at least part-time, try out these 17 multidisciplinary lesson plans to teach more effectively with modern tools.

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Hamshy Raveendran

Hamshy Raveendran leads Product Management and Go-to-Market for Samsung’s B2B Mobile division. With over 15 years’ experience in the mobile space, Hamshy has a passion for helping customers transform their operations through innovative mobility solutions. Prior to her current role, Hamshy led sales engagements with some of Samsung’s largest enterprise customers across retail and healthcare.

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