As technology advances, electronic products have penetrated into every aspect of people’s lives. The growth of smartphone and tablet usage is truly amazing. By the end of 2016, predictions show 36% of population of UK will have tablets, and 90% will have mobile phones. Undeniably, the world is getting faster and more efficient thanks to the technological breakthroughs, many of which also innovate the way of teaching in schools. Nowadays, many schools are using multi-media to support teaching and enhance the interactive learning experience. Instead of traditional paper books, the e-book and the smartboard are increasingly being used and tablets have become a facilitating toolkit with various software applications.

The SAM project, co-funded by the European Commission, now potentially offers such an application on tablet (2nd screen) and TV (1st screen) to transform teaching and learning into a truly interactive experience.

Interactive teaching. Image by Lars Plougmann

Interactive teaching. Image by Lars Plougmann

Enhancing traditional teaching experience

SAM significantly enhances the traditional way of teaching at school: while the basic elements of classical teaching remain present, the presentation of subject matter and interactivity are much richer. The teacher defines the topic of the day by selecting the main video running on the first screen, and the corresponding widgets are sent to each student. These widgets are prepared in advance by the teacher to cover the designated topic of the lesson. This means that the teacher can guide students in the order of preference from widget to widget, generating interactions similar to what happens today when the teacher lectures in front of the blackboard.

Thanks to SAM’s ability to automatically retrieve relevant information from different sources such as Wikipedia, newspapers, bibliographies and multi-media content the lesson is greatly enriched by providing a second phase where students can browse through these extra widgets according to their own centre of interest. During this new second phase, extra information is shared amongst the teacher and the other students. Undoubtedly, this new phase of the lesson introduces a different light on the subject covered in the class, generating new questions and reactions from the students.

Learning by teaching

As well as enhancing the traditional teacher-to-student relation, SAM could also help in developing student-to-student learning. In 1795 the Scotsman Andrew Bell wrote a book about the mutual teaching method that he observed and used himself in Madras, India. Decades later, in 1815 “learning by teaching” was introduced in France in the “écoles mutuelles“, because of the increase of number of students and the shortage of teachers. Nowadays, teaching is promoted as an efficient way to learn not only for scientific knowledge, but also for practical skills.

“When compared to learners expecting a test, learners expecting to teach recalled more material correctly, they organised their recall more effectively, and they had better memory for especially important information,” says John Nestojko, a researcher in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

There are many advantages when students act or simulate the role of teacher. First of all, students gain great motivation because of an increased sense of responsibility. Furthermore, it is good to cultivate the spirit of teamwork and build up self-confidence. With the SAM 2nd screen application, students are able to communicate and interact freely with classmates, ask questions in the community, initiate teamwork by inviting other students to join the discussion in a chatroom as well as being a teacher for a certain chapter. SAM is well suited as a peer-teaching platform and motivates students by offering them the possibility of creating their own widgets and explaining these to their classmates.

Link to outside world

Originally tablets became popular inside classrooms as they allow students to easily access the knowledge without carrying heavy books. More and more smart devices also used for social interactions with the external world.

Video: using Social Media in the Classroom

Video: using Social Media in the Classroom. Click on image for video.

SAM has the opportunity to become the appropriately safe platform to address this need as it integrates existing social media like Twitter and Facebook, as well as its own protected SAM community.

Getting insights from external world or sharing remarks with people outside of the classroom has never been so easy. Thanks to SAM, students can also connect to other schools in other countries and easily interact with them.

SAM provides a great opportunity to bring teaching to the next level by enhancing interactivity not only between the teacher and the students, but also among classmates and even between the classroom and the external world. Beyond the traditional classroom teaching, SAM also facilitates virtual meetings, remote sharing, instant messaging, allowing fostering strong communication between distance learners and teacher.

On top of this enhanced interactivity, the 2nd screen in the hands of the student allows the school to be always open (as the content is also available from home) and it offers personalised learning by providing a vast variety of widgets. As a result each student is able to have the opportunity to dig deeper into the aspects they prefer, whilst an appraisal widget provides an ideal tool for the teacher to evaluate the efficiency of the learning session by providing direct feedback leading to improvement in the learning experience.

Also read about:

SAM user Context Management and Personalization

Evaluating User Engagement with the SAM Platform

Spoken Dialogue Capabilities in SAM

Socialising Around Media with Wi-Fi Aware™

How SAM provides an endless stream of relevant & rich content

Surfing an Ocean of Extended Content

and: SAM and Marvelous Metadata

For additional information about the technologies involved in the SAM project take a look at our public wiki page and/or  follow us via our Twitter channel.