Samsung is awarding technology packages equaling $1 million to five finalist U.S. schools who participated in the company's Solve for Tomorrow contest, which aims to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
The contest was part of Samsung's Hope For Children social responsibility cause. While past contests revolved around written entries only, for this year's contest, Samsung sent video production kits (which included a Samsung laptop and video recorder) to 50 finalists to create videos about their projects. "So many kids now are working in the video space anyway, that's what user-generated content and YouTube is all about," David Steel, Samsung's EVP of strategy and corporate communications, tells Marketing Daily.
This year's contest was also the first to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (otherwise known as STEM), Steel says. "Obviously, as a technology company, Samsung is very focused on science and math education," he says. "We think they're important for the overall good of society. There's a danger of science and math not getting the attention or the resources they need."
The idea behind the contest was to make science and math "cool," Steel says. The focus led to projects about water quality, renewable energy and the carbon emissions from vehicles, he says.
"We wanted to get them out of the classroom where they're often seen as boring or hard," he says. "When we start talking about science and math outside the classroom in real world settings, it's something that anyone around the country can participate in."
West Salem High School in Oregon won a prize of technology prizes including projectors, smartboards, LED TVs, printers, laptops and software (valued at $155,000) for producing a video that explored renewable energy sources using the scientific method. Four other schools received packages valued at $80,000. The winner was chosen through a combination of public online voting and Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow panel of judges, which included representatives from Samsung, Microsoft, the Adobe Foundation, the National Environmental Education Foundation, Communities in Schools, Great Schools, TWICE Magazine, USA Today Education and Change the Equation.