For the third installment of the Meet the Partners series, we spoke to Poontana. This partner harnessed the power of the Android-powered Smart UX ecosystem to develop the Providence Smart Checking app for Samsung MFPs – a custom printing solution for Thailand education professionals.
Being a teacher is not easy. Ask educators anywhere and they will tell you they often have to deal with labor-intensive tasks that eat up precious time.
For teachers at Soponpittaya School, in Thailand’s Songkhla Province, grading tests was once a particularly grueling task. With over 3,000 students taking tests, teachers often spent days manually checking students’ answer sheets for end-of-semester exams.
Teachers used home-made answer keys, placing them over each answer sheet and checking each sheet individually. The process was time-intensive and frustrating, often taking up to a week to complete. Errors were not uncommon. And to make matters worse, every time they issued a new test, teachers would have to create new answer keys.
Some schools made use of automatic grading machines. However, these machines could be unproblematic. Each machine had to be used in conjunction with a computer, a printer and a monitor. The machines were also a hassle to setup. Furthermore, they were expensive, so most schools that chose to use this solution could only afford a limited number of machines. Teachers often had to wait in line to use the grading machines – wasting yet more valuable time.
In stepped Poontana, a Thailand-based Samsung partner that offers printing products, software solutions and after-sales services to businesses in Thailand and other ASEAN countries. Poontana realized that, with a help from Samsung’s Smart UX Center, it could develop a teacher-friendly, time-saving solution to help teachers.
Making the Grade
Poontana wanted its solution to do away with the need for additional hardware. The partner wanted to utilize the customizable nature of Samsung MFPs – as well as their advanced scanning capabilities.
The idea was to give students optical mark recognition (OMR) answer sheets printed out on A4 paper. These could then be scanned and analyzed using Samsung MFPs, providing teachers with instant results. With advanced OMR scanning functionality, Samsung MFPs can make light work of often-laborious checking tasks.
Getting the details right took some time, and trial-and-error was needed to ensure Poontana’s app truly met the needs of Thailand’s teaching community. However, after more than a year of innovation, the partner realized it had created a stable and accurate app. The Providence Smart Checking application for the Smart UX Center was born.
A Poontana spokesperson says, “The biggest challenge was linking the application’s algorithm with the Smart UX Center. However, the great support we received from Samsung made that process easy.”
For Soponpittaya School teachers, the whole grading process has been reduced to four simple steps. Now all teachers need to do is print out answer sheets, collect these after the students have filled them in, scan them on Samsung MFPs and analyze the results using the Providence app. The entire process can be completed directly from the Smart UX Center’s tablet-like touchscreen interface.
A Poontana official says, “There’s no doubt that Smart UX is one of the best operating systems available for any MFP. With it, developers can create ideas and new applications. We can fulfill customers’ needs with nearly unlimited possibilities.”
The Providence app has proven to be a hit at Soponpittaya School, where teachers now use advanced app functionality to add the school’s logo and students’ names to answer sheets. With three Samsung M4580FX MFPs, all running the Providence app, life has become a lot easier for Soponpittaya teachers. Educators now have more time to spend on more important tasks, such as lesson planning.
The Providence Smart Checking app has also proven popular among teachers elsewhere in the country. So far, over 350 Samsung MFPs (all equipped with the Smart UX Center and the Providence app) have been delivered to schools nationwide. That represents a lot of time and effort saved – and a lot of happy teachers!