SAM Labs Team Kit
SAM Labs Team Kit

SAM Labs has chosen Oracle NetSuite to support its growth as it addresses global demand for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) skills. With NetSuite, SAM Labs will be able to focus on its goal – of getting young students excited about technology – while easing the mounting pressure on time-strapped teachers by streamlining and scaling its critical business processes.

Joachim Horn
Joachim Horn

Joachim Horn, Founder of SAM Labs said: “The STEAM skills gap isn’t a localised issue, it’s a global problem. Teachers need more time and resources to adapt their STEAM lesson plans and with our play-based learning kits, we empower teachers to help students aged between seven and eleven years to learn the fundamentals of coding and computer-based problem solving in a fun and engaging way. This approach has proved very successful and to keep up with the growing demand, we selected NetSuite.

SAM Labs

SAM Labs provides the means to deliver an engaging STEAM learning experience to a classroom. It connects software and hardware with lesson-plans which aim to cover a wide variety of subjects. The essence lies in making learning about coding accessible, experimental interactive and fun.

SAM Labs kits use wireless electronic blocks. According to SAM Labs “each has a personality of (its) own”. From lights to motors to sliders to buzzers, every Bluetooth-enabled block can connect to the others via an app – and do something different, for example:

  • press a button to turn on a light on
  • excite a light sensor to activate an alarm

With SAM Labs app, students code the behaviours of blocks in whatever ways they can imagine. This enables them to deliver anything from simple reactions to complex creations in minutes.

The UK problem

In the UK alone, a shortfall in STEAM-educated graduates makes it difficult for employers to fill in-demand positions. Estimates suggest this costs the national economy some £63B/year in lost GDP.

Moreover, exhausted teachers struggle to adapt lesson-plans. 93% say their workload is too heavy. To address this challenge, SAM Labs conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to fund new IoT-connected learning kits. These are what assist teachers to present STEAM lessons in an interactive and engaging environment.

Choosing NetSuite

To keep up with the demand for its innovative play-based learning kits and scale its business internationally, the company selected NetSuite. NetSuite offers SAM Labs the opportunity to:

  • unify its teams
  • improve the flow of information between departments
  • accommodate growing demand for its products from around the world.
Nicky Tozer
Nicky Tozer

As a result, SAM Labs will be  able to scale its business, because it can remove complexity from its previous business processes and systems. By freeing up resources it can concentrate on bring its teaching resources to more schools, teachers and students.

Nicky Tozer, VP, EMEA at Oracle NetSuite said: “It’s a privilege to work with a company that’s making such huge strides in the education sector, not just in the UK but around the world.

SAM Labs has come a long way since raising its first $160,000 on Kickstarter, and with our platform, the SAM Labs team have set themselves up to make an even bigger dent in the global STEAM skills gap.

What does this mean

What SAM Labs aims to encourage is logical reasoning to write algorithms, incorporate variables, inputs and outputs. Using the blocks and app, they learn to control and simulate physical systems. The concept – in which students can use building blocks to design, write and debug programs and apply sequencing, selection and iteration – is attractive.

That attraction has brought copious interest from around the world. The SAM Labs approach is now in use in classrooms in more than 20 countries, including:

  • the United Kingdom
  • United States
  • China
  • Australia
  • Brazil.

The choice of NetSuite should enable SAM Labs to expand and fulfil its goal of supporting STEAM education. Few will quibble with this.

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Charles Brett
Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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