Can Free Digital Signage Solutions Deliver What They Promise to Schools?

14 September 2022 | By viviedu

K-12 schools and college campuses alike have a lot of information to share with students and visitors. Traditionally, instructors were reliant on physical announcements and paper messages to help convey vital information. Teachers carefully curated posters and materials to keep in their classrooms, shared all announcements on their whiteboards or chalkboards, and made sure to verbally share information with students at the beginning of the day, hoping that their students remembered all the information.

As technology has entered schools in increasingly complex ways, many schools and instructors have learned that it offers incredible advantages. Digital signage can offer a brighter, more attention-grabbing, constantly-present and up-to-date way to present information that was once taped to walls and cluttered on bulletin boards. Students, visitors, and even instructors across the campus benefit from clear, effective presentation of information.

While free digital signage options may be available, it’s important to carefully consider whether those options offer the benefits and features you need in order to maximize the results you want to see from your signage.

To this end, you’ll want to consider not only what you plan to do with your signage but also how organized, easy to use, and efficient you would like the process to be. If you’re looking for a centrally controlled platform that can manage a multitude of signage elements for multiple locations, you’ll want to look at a more advanced platform. Let’s take a deeper look at digital signage and what to consider.

The Importance and Impact of Digital Signage in Schools

Digital signage has a number of advantages for a school campus. There are numerous high traffic areas that are ideal for conveying essential information to students, parents, guests, and others. In our fast-paced world, the ability to communicate effectively and quickly when you have the opportunity has become a necessary pursuit.

As a result, you need a highly effective digital signage solution that will allow you to take full advantage of available features and connect with faculty, students, and parents around the campus. You need to be able to manage multiple types of information from multiple places, routed to multiple displays or locations.

While free digital signage solutions will provide some options for communication and visibility, you may find that more advanced digital signage options are the only ones that will offer the features you need to take full advantage of your school-wide communication system.

1. Make Broad Announcements Highly Visible

Keeping students and their parents up-to-date about the latest happenings on campus is an ongoing task. Digital signage is a great way to make sure that they stay informed. It allows you to quickly and easily display the latest campus events, changes, and more.
Your staff might want to use high-traffic public areas to broadcast visuals about your next assembly, your current fundraiser, or the next big event coming up.

2. Keep Your Schedule Clear

Visual classroom schedules offer advantages to many students, especially students with ASD or ADHD. A visual schedule can help keep students on track. It issues a clear reminder of what they’re supposed to be doing in the moment and what they need to do next. Using a visual schedule in the classroom can help cut down on uncertainty. With digital signage, it’s easy to change the schedule when needed to reflect any changes in your daily plans or expectations. 

3. Announce Student Achievements

When your students do something great, you want the opportunity to celebrate them! Digital signage can be used both inside the classroom and outside it to share information about your students’ latest achievements. Have they successfully completed a major goal? Did they receive an award for academic excellence? Make sure everyone knows about it with digital signage. Digital signage is also a great way to keep people up-to-date with the latest information about what your sports teams have accomplished. 

4. Share Critical Information

Digital signage is a great way to display critical information that visitors may need when they visit your school. As the new class arrives at the start of a new school year, you may want to clearly display maps that let students know where they can find their classrooms.

If you use an advanced digital signage system that allows you to easily display different information on different screens, you can quickly post customized “You Are Here” notifications at major hallways and intersections, which can make it easier for students to find their way around. Is it getting close to lunchtime? You may want to display the lunch offerings so that students can make decisions about what they want to eat before they enter the cafeteria. 

Related: How Do Teachers Integrate Technology in the Classroom?

Prepping Your Digital Signage Plan for the New School Year: Does a Free Digital Signage Option Fit Your Needs?

With the new school year fast approaching, it’s time to start developing your digital signage plan and getting it ready. Whatever digital signage you use, free or as part of a  more fully-developed, feature-filled platform, you’ll need to consider the same basic foundational elements, including your goals and how your current technology will support those options.

Well before your school year starts, you may want to be prepared with a comprehensive plan that will help ensure that you’re able to take advantage of those vital tools to help students, teachers, and visitors across your system make the most of the learning opportunities ahead of them.

1. Establish Your Goals

What are you hoping to accomplish with your digital signage solutions? At some schools, administrators simply want a solution that will allow them to share the latest updates to one or two displays.

Other schools may prefer to use their digital signage for more complex solutions or to control all digital signage from a central location—something that free digital signage solutions may not allow. Make sure you have a solid understanding of what your school wants to accomplish with your digital signage solutions throughout the year.

2 Create or Update Your Policies

Do you have policies for digital signage across your district? You may want to implement policies regarding who can update those digital signs, where they can be used, and even what information can be shared on them.

Is there an approval process? What type of security will you put in place to help protect those signs and prevent pranks from students—or from more severe digital threats? Creating a security policy ahead of time can help prepare your teachers, staff, and administrators to deal with any threats that may arise. 

3. Create the Default Content You Want to Display

When you don’t have anything more pressing to put up on your digital signs, what do you want them to display? Administrators across the district may launch into the new school year with high energy and great ideas about what they want to share.

As the year goes on, however, they may get engrossed in their work or classrooms and have less time to submit content for digital signage. Use this time wisely by having your administrators create default content that can guide, motivate, or help students. They might want to:

Encourage administrators to consider what information they want to rotate through their digital signage and to keep that data current through the year.

Related: How to Plan Content for Your Digital Signage

4. Plan Ahead for the Start of the School Year

The start of the school year often hits with a rush. With poor planning, administrators and teachers can quickly become overwhelmed by all the information they need to share and all the demands of their students. Prepare ahead for the start of the school year to help keep your digital signage running smoothly. Ask:

By creating your plan ahead of time, you can ensure that you’re ready for whatever the start of the school year may bring. You can also make sure that your digital signage solution has the features and capability necessary to fit within those plans. 

5. Provide Any Necessary Training or Instruction

Before the school year begins, make sure your instructors and administrators are prepared to use your digital signage to full effect. If you’re using a new platform for the first time, make sure everyone has the training they need to use those platforms effectively. Ideally, your digital signage solution will be plug-and-play, intuitive, and very simple to use while also offering all the features you need for the upcoming year.

You may want to provide links to online instruction or include a brief overview as part of the back-to-school training package. Be aware that a free digital signage solution may be more complex to use while also being more limited, and it may be more difficult to train everyone who may participate in creating digital signage. 

Is Your Digital Signage Solution Delivering?

If you’re ready for a digital signage solution that is simple to use yet will deliver on your expectations and help you highlight the information your students and visitors need most, contact Vivi to get started with our digital signage and screen mirroring solutions.