Digital Signage Solutions For Schools

30 August 2021 | By viviedu

More than just a way to make critical announcements, digital signage solutions can create a reliable network that works seamlessly with the ebbs and flows of a school year. From attention-grabbing reminders to critical safety updates, digital signage can drastically improve the way any school gets the message out. 

Perhaps most importantly of all, the right software will let administrators easily make necessary messaging changes in real-time – all from a secure and central location.

In addition to offering up-to-the-minute updates, school administrators can use digital signage to create an atmosphere that matches the screen-dominant worlds of students. Signage that looks dated or stale can quickly limit the impact of a message, often leaving students disengaged instead of absorbing necessary information. 

With enhanced flexibility, an opportunity to increase inclusivity, and the ability to tap the upside of automation, digital systems can provide a major boost of efficiency and functionality.  

How Digital Signage Has Changed School Communication  

Although digital screens have been around schools for a while, their potential impact was significantly limited before Wi-Fi. With a collection of decentralized screens, schools had few options for how they could plan their messaging. While still an improvement upon the pre-digital era, it was impossible to change messaging with any speed, and schools still relied on other methods of communication.

Compare that with the world students inhabit today. Digital screens now regularly convey essential information, such as:

One of the main advantages of the digital era is its fluidity, which makes a modern digital infrastructure indispensable in such a fast-changing setting. School events are constantly being amended or added to (or rescheduled). Weather changes quickly disrupt school activities. School buildings require maintenance that can alter functionality.

With so many moving pieces in a school, interconnected digital screens can offer the exact type of real-time updates that students are now accustomed to. In a world where students can get instant updates from halfway around the globe, centrally controlled digital signage is the only way to keep up.

Supporting a School’s Messaging

Beyond providing new and timely information, schools also look for ways to reinforce existing messaging. Experts suggest that reinforcing morning announcements can be a simple way to increase the impact of the original message. Students often miss key elements of morning announcements, though offering an image-based digital message in the hallways can be a very effective way to counter the trend.

The Nuts and Bolts of Digital Signage in Schools

There are three main components of digital signage solutions: hardware, software, and content. The hardware is the tangible component (typically a screen) that creates the display. While screens have become lighter and more advanced since schools first adopted them, the hardware itself hasn’t changed all that much since the beginning.

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The biggest difference is in the software that drives the entire system. Software refers to the digital infrastructure enabling the creation, deployment, management, and analysis of content deployed on the hardware. The software technology has given administrators dramatically more control, offering a central location that can effortlessly operate digital messaging for an entire school district.

Advancements in both software and hardware have led to a much wider range of potential content that can be streamed. Administrators can very easily tailor messages specifically to the student populous, creating inclusive content that can have the largest possible impact. With a modern software platform, schools have endless ways to engage students through their content.

Advantages of Digital Signage in Schools

Schools are only just beginning to fully experience the upside of digital signage in their hallways, cafeterias, gyms, and elsewhere. On top of better-informed students, schools now have messaging systems that are easier to manage, saving time and money that can be spent elsewhere. Digital signage also aligns very well with the overarching goals of administrators.

Adding Safety Through Effective Communication

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, parents are more worried about their child’s safety at school than they have been in decades. In lieu of this, administrators regularly devote time to ensure they communicate with parents about safety concerns and security features. In short, parents want to know that schools are doing everything that can be done to create and maintain a safe environment.

While having an appropriate, multi-faceted emergency messaging system in place is essential, schools using digital signage are able to reinforce other messaging mediums effectively. Leading education experts point out that providing audio and visual messaging is extremely important during an emergency. 

As messages are quickly sent out via email and text, schools can immediately transmit the same critical information in very accessible locations. With the right digital signage network, all teachers, students, and faculty can simultaneously get on the same page in an emergency situation.

Creating a More Cohesive System with Autonomous Messaging

Being able to preset messages can be of enormous value to a school. Advanced software allows administrators to easily craft messages that can be instantly disseminated as needed. While emergency messages can be created in advance to fit many different situations, scheduling messages can be helpful in other situations as well (e.g., reminders for scheduled events). Without being tech experts, administrators can now plan upcoming messages in ways that were not previously possible.

Adapting and Customizing Content with Central Control

Having a centralized access point can then offer the perfect complement to autonomous messaging options. One of the significant benefits of digital signage to the education sector is how quickly IT, teachers, and authorized faculty can add or change content. This issues confidence that communication – especially preset emergency messaging – can be updated in real-time to fit the circumstances.

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The ability to customize content also can’t be overstated. School officials can offer content that corresponds with the needs of each building within a district or campus. Different school levels require different messaging styles, which is now a hurdle that can be easily overcome with a centrally run network.

Assimilating with the Changing Digital World

Modern digital systems also confront a crucial problem identified by education analysts. Many experts worry about schools that digitize old ways of education instead of anticipating the next generation of technology. This is sometimes referred to as the “race between technology and education.”

While the first decentralized screens were essentially digital copies, an interconnected system of screens taps the advantages of Wi-Fi and more appropriately utilizes today’s technology. Instead of merely providing a digital reproduction of old methods, today’s digital signage can evolve alongside technological upgrades and fit the hyperkinetic world of the student populous.

Enhancing Student Engagement and Balancing Technology Gaps with Today’s Best Edtech

With digital signage, schools have an opportunity to show they are committed to connecting students to the world of both today and tomorrow. By using the top digital edtech in hallways and in the classroom, schools are able to create a more collaborative, hands-on learning experience where students learn how to navigate technology at an early age.

In the classroom setting, students can not only learn educational basics with help from digital technology, but they learn the digital language itself. While educators can’t control a student’s home environment, they can ensure a level of technological equality within the school – helping students better prepare for their future.

Today’s edtech doesn’t just help provide a level playing field either; it can create a noticeable spark in engagement. In the classroom, utilizing today’s digital technology can encourage those who often have trouble finding their voice. Edtech can especially boost the participation of students with disabilities, opening a frontier that was previously not available.

School officials have plenty of incentive to retain that edge when students leave the classroom and head to the other core areas of the building. Creative and clear communication in hallways, cafeterias, and gyms – especially messages with sharp imagery – can pique student interest and help spread the word about important information.  

What to Look for in Digital Signage for Schools

While the goals of digital signage solutions are mostly the same from one school to the next, administrators should keep the following in mind.  

1. Is the Software Easy to Use?

Functionality is absolutely critical. While an IT team might be able to handle more challenging and complex software, other faculty members may not. In the best circumstances, digital solutions should feel like an extension or enhancement of the system that was in place previously. The easier the software is to use the better a school will be at maximizing the system’s potential. With educators already having their hands full with the basics of running a school, software that doesn’t require a learning curve can jumpstart progress.

2. Can You Schedule Content in Advance?

You should be able to create content and push it out either immediately or on a schedule. A school schedule might be very complex, which is exactly why the process of creating a messaging schedule should not be. At the end of the day, authorized school faculty should be able to easily manage and schedule content from a central or secure remote location. With messages that can be sent out automatically on a predetermined schedule, administrators will be fully using the benefits of today’s best edtech.

3. How Good is the System at Handling Multiple Users?

To give one person all the responsibility can be overwhelming, which is why it’s typically better to spread responsibility out. However, you want to be certain multiple people can access the software from their respective locations. Multi-user access is also very useful for unexpected changes. If a faculty member has access, they should be able to quickly update and change messages without having to call the IT department.

4. Does it Have a High Level of Compatibility?

Finding a technologically agnostic provider can provide an important edge for any school about to make a digital transformation or add to one in progress. Educators should be able to create content on their own devices and effortlessly transfer them to a digital screen. Unfortunately, not all digital signage platforms make it this easy and teachers can get frustrated having to learn new content platforms.

5. Is the System Regularly Updated and Cybersecurity a Priority?

Digital signage solutions for schools aren’t just about the hardware or app – it’s about constantly improving it to meet the needs of the school environment. As cyber threats evolve, schools need to invest in software that will be evolving as well. Considering the increasing prevalence of cyber threats aimed at schools, administrators need to have confidence that the cyberspace linking a school district is as secure and up-to-date as possible.

Considering the Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency of Digital Signage

Administrators can be understandably wary of system-wide upgrades; the time and money that can go into major changes can be intimidating. But many of these worries are also tied to the past. While hardware upgrades – such as outfitting a school district with digital screens – can be a challenging process, software updates that utilize established hardware shouldn’t be. In short, updating a school’s digital signage is a dramatically less intrusive process than other systemwide overhauls.

With minimal effort, schools can connect existing technology and bring their messaging to maturity. As school officials always have to think about the budget, upgrading or establishing a digital signage system provides a significant long-term value without a major financial commitment. Educators should end up with more effective messaging along with content that is easier to organize than the decentralized systems of yesteryear.

Alongside such an improvement, administrators should also save time in distributing content. Leading edtech that collaborates seamlessly with other apps can make any faculty member seem tech-savvy without a time-consuming learning curve.  Considering that educators are almost always stretched thin, easy-to-use digital tech can help school officials remain focused on what counts the most.

All-in-One Software Tools Can Upgrade an Entire School District

More than ever, schools need to have tools capable of handling the complexity of the modern world. Schools that utilize the best digital signage can create a network built to move at the speed of students’ lives. Educators can now create content that is more dynamic, timely, and engaging than earlier digital platforms, which mostly copied analog methodologies.

With the ability to customize, automate, and effortlessly change direction, the best digital systems give administrators all the tools they need to communicate. To see how your school can improve its digital signage, contact Vivi today to schedule a demo and get started.