I dare you…no, I double-dare you to walk past a screen of almost any size and not look at it. It just can’t be done even if there is no content and, let’s be honest, even if the content is static or there is no content at all it takes effort to look away. If you’re of a certain age you’ve been drawn to at least glance at a screen that displays a show, a game or almost any content you’re not interested in. So it will be intuitive for you to admit that our children and our grandchildren are exactly the same way. I have a picture of my then three year old grandson asleep on the couch with an open laptop on his lap, the light from it brightening his beautiful face. He couldn’t even read but he was drawn to the screen. That illustrates the enormous impact digital signage can have on children of any age, even in their schools.
If your school system is considering a digital signage system, planning is key. Determine first what the purpose of the system will be, specifically what type of content or messages will be displayed. Consider emergency messages and direction especially in K thru 6 since most students in those grades won’t have cell phones. Add to that before, during and after school activities, welcome messages to new students, congratulations to over-achievers (students and teachers alike) as well as general announcements and cafeteria menus. It’s often at this stage that the school decides which department or even who will be responsible for creating, scheduling and changing the content and how the content and schedule will be changed. Conventional wisdom dictates that at least two people be involved in this task and each have a backup to be trained by the A/V contractor at the time of installation and periodically afterwards.
Next, consider how many screens are needed to most effectively reach as many students as possible beginning with where they should be placed. Areas like cafeterias, libraries, commons and study halls are where students congregate and certainly should be on the short list. In some cases, each homeroom or classroom is ideal because almost every student is seated in those rooms each day and will be drawn to look at the screen. Obviously cost will be a factor in this determination but with careful pre-planning, budgeting and help from a qualified local A/V contractor a step-by-step digital signage plan can be developed.
Let’s discuss software next, the invisible force that aids in the creation of the content, storing and scheduling the content as well as pushing that content to the screens in one or more school system. The software can reside on a server right in the school or it can reside “in the cloud” depending on the specific needs and budget of the school. Many schools find it wise to invest in digital signage software that’s expandable because that requirement is key in getting the most use out of the software for the longest period of time.
Purpose, content, number of screens and their placement and finally software…important every one and all keys to a successful digital signage deployment in your school. The designers at Pridham Electronics are ready to help you put digital signage to work for your school.