When we think of technology in schools, or #edutech, we often think about the platforms and software directly used by or aiding pupils. The classic example is the interactive whiteboard. Digital signage for schools, however, is a technology that benefits staff as much as students.
Digital teaching assistant
The best teaching appreciates that many pupils are visual or kinesthetic learners. Students who process information best, not out of a textbook, but when doing or watching things. Today, syllabuses are brought to life through video, interactive diagrams and games. But this multimedia approach doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom. Digital signage around school can be used to consolidate in-class learning.
The strength of digital signage as an educational platform is the ability to integrate with external content. Schools often subscribe to websites like the Khan Academy. Having a network of screens to convey this content is an invaluable addition to pupils’ in-class learning, especially as it doesn’t create teachers any work. Screens can become a kind of digital teaching assistant for departments. Key areas of the syllabus, whether it’s timetables or scientific formulae, can be taught around the school.
Some of the busiest staff in a school are the receptionists. Manning the frontline for visitors is a crucial role, and one that digital signage can greatly assist with.
A practical use for digital signage in a school environment is wayfinding and organisation. Visitors and students alike benefit from a network of screens displaying class time-tables and directions. A screen up in reception might be used to also answer commonly asked questions or convey important announcements. For special events like open days, they can be tailored for a purpose like showing off the college’s prospectus or recent exam results. By providing this information through technology, schools alleviate the demands on their administrative staff and free up the desk teams to deal with more pressing matters.
In addition to reception areas, screens might be deployed in school canteens or in the library. Going digital with a menu board allows staff to remotely update their lunch menu for every day of the week, as well as providing nutritional information to help pupils make better informed eating decisions. In a library, screens can advertise latest additions to the shelves or remind pupils about late notices. In both instances, digital signage helps staff communicate more effectively with the student body.
Staff room centrepiece
Finally, digital signage is an effective way of communicating in the staff room. Deploying technology to enhance the central space where staff spend their free time is an invaluable investment for a management team. Schools too often rely on falling-apart bulletin boards or impermanent whiteboards to convey important notices. With a signage screen, memos and alerts can be delivered with confidence knowing they will be seen. Managerial staff like Head Teachers or Heads of Department can utilise the platform as a direct way of personally communicating with team members they might not often see.
A screen up in a staff room might be alternatively used to stream live TV, like Sky News, to also help staff pass the time in their breaks. A staff-room display can be integrated with traffic and weather reports: information that is sure to be useful and well received.
Digital signage promises to be the interactive whiteboard of the decade. The main bonus of digitalisation is the ability to automate content, making life for school staff easier.
Guest post by TrouDigital, experts in digital signage for education.