There are a lot of events going on outside the classroom in today’s K-12 schools: sporting events, plays, concerts, assemblies, field trips (even virtual ones), fundraisers, parent-teacher conferences, student club meetings, competitions (such as spelling bees or debates) – just to name a few. Whether they’re for the students, the parents or the greater school community, events are a vital part of the life of any school or district. Digital signage for schools offers some great ways to manage and promote these events, to ensure everything runs smoothly and everyone who wants to gets to participate.
One way to make things easier is to integrate your digital signage with your calendaring system – EMS, Google Calendar, Exchange, etc. When the information on an event gets updated in your app, it automatically updates on screens, saving admin staff a lot of time. And there’s no need to go in and delete an event once it is over – the messages drop off your digital signage playlist automatically.
There’s no reason why school staff have to do all the work either. If you have a particularly active Spanish Club, let the students create and schedule the messages. You just need to come up with the design guidelines (particular colors, fonts, etc.) and approval policies, and then let them access the system. For more control, you can create message templates for events, where the entire look is already locked in, so all they do is add the text information.
A web-based system lets staff, teachers, students or involved parents create and update event messages from anywhere – home, the park, or stuck in traffic. All they need is a computer or mobile device (like a tablet), the credentials to access the digital signage system and an internet connection, whether that’s an Ethernet line or WiFi.
There’s no reason a particular event has to stand alone. Take a science fair as an example – your messages about the fair can be mixed with information on current reading and assignments in sciences classes; speech and debate classes can have science-themed topics; English class can be reading science fiction, like Isaac Asimov’s I Robot, or book about smart students, like Ungifted by Gordon Korma – a message on your digital signage that’s reminding students to have their book report finished by the 15th can also have a short reminder about the science fair, and vice versa. It just takes a little planning in advance to make sure that everything going on in the school supports your important events.
Digital signage for schools is also a great way to showcase student achievements, not only for the students themselves, but for peers, parents and other visitors. This is especially true for parent-teacher nights or school board meetings. A few choice quotes from some student creative writing or reports can become messages, or an excellent sketch by a student in art class, or photos of someone’s perfectly made bottle opener from metal shop. Including video or high quality photos of highlights from recent athletics events will also remind everyone of the incredible things your students are accomplishing.
Any event that the public is invited to can also be cross-promoted to the larger school community. Partnering with a local bookshop, for example (who might share the cost of a digital signage system, or pay for add space on your in-house displays), can remind customers that your school’s next Drama Club production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. You could even offer a discount on show tickets for people who buy a copy of the play from the bookshop, or a discount at the bookshop if customers show a ticket stub from your production. If there’s a school concert soon, consider partnering with a local musical instruments rental shop, or a place that sells sheet music.
Messages about school events being displayed off-site also serve as promotion, keeping the events in people’s minds and hopefully increasing your audience. It’s a two-pronged approach – reminders outside the school as well as inside.
If you have target numbers for an event, you can use your digital signage for schools to generate excitement, and get the students and parents actively engaged in making sure you hit your targets. For example, if you have a canned food drive with a goal of at least 200 cans, you can show up-to-date progress on your digital displays.
Adding a digital signage playlist to your website also increases the number of people who see your promotions. Adding QR codes into messages that lead to event dedicated webpages lets you track how effective certain messages are, so you can improve your audience share in the future.
Another way to improve future performance is to use your screens after each event to get feedback. Display short or intuitive URLs in digital signage messages to connect your audience to online surveys about the event. You can also include paper surveys and comment cards next to your screens, or on a shelf in a kiosk, or put them right there on an interactive screen so all the information automatically goes to your database.
You already use your digital signage to inform and engage students, parents and the wider school community. So why not also manage and promote your events using the system as well? It saves you time, increases your event exposure and gives you easy tools for getting feedback.