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Knitting Your District Together with Digital Signage

Digital signage is an invaluable resource for K-12 schools, but it doesn’t have to be limited to just individual institutions. By Trey Hicks

With just a bit of planning, you can unify your whole school district using the power of modern visual communications.

When it’s web-based, your digital signage system isn’t locked into a single location – it can go literally anywhere there’s an internet connection. Each school can have their own playlists of messages, with information relevant to that specific location. But additional playlists can be inserted into your screen layout that pertain to things that every school in the district needs to know.

You can color-code your district-wide messages (for example, with a steel blue background), or use other design elements to make them quickly and easily identifiable (certain titles or logos). You can also schedule tickers for the whole area in the same way – interleaved with local school tickers.

Some school districts go one further and integrate their digital signage with not only their own websites and the websites of their member schools, but with dedicated cable TV channels that stream direct to households and businesses in the whole county.

One obvious advantage of this sort of unified system is the ability to quickly publish alerts that affect the whole area. Using Common Alerting Protocol conventions gets data form multiple sources, and sends out warnings immediately to schools that need to know. Snow closures and other extreme weather events get displayed everywhere at once, as the district-level alert overrides all scheduled playlists at once. IT outages and information about other emergencies can also be disseminated instantly.

And there’s a lot more that a cohesive system can do. Nutrition and health are very much on parents’ and administrators’ minds these days, and catering is often done at the district level. Display expert advice and current meal offerings to all schools, and add in some health and exercise tips to give more comprehensive advice to students of all ages.

You can promote events that involve multiple schools – area spelling bees, or cross-promote athletics teams and games, or theatre and other extra-curricular activities. Make sure everyone is on the same page by displaying messages about policies and standards from higher up the administrative system. If your district is involved in certain initiatives, like Common Core and STEM, promote them everywhere. Integrate your district into the nation as a whole when educational institutions mark holidays, or longer events such as Black History Month.

You can reach out the community at large by partnering with the local library, or bookstores where students can find textbooks and required reading for the semester. Speaking of community, district-wide digital signage is a great way to thank volunteers, promote fundraising events like bake sales, and recognize top performers with posts like Teacher or Student of the Month. Highlight individual schools’ achievements as well.

Especially for junior high and up, consider integrating social media feeds into your digital signage network. You can promote tweets and posts from district staff, individual schools, or associations and clubs in real-time, and in a method that secondary students are used to using. This is a great way to promote your social networks to get more participation at the student level.

The possibilities for district-wide communications on screens are virtually unlimited. With just a little planning, you can use a digital signage system across your entire district to knit everyone together into one community – administrators, teachers, students and parents. And that’s surely a good use for your screens and your time.

Trey Hicks is chief sales officer at Visix Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Trey is responsible for company sales globally, and manages the Visix sales team and reseller partner relationships. He substantially contributes to Visix marketing, product management and planning through industry and technology research, as well as customer feedback. Trey has been with the company since 1994.

This article was originally published by our content partner TechDecisions.

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