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Campuses can be large and complex, with plenty of moving parts. Keeping your students, faculty and visitors informed and engaged is challenging; and a key priority for many internal communications, administrative professionals, and CIOs in higher education.
Most students today are ‘digital natives’ – the generation that grew up with the Internet, and are accustomed to facilitating and mediating work, rest, play, and certainly study, with digital devices.
For some, and until relatively recently, digital communication and collaboration with their professors, tutors and peers was all they knew.
The pandemic left educational institutions with no choice but to start or rapidly progress their digital transformation journey; which can be defined as a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce and technology shifts to enable new educational and operating models and transform an institution's business model, strategic direction, and value proposition.
“Building a smart campus should be at the top of the agenda for schools wanting to improve communication, increase efficiency and save time and money. But ultimately, it really is about bringing value to humans – not just doing cool stuff with technology.” Michael Mathews, Campus Technology.
It’s a big job, but entirely possible to start small(er), and sooner, by digitizing and scaling your student-facing communications.
How do you find the perfect digital medium for your university or college’s message? The screens or TVs that are likely already on the walls of your lecture halls, corridors, cafeterias and dormitories are the answer.
At its simplest, digital signage is content displayed on screens, historically used primarily for advertisement e.g. Times Square billboards. Yet, there is so much untapped potential for educational institutions; screens have more to offer than just being a glorified digital poster.
Read our free eBook, Digital Signage Best Practice for Educators.
Leveraged properly, they’ll enrich your campus experience while delivering serious return-on-investment – here’s how:
Administrative teams are often the unsung heroes of any campus and help to shape and improve the student experience.
They have plenty on their plate, including phone, email, and calendar management, preparing reports, maintaining office equipment and supplies, and some internal communications and human resources functions.
Digital signage lends a helping hand by automating manual, time-consuming, and repetitive jobs. The hard cost, and opportunity cost, of busy team members pinning updated office hours to multiple notice boards in multiple buildings is significant – and that’s just one example!
A feature-rich yet easy-to-use digital signage solution for educational institutions, like ScreenCloud, frees up your admins to work on higher-value tasks.
Our education customers use Canvas – a built-in design editor which includes over 150 editable templates, customized to your brand – to wish students best of luck for exams, congratulate the hockey team on a state win, or promote the charity bake sale. This content can be created in minutes and played to one or many screens, in one or many locations, quickly and easily.
Curious about how content across various devices and display sizes is processed by your brain? Check out The Neuroscience of Visual Media eBook, produced in partnership with University College London.
Getting to class on time can be a challenge for even the most seasoned postgrad!
Directional information on screens in reception areas and corridors is handy for displaying timetables, floorplans, and office hours; as well as ‘hyperlocal’, real-time information such as WiFi access codes or a re-scheduled lecture, for both long-time students and first-time visitors.
ScreenCloud’s popular Building Directory app makes sure nobody feels lost in the lobby. You can list who’s available and where to find them, and use the built-in visual editor to inform students and faculty of changes to rooms or occupants – there’s no need to put in a request to the design team. Content can even be ‘skinned’ to match the typefaces and color scheme of the specific department or dorm.
‘Digital wayfinding’ is an appealing alternative to group emails which may not be opened, or static media which is slow to update and often ignored. In fact, digital signage receives 400% more views than static media! Databeat.
Interactivity is even better, and possible with ScreenCloud’s QR feature. If you’d like to prompt an action – e.g. get students to download an inventory list and guide for a particular laboratory – you can easily add a link as a QR code within your design, and collect the metrics in your account.
It’s important to make a good first impression whenever you’re welcoming visitors – relatives, guest lecturers, prospective students, media – on-campus, and ensuring they know exactly who you are and what you stand for.
While greeting and directing everyone individually isn’t possible, digital signage can play a part in making sure your institution shines by sharing content that’s on-brand, on-message and delivered at scale.
For example, you can use your screens to show personalized welcome messages, display student artwork, or broadcast notices that incorporate live news or social media feeds, housekeeping instructions, and more.
Getting students involved is always a good idea; whether that’s contributing to the content strategy for Parents’ Day or Open Day or practicing their design, copywriting or coding skills in a real-world scenario by giving them access to your digital signage CMS.
Of course, security is paramount. ScreenCloud has custom permissions, audit logging, SSO and is SOC 2, Type 2 compliant; so you can let the right people in to manage your digital signage content flow while keeping your account and data secure.
“With school budgets, I found it very difficult to find a good, easy-to-use solution that was flexible and cheap enough for us to use. ScreenCloud has a great solution, great support and pricing for schools and they are a pleasure to work with.” Nigel Price, ICT Director, Merchant Taylors’ Schools.
In the event of an active shooter incident or natural disaster, leveraging your screen network for emergency alerts is one of the fastest and simplest ways to deliver actionable, potentially life-saving information.
ScreenCloud supports three highly trusted, third-party mass notification systems: Omnilert, Singlewire, and RAVE.
While they all work in slightly different ways, the goal is to automate and scale the alerts process as much as possible. When the notifications system is triggered, it generates a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message which is then cast to all screens almost immediately.
Going paperless is a major pro of widespread usage of digital signage, and one that everyone can get behind. In addition to saving educational institutions thousands per year in printing and photocopying costs (the average school of 1,000, or university department of equivalent size spends $3000-$4000 USD per year on paper, ink and toner according to Tablets on Education), it also saves the trees, and increases back-office efficiency.
Digital signage both streamlines and scales production and distribution of content such as reading lists, maps, leaflets, posters and more. These can all be created and shared with software like ScreenCloud, as well as email or Intranet.
It's what your students want, too. A recent Deloitte study found that nearly half – 49% – of Gen Zs surveyed said that their personal ethics have played a role in their career choices. It makes sense, then, that Gen Zs would also care about their colleges or universities aligning with their values. Show them that you're taking the climate crisis seriously with this simple, yet significant step!
In sum, digital signage is a versatile and cost-effective way of building community within your campus, and plays a key part in your digital transformation strategy.
ScreenCloud is the only digital signage solution you need to create a connected campus and student body. To get the ball rolling, chat with an in-house expert now.
Connect your first screen today with our 14-day free trial