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Do you want to create a smarter school where systems and technologies intertwine to benefit everyone? Then you’re looking to create a connected education space. Check out other questions you need to consider to better your campus and introduce all the tech without all the fuss.
Creating a connected education space will excite students from kindergarten through high school. The use of technology will streamline the school infrastructure, keep students informed and reignite a passion for learning in a setting with a fresh feel.
There is an app for everything, and when these apps work together, that is a connected space. Think about your own home: you can manage the heating of your living room while you're on the bus commuting home; your "Alexa" speaks to your TV and your speakers. So it begs the question, why should it be any different in school?
In a simple and smart manner, we can make your education space modern.
In this guide, we look at five key questions that will help those in the classroom work out the how and why behind designing a more connected education space.
This question ensures you don’t spend money for the sake of spending money, or invest in a fad that might be irrelevant in six months' time. Thinking through your digital transformation should make it easy to get your new initiatives approved.
If you want a smarter whiteboard that talks to your displays, other classrooms and online portals, why do you want it? Will it save you time, make parents better informed, or improve how students learn?
Try setting a goal for the implementation of a new device or service. Can you reason out a “SMART” goal based on the criteria below?
For example, you may want to implement automated control of your classroom environment through heat, light and doorway monitoring. This would be a good way to manage the functions of the classroom you use every day (specific), and it could be measured in terms of how much electricity and gas you save (measurable). If there is one device to join them all up and be managed by a smartphone, it would be attainable for any teacher (achievable). Lastly, the output would be results-based (relevant) and it would save more money the earlier it was implemented (time-bound).
With any connected space, there are also considerations to be made on what you put into place now versus what you might put into place in the future.
Swapping out your whiteboards for digital screens sounds great, but in five years' time will those screens still be relevant? What if at that time, you need voice-activated or interactive screens instead? With any technology or system, you need to future-proof your organization. Think beyond the “now” benefits and into the future ones.
How many years of classes can this system support? Could it be used by a smaller group or a bigger one? A smart thermostat that controls the classroom could likely be used for years and upgraded cheaply or free of cost. Whereas apps, games and software are often only as good as their last upgrade and depend highly on the technology they are used on (smartphone, iPad, etc.).
It’s great to think about how you can up-level your school now, but it’s even more effective to think about what you can do now that will affect the future.
The last thing school teachers and staff need is another responsibility, that’s why it’s so important that the digital methods you use are also self-sufficient. The best way to self-sufficiency is, surprisingly, through data.
For example, a smart light could turn on and off without a human controlling it, through a sensor or scheduled app, so it shuts down from 7pm-7am to save energy and money for the school. To do this, the lighting sensor must collect data on when and where students and teachers need an automatic light.
Also, consider privacy. Many of these connected systems can be done anonymously - a count of bodies rather than faces, and yet there are still very real security concerns within education.
With any system that tracks people, students will need to be informed and parental consent ensured.
For that reason, it’s crucial to involve students, parents and teachers in the evolution of your school into a smart, connected space. Only then are you more likely to receive their buy-in into what may help improve the lives of everyone.
With connected systems, unlike some technology trends, there are always more affordable elements, especially with a system like ScreenCloud, which offers a discount for educational organizations. Many energy companies will equip buildings with smart meters for free. Other times, you can add something simple to a system or product you already have to make it smarter without having to invest in a completely new infrastructure.
Lastly, you can often offset the cost against the monetary benefits. If you invest $100 in a smart lighting system, but save $500 per year on your electricity bill, you’re saving far more than you’ve spent.
One of the best traits about educators is that they are resourceful. It turns out that there’s quite a lot you can do to make a connected space out of things you already know and use.
Take digital signage as an example. How many TV screens do you already have sitting redundant, or playing the same content on loop, in your school or university? With a $20 media device like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, you can transfer a static screen into something far more impressive with a simple digital signage solution.
Once the screen has been made “smart,” it’s easy to show a dashboard of social media feeds, live news, project tools, departmental presentations, traffic information and image galleries. You can adapt the content depending on where it sits, the day of the week, and what’s going on at your school during that time, with just a small, stress-free upgrade.
ScreenCloud helps teams in 9,000+ organizations around the world communicate with those who matter most, using the screens on their walls and the content already in their systems.
ScreenCloud’s digital signage can inform students on campus by showcasing social media feeds, emergency alerts, and live broadcasts – or even simply the news or weather. ScreenCloud also offers a discount to customers in education.
Sign up for a free demo and see how digital signage can work for you today.
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