In the past, colleges used corkboards to pass important information to students. Later on, they advanced to sending the students mass emails, which often went unread.
Communication within colleges is an ongoing process that is not limited to the inside of classrooms. Students want to stay informed about everything, from emergency alerts to their professors’ office hours to the day’s lunch menu at the cafeteria. However, college administrators usually find it hard to distribute relevant, timely information to students and visitors.
Thankfully, a new communication tool, digital signage, has emerged to replace inefficient bulletin boards and emails. A majority of modern colleges use digital signage for a number of reasons:
- Digital signage eliminates the cost of printing numerous copies of signs and posters to announce events, only for them to later be thrown away, which is wasteful.
- Digital signage features dynamic and visually appealing images and videos that capture the attention of the intended audience more powerfully than drab-looking signs and posters.
- Digital signage communicates messages that are not only memorable but also drive the audience to action. Digital signage evokes emotional responses that motivate people to take action. For example, the right video can be effective in persuading students to complete their evaluation survey.
- Digital signage is a great way to connect with modern students because nearly all of them prefer to receive information digitally through one of their multiple devices.
The question, therefore, is whether digital signage is a justified investment. Let’s look at some reasons why it’s a good idea for colleges to invest in the technology.
Spreading of information
College administrators need to distribute various types of information to students. Examples of communication that digital signage can be used for include:
- Dates and times for closure of college buildings
- Information related to facilities such as gyms and sports stadiums
- Special events such as concerts and conferences
- Office hours
- Digital menu boards for the cafeteria
With digital signage, college administrators can make sure that this information is displayed at the right time and the right location. Dissemination of information can be scheduled or impromptu depending on the purpose of the information. Location-specific information such as department office hours can be displayed only where and when it is needed.
Important to take into account when creating digital signage content is the needs of the audience. So, for example, a college in which English is a second language for most students can display content in both English and the language commonly spoken by students.
Reinforcement of learning
Many colleges today use projectors in the classroom. However, classroom digital signage can greatly enhance lectures that use multimedia tools. For example, lecturers can display slides with the main points or play relevant videos.
Some tutors worry that having screens in classrooms will distract students but that need not be the case. Studies have reported that using multimedia tools for lectures has a positive impact on the learning experience. It is, however, important to note that for the best results, tutors should use fewer than 20 slides and no more than four bullet points per slide.
Enhancement of community
Students tend to limit their interaction to their small group of college friends and fail to pay attention to what is happening elsewhere around the college. For that reason, they miss out on many interesting aspects of college life. Digital signage for schools and collegescan be used to enhance engagement between various college departments and help improve the general college experience of students.
Many schools lack clearly visible instructions in strategic areas inside the campus to be used in case of emergencies. These instructions are important as they may help a student, faculty member or visitor be safe in the event of a crisis.
With centralized digital signage, college administrators and other responsible parties can immediately get information to those who need it anywhere in the campus in case of an emergency. Bold colors flashing on the screen can be used to direct attention to emergency alerts and provide students with instructions on what to do or where to go for safety. These messages can be sent remotely and immediately provided power and access to the internet are both available.
New students and visitors can find it hard to navigate expansive campuses. College seniors too may find it difficult to locate certain buildings if they’ve never been in them before. Static maps have traditionally been used for this purpose but in addition to fading, they’re not easy to update as the college infrastructure evolves over time and buildings get renamed.
A student can however use digital signage to search for a certain building or office and send the directions to their device. Alternatively, the map on digital signage can plot a dotted line showing the easiest way to get to the building or office the student is interested in. Closed routes and newly constructed buildings can be remotely added to a digital signage map.