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Digital Signage Scoop: There's A Lot More Going On At School Than The Three Rs

As the summer rapidly comes to a close, young children, adolescents and young adults prepare to return to school to resume their education.

While that annual ritual continues much in same way it has my entire life, many other aspects of the school experience are different. For instance, why should a student learn the Dewey Decimal System when there's Google and the Internet? Remember that distinct smell and soggy feel of newly mimeographed tests? A relic of a bygone era. How about recesses filled with competitive games of soccer, kickball or basketball? Is it even OK to have winners and losers anymore?

Here's another you're sure to remember: The disembodied voice of the principal emanating from a small speaker on the wall filling the classroom with various announcements. That, pardon the pun, is old school. It's gone -or at least augmented by technologies like student-run TV production and digital signage.

While it's not surprising that digital signage is replacing outmoded methods of communications around schools, what some might find shocking is the scope of digital signage deployments on campuses. According to an article published in in July, some 1,500 campuses added digital signage last year, and an additional 2,200 campuses are forecasted to do the same in 2011.

Digital signs at elementary schools, high schools and on the campuses of colleges and universities are used for a variety of applications, including -but not limited to:

* Informational: Where bulletin boards, lockers and even telephone poles on campus were once covered with fliers recruiting students for activities, advertising a new band on tour or conveying some other piece of important news, digital signs are offering a more attractive way to get the message out more quickly and easily.

* Wayfinding: Frequently visitors to a college campus or even a massive high school don't know how to get where they want to go. Digital signs not only can greet visitors, but also make it easy to find a gymnasium, theater or even an auditorium where voting in a local or national election is being conducted.

* Menu boards: With digital signage, controlling the display of what's for lunch at the school cafeteria becomes consistent and less labor intensive, if deployed across an entire school district. Think of the manual steps that must be taken to use the old plastic lettering -repeated over and over again across the district. Then there is simplifying the steps to coordinate this huge dance.

* Create ambience: Some school districts and universities use digital signage to create a desired environment. For example, one Midwestern high school honors program focused on business education relies on a digital sign outside each classroom to showcase the work of students and to give them a place to make special presentations. The digital signs, thus, are both functional and instrumental in creating the desired look and feel the school district desires.

* Emergency alerts: Displays on a digital signage network makes informing faculty, staff and students of potential severe weather and other emergency situations quick and easy.

So, here's the scoop: These digital signage applications are transforming how many different communications tasks are being fulfilled in educational settings. Digital signs are replacing outmoded approaches while at the same time making it easier to communicate an effective message. It's no wonder thousands of campuses and school districts nationwide are turning to digital signage.

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