Here we see a complete picture, a system of connected school digital signage – interactive, non-interactive, indoors, outdoors, and at home.
This is what we are exploring in this article – Not only one place we can use Arreya, but creating a complete system of connections with our various environments, devices, and users
Looking at the first step – Outside
Not at the entrance, we will look at that next. But, actually, outside.
What about parking lot internet access for students that don’t have access at home? Some of the schools and districts we work with are already doing this now. The same goes for providing wifi hotspots and creative ways to access the internet for those who don’t have access outside of the school.
Arreya can help provide a common interface for students and teachers to access information, across various devices and scenarios.
- You pull up in the parking lot, open your laptop, and see the latest announcements and information.
- Content can be created for portrait and landscape, interactive, big screens, and small screens.
- You can push it to students and faculty as an App for phones and tablets
- You can set it as the homepage for students, or add it as an app on their laptop
We’re not just creating digital signage, we’re making content available through a common interface that is easy to access and update. By leveraging integrations with other services like G Suite, you can create and update content with tools you already know and use.
Moving toward the building, what about the entrance, outside, and inside?
How can we connect with information as they enter a building?
Entrance areas are great for information displays because of the common point of access. But signs on doors fall off, and posters are ignored. Bright digital displays with updated and animated information get looked at.
There are many opportunities for digital signage at the entrance.
Outside on large LED signs, at doorways, or in entrance ways with access controls and alert messages
Indoor displays to greet visitors, possibly with a virtual receptionist
And, special scenarios, like sanitation stations
If you have school digital signage, you can probably repurpose it for a new use today.
With Arreya you can integrate other hardware and software to trigger content, or trigger other services from an interactive Arreya channel
- Some uses today include –
- Showing who is entering the building
- Who is calling
- Results of temperature scans
- Survey responses
- Alerts, from Arreya’s built in alerts, or triggered from a 3rd party via Webhooks and RSS. If your school uses a modern alerting system, chances are it can be integrated with Arreya.
How do we connect in the cafeteria?
What is the cafeteria now? Is it a ghost town? Are students allowed in, or are they in their classroom, and how do they get the information from the menu board.
What about the screens – multiple screen menu boards don’t translate well to phones and tablets. This may be a good time to think about how you share or embed this information with your mobile and at home audience – through easy integrations like Google Sheets.
How are students at home getting nutritional information? WIth so many students relying on the school lunch system, how can we help them stay healthy at home too?
And, if you do have that entrance sign up in the cafeteria, what do you use it for now? Are you using it for access control? Notifications and alerts? This is a good time to think about repurposing that existing screen for something new.
Easy updates are the best, no one wants to waste time
What if you could update your menu board, mobile app, entrance signage, and student portal by simply updating a spreadsheet? Yeah, that’s what we like.
Use google sheets to make easy updates to any text field on a menu – items, pricing, nutritional information
Embed 3rd party systems to go farther with compliance and automation
That is a great lead in to our next area – the classroom
The classroom has many areas to make connections with students, and may be used and arranged in totally different ways today. Not everyone is in the classroom, and may not be there on the same day, if at all. So one of the challenges is reaching all the students, inside and outside the traditional classroom, at the right times.
Using your Arreya app or link –
- Students can interact with the information on tablets and desktops.
- The teacher can share the information using a smart board or projector
- Students at home can have the same information, like they would if they were in the classroom
- Even students on the go can access the same information – from a smartphone
Leverage content integrations to make updates easier, and automatic
Don’t forget this is interactive, make it fun and something they want to use. You could even create separate apps for homeroom, and individual classes.
We also have several ways to schedule content, so you can ‘take over’ the screen and show the right content at the right time.
Schedule individual slides to show up for the right day or week, or schedule the whole presentation to change for a timed event like the morning announcements, after hours content, or maybe streaming live events like a pep rally.
Arreya’s integrations with G Suite and other services are perfect for keeping a classroom up to date.
Integrations with Google Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and even Google Forms – which can be nice for student surveys and challenges.
If you use Google Meet in the classroom already, it’s possible to embed Meet within Arreya, so your students can access the virtual classroom without leaving your app.
YouTube and other streaming services are also supported and provide an easy way to live stream content. We’ll talk more about this later.
You can also embed content from other learning management systems or classroom utilities. If it has a button to share or embed, chances are you can show it in your Arreya content.
The same goes for your website. It can likely be embedded within your Arreya app, as a full site, or other ways like using the RSS widget to pull in school news as an animated ticker on your main page.
Now let’s talk about another unique area of the school – the Gym
Students may not be in the gym, it may be physically distanced, or it may even be repurposed as another type of room.
So without people in the bleachers, how do we get the events to remote viewers?
Tools like YouTube live streaming make it easy to broadcast events to remote viewers wherever they are.
Live streams are also really easy to set up and you can broadcast from almost any device that has a camera.
Live streams work great with the scheduling feature, so you can override any content you have with the live stream at the right time
Another place we find digital signage in the gym is for informational displays and hall of fame displays. You may already have some now that can be repurposed. If it is a sign at the entrance, make sure to post your covid19 policies along with the gym and event schedules. You can make these easy to update by linking them to a Google Calendar or Google Sheets
Don’t forget about what your remote users will see – how are you getting the live stream to them?
We recommend embedding your live stream within an Arreya channel so your users have one place to go, one app to use.
You can also push out information for people who may be doing their workout at home – post workouts, routines, and general fitness information to keep them in the loop
Live streaming can come from several services. While we typically prefer YouTube for it’s ease of use and low barrier to entry, you may already use services that can be embedded within Arreya, like Vimeo and others.
You can also enhance your stream with additional services, software, and hardware.
Additional services like StreamYard give you the ability to make a professional looking broadcast right in your browser. Switch between different sources, live and pre-recorded clips, insert lower third graphics, integrated social commenting, and more.
Additional software like OBS and other studio broadcast software give you full control over your broadcast, but may be harder to use and will have some learning curve.
The streaming services are typically separate from the software and hardware you use to create the stream – use a phone,a tablet, a pc, or even professional cameras with dedicated streaming hardware.
Speaking of remote users.. Let’s move on to connecting outside the school digital signage
It’s important to note that student’s aren’t the only ones outside of the school – Your audience may be parents, administrators, or teachers. You can create a channel for each group to help separate the audience and what content they recieve.
When thinking about users at home try to make the content interactive and informative. Use things like Google Forms to survey students, vote for student government, or create a game using a form where they submit answers for a prize. Whenever possible, try to re-use existing integrations and content so you only have one source to update. If you have something like Google Slides for announcements, embed that in all of your digital signage – inside and outside the school.
If you want to keep your content private, like in the case of administrators and teachers –
- Use arreya’s security options to lock down your channel.
- Create private channels that require a login
- Use Single Sign on to help manage user access
- Enable IP restrictions to restrict what networks are allowed to access your content
When talking about connecting outside, how do you get your content to the user?
With Arreya it’s easy to share your link, but what about making an app out of your content, or making it easier to get to through an icon?
This is where Progressive Web Apps come in to play. PWAs are a new way of creating apps for phones, tablets, and desktops.
- Web based
- Work on any device with a modern browser
look and feel like a native app you would get through the store
- Can be added by the user to the homescreen – or – one of the big advantages here is that your can be pushed to devices using management tools like the Google Admin Console – So students will already have the app installed when they open their Chromebook.
- Another great way to use your arreya link is to set it as the homepage, so it is the first thing students and teacher see.
- You have control over the title, icon, and brand colors for your app
Another great tool is push notifications – With the PWA installed you can push notifications, letting people know new content is available, or notify them a few minutes before a live event begins.
Now we have looked at one way to make a complete system of communication, advancing what we do already, creating new content, and realizing how this can work not only for schools, administrators, and districts, but for almost any business with a hybrid presence.
We went over 6 areas in this article. These aren’t the only areas where digital signage can help make connections, but hopefully this gives you an overview of what a connected system of school digital signage can look like.