I visit a lot of schools and sadly I have to say that, as I wait in the reception areas, my eyes are often drawn to a TV on the wall showing endless loops of pictures of the pupils having fun. The quality of the pictures is variable but one thing is consistent – there are too many pictures and usually nothing else. What a missed opportunity.
One forward looking school, Firs Hill Primary, asked us if we could do something about the digital information screens in their reception and dining areas. The brief was for the content to be interesting, to showcase the school’s work, to provide a window on the wider world for the children and, most importantly, to be easy to update.
That’s exactly what we did. We created a whole information system and designed a number of pages, some static and some that can be edited by the school, but each consistent with the school's style. We even designed a way that each class teacher can display their class’ work. Finally we added a TV tickertape of BBC Newsround, a clock and the weather forecast. Digital signage for schools has grown up.
To meet their most important criteria – easy to update – we linked the screens to the school’s website so the information on the digital screens is updated via the website content management system (CMS). Every teacher has a log-in so they can add their posts from their own computer.
And yes, there are photo montages on the screens, but they’re interspersed with today’s menu, the author of the week, the adult education courses running that day, Year 3’s tadpoles project, what school trips are happening.....