Kruse is the Central Lyon School District’s Technology Administrator. This unique K12 school district in Rock Rapids, Iowa serves 780 students in one large campus building. In his role, Mr. Kruse is chiefly responsible for managing the software that keeps his school connected. He makes sure all the classrooms are up to date with the software they need, and that teachers are up to speed with how to use it.
In a bustling school building with so many students of different ages, effective communications is a major concern. When Kruse became the technology administrator about 7 years ago, he needed to find a viable solution for the school’s communication and information sharing. Up until that point, most of the notices and important announcements had to be created manually by the staff. “The secretaries had just been doing a PowerPoint presentation on the TVs that are in the high school commons. That was all we had.” says Kruse. Not only was this immensely time consuming, but it was difficult to be sure that students across different parts of the school building were seeing the notices.
A Time-Saving Solution That Works
By using his network of IT colleagues and some simple Google searching, Kruse was able to find Rise Vision to answer the need for a more robust communications software in the district. After testing a free trial and seeing the value, they moved up to a paid subscription. Grand Lyon now has 3 large format displays in the most heavily trafficked areas of the school building. Their high school common area, high school library and middle school hallway areas all have a steady flow of students throughout the day, so students see - and pay attention to the signage.
The auto-updating templates that are part of the Rise Vision library are a key part of making the signs attractive and engaging, while requiring minimal effort to manage and schedule. Whether it’s Space Trivia, This Day in History or Famous Artists, Kruse finds that the auto-updating templates enable him to set-it-and-forget-it. “Mondays I will go through and reset my schedule based on what is going on that day or that week. I only have to reset the sports. Everything else is just scheduled for the year.” Managing the main school calendar is also part of his responsibilities, and so he always has the most up-to-date information. Using Rise Vision helps him to share timely updates for events happening at the school and also for event cancellations. They take advantage of templates designed to announce major events like school closures and templates for weekly happenings like new menus for breakfast and lunch.
For Kruse, the best part is that he can plan and manage all of the notices, for all three displays, very quickly - and even remotely when necessary. “I'd say no more than an hour a week. I mean, it's pretty easy to update them.”
Keeping Students In the Spotlight
Young kids always enjoy seeing themselves on TV, and it is more important than ever to keep students motivated and engaged with their learning. Central Lyon makes optimal use of their displays to support their students practical learning while keeping them entertained. The middle school Tech Ed classes let the students get hands-on experience with video editing, for instance. Many of the Tech Ed classes are combined with other classes, allowing students to learn technology applications relevant to their subjects. In literature class, middle schoolers create weekly “book trailers” using green screens and simple video editing software. Once their videos are created, they are sent to Kruse to upload into Rise Vision. Then, the “book trailer” video is scheduled in a presentation and displayed for the whole school. “We'll run them like one a week for all the kids to see. They like to stand and watch those.” Kruse says.
LiveStreaming & Social Sharing
Another important way that Central Lyon district is leveraging digital signage to keep their school community connected is by live streaming events. Even though this school district was not required to remain closed due to the global pandemic, new restrictions at events still needed to be communicated clearly. School safety is of utmost importance so digital signs provided notification when attendance limits were in effect at on-site events and games. Also, school sports were live streamed so that the school community could still participate, even if they were not in the physical building. “We use it during our events in the gym. We live stream everything, and then we'll embed the live stream. And so people watching the concession stand can watch the live stream of the game at least.” Central Lyon also has active Twitter and Facebook accounts that are used to keep the school community up to date on the latest school news.
Rise Vision has a powerful sharing feature that allows presentations to be shared to many channels including social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A single URL link can be embedded on a website so that any of the content on a display, will also appear where the link is placed.
Keeping Connected Matters
With many schools and school districts stretched to capacity these days, saving time while keeping informed and updated is incredibly important. Kruse appreciates the ability to schedule content in advance. He also values the flexibility that Rise Vision provides with its library of over 400 templates, with new ones being added each week. “You can just pick and choose and then modify and make it look like it's yours [that’s a] really nice feature. And the fact that [it] is always up to date, and they're constantly coming out with new things that you can do with it.” he says. “I'm not a very creative person, so having the templates makes it way, way easier.” This, combined with the school-friendly price point makes Rise Vision a highly valuable solution for keeping the Central Lyon school district effectively connected, while ensuring students are kept safe.
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