This blog post includes a transcription of the live panel "See How 3 Educators Improve School Communication With Digital Signage Webinar" which took place on November 17, 2021.
- What are you trying to accomplish with digital signage in your schools and your districts?
- Are you tailoring the content that shows on each one of those screens?
- Who's involved in creating and managing the signage and give any tips about getting people involved in managing a network like that.
- How do you put on the training for the district? How do you manage that precovid?
- Could you tell us a bit about how video announcements and morning show newscasts work at your school?
- How has your community responded to the announcement shows? What's the response been like?
- How long are your announcements?
- How do you handle media releases for the students?
- Let's talk about the results. What improvements have you seen in your schools since implementing digital signage?
- What has been the most surprising thing that you've seen since implementing digital signage?
- Could you share a bit of how these strategies support or include marginalized students?
- What are the future plans for your digital signage?
- What hardware are you using for media playback?
- How long are the durations of your loops of content?
- Do you use your signs for admissions or marketing purposes at all?
- Are the students involved in creating the content doing so as part of their class or course, or is it a different extracurricular opportunity?
[00:01:45.810] - Joyanne Herdman
Hello. I'm Joanne Herdman. I am a National Board-certified media specialist at Lithia Springs Elementary School. I've been teaching for 21 years. Seventeen of those years have been in the Library Media Center. I became National Board in Library Media in 2011 and then renewed again in 2019. I am at an elementary school. We are kindergarten through fifth grade, within Hillsborough County, which is the 7th largest school district in the United States.
[00:02:28.870] - Tony Smodilla
I'm Tony Smodilla. I am about 80 miles west of Indianapolis. We're close to the Illinois, Indiana state line. The middle school that I teach at has about 400 kids. We have 29 schools in our corporation, and I'm also the media specialist. Before becoming a media specialist 22 years ago, I was also a technology teacher. This is my 29th year of teaching, previously in high school and middle school. I started using Rise Vision about three or four years ago.
[00:03:13.350] - Allan Horton
My name is Allan Horton. I work with the Garland Independent School District in Garland, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. I think we're the fifth-largest school district in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. We're large. We have a total population of 57,000 students and 7500 staff members. So our Rise Vision audience is 64,500. We have 82 total buildings, including school campuses and admin building sites that have Rise Vision. We have 135 Rise Vision display licenses currently and adding daily. And I've been at it for 27 years before working in Garland. I've worked exclusively with Garland for twelve years.
What are you trying to accomplish with digital signage in your schools and your districts?
[00:04:10.950] - Allan Horton
Our first and foremost plan for the Kiosks was communications. So the big thing everyone initially thought was, let's welcome our visitors to our campuses with a Kiosk as they first walked in the door. Let them know what this campus is about. Things that are going on are their mission statement, and they quickly escalated from there. Campuses wanted to add them to the libraries, the offices, the nurse’s station door, and kiosks. Communication is the biggest thing, mostly for parents, but it's now geared more towards students’ communication and secondary education. We have a technology center that has specified licenses for the Rise Vision tickers. They're watching the stock market in business and accounting classes. So there's a lot of education going on with it also.
[00:05:15.790] - Joyanne Herdman
Similar to Allan talking about the front office, we started our program in the front office to help out our staff, to be able to see all of our events and upcoming news, as well as our parents who came into the front office, and then it gradually came to the library media center. I use the program within the library to talk about different books, different releases of different items that come up. And now we have incorporated it into a morning show that our students are producing. So it has transferred over into student engagement and extended into our curriculum as our students can work on their communication skills or writing skills and their design skills within areas like STEAM.
[00:06:14.170] - Tony Smodilla
Yeah, it's the same thing we've been trying to figure out a way to get in middle school. So at that age, trying to get the students actively involved in getting information out to them. Students live in the Instagram Snapchat world, so sending pieces of paper or flyers doesn't cut it that much anymore. They need to be engaged and entertained. So with the displays we have in our building, we're able to accomplish that because it's very interactive with all the different animations that move along. We're also able to add or incorporate the presentations on our website. So parents are also updated, and the website is updated instantly, just like the displays in the hallway. So it's a really easy way for us to get information out to the type of students and parents we have in our building. We are up to a total of twelve displays now. Each grade level has its own wing. So there's one in each wing, one in our entrance when you walk in the front door, one in our gym entrance that will display all the athletic events as you walk into the gym using a display as a concession stand display for, like, basketball games in the gym. So we have one dedicated just for that, like you can see at McDonald's, basically two displays in our cafeteria for messages. I just added one yesterday to the media center and am going to add another one tomorrow.
Are you tailoring the content that shows on each one of those screens?
[00:08:14.090] - Tony Smodilla
I try to pick things that I think 11 to 14-year-old kids would be interested in seeing. There's a lot of educational displays or presentations. So I use a lot of those. And then there's a lot of information that we push out that the school wants the kids to know about. Other than making the actual voice calls on the intercom, we show that. So they're always reinforced with the messages on the displays. Each area has its own different display based on where it's located. Like I said, the concession stand is dedicated to that. The gym area is going to be dedicated just for athletic stuff. And then the one out by the concession stand as you enter into the gymnasium. I also use that as a live feed when we stream our basketball games and volleyball games from the gym. And then, when we do our newscasts, I live stream it to all the displays at once in addition to YouTube. So they're all used in that way. They're all fed the same stream. We have one in our aquatic center, like a dedicated aquatic center.
Who's involved in creating and managing the signage and give any tips about getting people involved in managing a network like that.
[00:09:42.590] - Tony Smodilla
That all falls to me as far as day-to-day stuff, with the displays, our staff in the building, and a couple of other buildings in which we have displays. Because I manage those for them, they send me information that they want displayed. Or have a conversation about, can we do this, or is there a way to do that? So I try to figure out a way to make something work like that or if it needs to be put on our website. We have a dedicated social worker and behavioral specialist in our building, and there's a lot of things now that she wants on our displays, stuff that's going on now, we push a lot of that stuff out to on our signage.
[00:10:28.130] - Allan Horton
In Garland, for each of our campuses, we tried to assign a specific person over it. Our larger campuses or high school locations have 3000 students each. They have multiple devices, so multiple people are working on their particular areas. So the librarians take care of the library. The special events coordinator at the high schools takes care of overall a Google Slides presentation for the campus for the day. And we use that religiously. The Google slides have been a great, awesome Godsend to us as far as content goes. It also allows them to share the ability to add things from different clubs, student council, other teachers, whatever is going on around the campus. So that's been great. We also encourage the staff to allow students again to assist with the content, as Joyanne was also talking about. So that's the way we do that. We offer district-wide training on how to use the system and the setup and things. We maintain all of the hardware, but each location is independently operated. We've tried to get the communications Department for the district to get involved with a particular area of each chaos, maybe for district content, but that hasn't taken off at this point.
How do you put on the training for the district? How do you manage that precovid?
[00:12:03.430] - Allan Horton
We'd have training sessions here at our technology center. We have labs to work it in now. We just do it remotely. And most everyone has already been using Rise Vision for a number of years. I think we've been with Rise Vision for nine or ten years now. And so the new people that come on at the campuses, we do one on one, just remote learning with them, remoting into their computer and showing them the steps of going through the Rise Vision process.
[00:12:34.750] - Joyanne Herdman
So I handle all of the programs within the library media center. My principal does his display down in the front office. I currently have 23 students that create and make presentations. And so I have developed, like, a step-by-step guide for different presentations that they do. And they start by doing five of those. And once they've accomplished those, they can pick and choose from the different templates of the presentations that are available. So the students that I have currently are in third, fourth and fifth grade, and we started using the program last school year. And my kids that were in at that time are our trainers of our new kids coming in this year. Those step-by-step guides helped our younger students and our newer students so that they could just go through, follow the algorithm, and create their own presentations. With that, I think the biggest thing that has been so helpful with the management is saving each of our presentations by the month we put in the month at the beginning of that. So when we go to load the playlist, I can select each month and bring it back up. I also have a different day each week. So we have a playlist for Monday and a different playlist for Tuesday so that our show has variety and other students are presenting on those different days.
Could you tell us a bit about how video announcements and morning show newscasts work at your school?
[00:14:27.380] - Allan Horton
My major is radio, television and film. So I felt perfectly in line with morning announcements since we got the Kiosk going. I knew morning announcements made absolute sense. We use Manycam software, and if you haven't seen that, you need to look that up. It's amazing what you can do. It's a full-featured, almost total production, quality video management and costs $49 a year. So definitely offer that up. We use Waze to broadcast inside of our district to prevent any impact on Internet connectivity. Since we have so many people, it is great. And we're able to show that on our Kiosks, the many campuses again, license technology pays for it. Otherwise, the campuses can request. I'd like to be set up for announcements and use a PC that they have there and a webcam. They can do everything they need to for video announcements. So we offer training again for them. We encourage students to use most of them. I would say students do 90% of all of our morning announcements. They write the script, and they're on the air, and they'll have guest faculty and things involved in it. And there are, of course, faculty members there to oversee to make sure things don't go awry. But that's how our video announcements were.
[00:16:31.850] - Joyanne Herdman
We have a variety of things with our morning show. So our third graders right now are working on interview skills. So with their third-grade teacher, they're developing and writing their own questions. And then they're going to be interviewing different staff members. And then we'll have our fourth graders go ahead and do the videotaping for those. So we're going to make other little video clips as they put them together. So our students are making short video clips. And then a lot of our morning shows are mainly the presentations done by the day of the week and then having that variety pulled through. So we have things like the weather, what's for lunch, staff highlighting different events and pulling all those together. My students also do book talks and new folks that are coming into the library. So they're creating some additional pieces that pull all those elements together.
[00:17:40.400] - Tony Smodilla
Same thing. We have weekly announcements or the daily announcements that need to get out to the students. Our newscast is live. We have a dedicated TV studio in our building that was explicitly built just as a TV studio. When we made our building about 20 years ago, we had two cameras set up. Everything is Chroma keyed. It's all student-produced and run by students. I just sit back, stay out of the way, let them take control. But it's the actual studio cameras with a built-in teleprompter. And now, since the way things have gone the last few years, we have started live streaming. So, in addition to being pushed out to the classrooms and on displays in the hallway, it's also live stream at the same time simultaneously on YouTube. So parents can also watch live if they want to; otherwise, it's archived on YouTube, so they can go back and watch. So we've been doing it live and online for four or five years. So we have a vast archive of the newscast. We have a system called a Tricaster. I just got approval to upgrade our TV studio. So we're just getting rid of everything, replacing everything brand new, like a $30,000 upgrade. Two years ago, we won the best newscast of the year. This was back when Channel one was the thing. Channel One has a contest every year, so we would always enter. We got voted the best newscast in the country. We've been a CNN affiliate for a while since the early 2000s. There's only a couple of middle schools that are seen as affiliates. So we get all the same footage on your local newscast. So we have access to all of the CNN stories, whether they're world national, all that stuff. So we pick stories that would be middle school appropriate that the kids might be interested in. And we show that as far as our newscast, too. So it's cool because we have a lot of content to pick from because of CNN. That makes it easy for the kids to write their scripts because the stories are already there. The videos are there, and they just have to tweak the scripts a little bit, but the footage is already there, so we can add that easily.
Read about the newscast in the Sarah Scott Middle School Case Study.
How has your community responded to the announcement shows? What's the response been like?
[00:20:35.350] - Allan Horton
It's been extremely positive. When we first implemented video announcements, we had elementary schools coming to us and saying, hey, our targets have gone down to zero. Kids want to get there and have plenty of time to start. And in those elementary schools, they have a round-robin of students participating in the video announcements. So they want to get on there to be on the announcements themselves and then to see, of course, their friends and things. So that was very encouraging. And I assume that's still going on. I haven't followed up with that. The best thing there is involving as many students as possible. And one of the things they do is prerecord the pledges in every classroom, and then each day, the pledges are led by a different class in that classroom. The parents love it and tune in. They record the announcements and then put it on the websites the parents can watch when they get home or if they're able to tune in during the day. Campuses have the ability and choice to live broadcast out beyond the school walls, and some do. But yeah, just a tremendous outpouring of support for it.
[00:21:47.330] - Joyanne Herdman
So ours is run a little bit different within our school. Our show is sent out through Microsoft Teams so that it's on a closed, secure site. None of our show goes out or is recorded to be distributed because that's something that we have in place within our district, probably mainly because we have elementary-age students that could be part of that. And that's our district policy that our parents like the flexibility that Rise Vision gives to my students. Previously, I had eight students involved in our closed circuit morning show that we had in the studio in the back. Now that I have it on Rise Vision, I have students who can work on their presentations in their classrooms. They can come into the library and work on them. Some of them work on them at home in the mornings or over the weekend to give a lot more participation throughout the different classes and things like that. So it's been helpful. And the kids love being able to see things that they've created. And also we've done where we take photographs of their art that they have made in our class or different things like that. And they take a photo of it and then they can submit it. And we put all of those together and made it, like a Slideshow. That's shown, like, once a week. But they like being able to see those items and the artwork that they've made.
[00:23:34.790] - Tony Smodilla
That's part of our culture. We've been doing it for so long—the group of kids that we have changes every year. There are many celebrities in our building because once the kids could see you on a TV or display, you've made it. So you're very important. They have different respect in the building with their peers and the staff in our building. It's an honor. I guess because the class that I have has been selected to be put in so that it's not for everybody in the whole building. So video announcements that we do it's special, and it's special for our building. Then when many of our kids go into the high school program, the radio-TV high school program, we have a lot of the teachers who like getting our kids because they've been doing it for the last three years. They can kind of walk right in and sort of know-how to run the equipment, how to be on camera. It helps our students by doing that, being able to speak in front of people. A lot of kids, when they come in as 6th graders, 11-12-year-old kids, they're kind of shy or timid, especially in middle school, because of that weird, awkward age group they're dealing with. But once they get in front of the camera and can read up a teleprompter, not embarrassed or read out loud like they have to do a class. Sometimes it changes the personality to be a lot more outgoing.
How long are your announcements?
[00:25:21.770] - Joyanne Herdman
So my show is embedding Rise Vision into a Microsoft Teams channel, so my teachers can click and play whenever convenient within their class time. Some do it before our school day begins. So whenever the students are all present, they kind of show that for, like the time length that they have our recording pieces, and the line up within the playlist is no more than five minutes. The other parts are added to the end. They're like extra. So it just goes and loops back through if they want to continue watching it. Some of our teachers show it after the students come back from lunch and recess, and some even offer it in the latter part of the day, after the kids have already packed up their items, and they're just trying to get them to settle down before they go out for dismissal. So there's a wide variety and the flexibility that they have by being able to see it on Microsoft Teams.
[00:26:43.250] - Allan Horton
It varies by campus. Each campus administration determines, so someone as brief as possible. Again, most of ours are all live. They can record also, and some do that. The high schools, because of block scheduling, mostly make theirs available by recording. And so it plays when they can, or students can work on their one-to-one devices throughout the day at the elementary. They're mostly all live, and some are five minutes with just the pledges, basic announcements and the moment of silence. And then, some were incorporated as part of their instructional day. So we have some magnet schools that run 15 to 20 minutes and announcements every day. But they include some sort of enrichment program that's in there that they want the entire campus to watch at once. They also incorporate some physical activity. So they'll have the students all get up and start doing some callisthenics and stuff to get them up and ready to learn. So it varies.
[00:27:44.210] - Tony Smodilla
We keep our newscasts from five to seven minutes. That's kind of the time frame. I try to keep it at really try not to go over seven minutes, and ours is always in the afternoon, and it's always live when our students are in homeroom type classroom. So they're not actually in any kind of instructional class. So it's kind of our schedule set up that way. It's easier for us to get our production-ready, having the whole day to kind of get everything ready to go than having it in the morning. And then in the afternoon, like when we show it live to our homerooms, it doesn't interfere with any classes, so it makes it easy.
How do you handle media releases for the students?
[00:28:33.390] - Joyanne Herdman
I don't because ours are all within our school platform, so it's not going out to any particular place beside, within our school building.
[00:28:46.830] - Allan Horton
We have a Communications Department-approved release form for students that appear on video announcements. So their parents, at the beginning of each school year, each semester, must fill out that form for the students to be shown. They do that as just a regular precaution, even in class. But because they like to do recordings and offer some of the announcements to different video competitions and things throughout the state or in the district. So we just do that as a standard.
[00:29:19.530] - Tony Smodilla
It's part of the beginning of the year forms that the students have to have signed. It's all done electronically. Now, in the past, it was all paper, but now it's all done electronically, just part of that each year, part of that stack of papers you send to the parents for them to sign. Everything is in the back as part of that.
Let's talk about the results. What improvements have you seen in your schools since implementing digital signage?
[00:30:17.130] - Tony Smodilla
Yeah. Kind of what I said earlier. It's not static. So there's a lot of engagement with the students and the staff. When we built our building about 20 years ago, each classroom had it, and they would see our TV in it. So I'm also able to push out a presentation to those classroom TVs because I can control those TVs remotely, power them on and off. So I have a small presentation that I put in every classroom. We have a lot of pictures that people take of the staff taking our students doing activities like a science experiment or something in gym class. So on the classroom televisions, I push those pictures out, and it just rolls throughout the day. So students in other parts of the building see what has taken place in other classrooms. In the same way, teachers can see what the teacher has done today or last week. And that is also pushed on our website. So it's a way to keep everybody informed throughout the building. Our corporation's building isn't anywhere close to what Allan has in Texas, but it's big enough to where things are going in separate classrooms that it's hard to know as a daily teacher what has taken place. So it's kind of cool that we can get the engagement and the students who are engaged. And so the staff. It's not uncommon to stop and see students watching the displays in the hallway to see if there's a video playing or if there's a message going on or something that will happen next week or whatever. There's a lot of engagement with the presentations at this place.
[00:31:59.170] - Allan Horton
We know this place gets attention because we hear very quickly if we ever have a kiosk down at any campus, report a sense of community, shared experience, and share sports teams, activities and things. Get the school spirit up and ready for Pep rallies, et cetera, events on campus, whether there's a book fair in the library, the club activities, all of that is shared instantly, and everyone has exposure to it. The most significant advantage, I guess, of our high school campuses, for sure, was adding them to the cafeterias where you have a captive audience. And here's the information playing on our four walls. They can't see the digital signage. So it's been a great way to keep the community spirit alive on each of the campuses.
[00:32:51.850] - Joyanne Herdman
I think a little bit of both of what Tony and Allan have said is just that sense of community and that everyone knows what's happening. And so it's nice that the students and the teachers and the staff members can all have one place to go to find out their information, events, different things that are happening around the school and that are coming up. And our PTA has been able to kind of add in some of the things that they're having as well. So it's a combination of the whole community within that. The most significant thing that we've seen is the students' confidence level. Like Tony said, those kids feel like superstars. We had two students who had to be retained, and then they repeated that grade. But by being a participant in the right vision for our morning show, their confidence level has been maintained, and it's helped boost them and kind of given that personal drive to keep striving for success.
What has been the most surprising thing that you've seen since implementing digital signage?
[00:34:20.170] - Joyanne Herdman
I asked my principal this morning as we were going through it, and he said that he's been surprised by the three presentations presented each week as different ideas. So those have been helpful to keep what he's had on the display fresh and new and give a variety within the display area for the front office within the library or media center. I noticed that my students would stop, and they'd take a look at the screen. My kids love the different word searches. And so, I have a different word search that comes up each day of the week. So even if they're coming into the library on a different day of the week, that's not their typical day. They are still able to go through and look for those word searches. And then we've added different book pieces to that. So just the variety and being able to manipulate and edit the other presentations very easily. I was very surprised by how easy it was for my younger students, my third and fourth graders, to use the program.
[00:35:41.350] - Tony Smodilla
Well, honestly, the biggest surprise was the customer support. That's a different way to look at it. The question is, a lot of times when you get these new programs or you buy something for your school, you're left on your own to figure how it works. With you guys at Rise Vision, if I push out an email, I get a response within an hour, and it's usually answered right. Then if not in the hour, it's responded to within that day. It's a tricky question, but the customer support is huge with you guys. It's amazing because, as I said, you get it. And there you go. You're done. That was a big surprise. And then, as far as implementing it, it's almost like once you get one, you want more. It's kind of a stage. I thought when we got our first one; we'd be done. Then you always try to come up with new ways or new places you can use or want to put one later on. So that was kind of a surprise. I didn't think we had as many today when I first got the first one going. Support is a big one for us. We always try to be as responsive and helpful as possible. I think that's important when working with schools and technology because there are many horror stories of schools buying expensive technology and just getting radio silence from a vendor. It comes at a frustration level where if you can't get it to work, it just doesn't get used anymore. Yeah, it's too hard to mess with. It's not the case with this one for sure.
[00:37:25.450] - Allan Horton
Going back twelve years, we started with archaic. It was horrendous, and the biggest surprise was nobody would use it because it was so difficult. Then Lo and behold, Rise Vision appeared on the horizon and saved us in first infancy. It was a little more complicated but still far more accessible than everything else that we use. So it was incredible. Now it is so simple. We bring on the new people, and they're like, wow, and they're just doing it within five minutes. They're just able to get the templates that are there incredible. Make it easy; make them rock stars from the get-go. They love that. And then they just expand out from that. So now it's like, wait, you have to buy more stuff, buy more licenses, buy equipment. So now, the demand is far exceeding the supply right now.
Could you share a bit of how these strategies support or include marginalized students?
[00:38:41.040] - Joyanne Herdman
So what's nice is we have students who kind of naturally pair up with each other. And so our show has a variety of students from different grade levels, from different backgrounds, from different learning styles and everything, and incorporates those together. Our students who come into the media center usually work in groups or small pairs together. So that way, they can also help each other and kind of be that teacher and leader and lead them along.
[00:39:31.190] - Allan Horton
So different schools do it differently. Some use it as a reward system for the students that may have behavioural issues. They're like, hey if you turn yourself around, you can be on this team. Others, you take the geeky students. They're kind of loners. They love getting in there, using the technology to build the presentations to work on video announcements. They thrive on getting behind the computer and working as part of a team that they wouldn't be able to do before. And they've come out of their shells. And when we first started this project with announcements on the Kiosks and things, we interviewed some students, and one talked about how they were just reticent. They couldn't speak as they were too shy. They started behind the computer, but then the team rotated the different responsibilities. So one week, you're behind the computer. Next week, you're on camera, and they were able to come out of their shell. Then she became the director for the show, and she was just one of the most outspoken persons for it. Parents loved what they saw, their students coming out of their shells. There's one student; I guess she wouldn't be marginalized. But she was talking about wanting to become a doctor. And she said that this whole process of building the video content and things would suit her perfectly when she became a doctor and was able to stand in front of large audiences and talk about whatever she found out—scientifically making presentations. So the kids love it. And they don't think they would at first. But when you bring them in.
[00:41:01.650] - Tony Smodilla
Yeah. So my school, we're 80% free, reduced lunch. So we have a lot of adversity in our school. And obviously, our school population is impoverished from the get-go; those kids are already marginalized. They come from some backgrounds that would rather be at school than home because it's the only time they get food. So the group of kids that I work with, I have those kinds of kids that come from poor backgrounds, poor environments versus the kids who are on the other end of the spectrum and the same with academic wise. I don't work with all the top A-plus students. I have two or three kids across all three grade levels who are the A-plus students and other kids who aren't. And then, as they get to work together and learn from each other, they help each other out in the TV studio and the classroom, too.
What are the future plans for your digital signage?
[00:42:21.730] - Allan Horton
We have a Planetarium. They want to add more kiosks to show different NASA information and things and upcoming shows in the Planetarium and welcome visitors. The field trips from the other campuses come over to it. Our Career and Technology Center is ever looking to do more things with it. They have a vet clinic there. They want digital signage there to advertise the different services they offer. We have cosmetology. The cosmetology Department showcases their work, and of course, they do their little price things and other events there on their kiosks. The librarians have been huge on bringing this in at the high schools. They've had their book trailers and things playing silently. They built most of them silent since you're supposed to shoot in the library, but they also play quiet background music. And they said it was unbelievable. When they play the background music, the noise level difference keeps the kids quiet and the talking to a minimum. So the libraries are one of our most considerable demands right now.
[00:43:38.590] - Joyanne Herdman
So my students have plans to create some HowTo videos that they want to add to our morning show program. And then I love even just some different ideas that I've picked up from Tony and Allen to incorporate in some other areas, like the cafeteria, the music room and PE and different things like that. So I can extend out to them as well.
[00:44:08.910] - Tony Smodilla
As of yesterday, I added one display. The first one is in the media center. And then, as I said, we're going to add one next week in the gym. But yeah, as far as our building, probably about it. We kind of got in every part of the area in the building. Plans are to add another one to a different building later in our aquatic center. They currently have one. They want to get another one because that facility hosts College swim meets, high school swim meets. So they want to expand and add to that building. Have a second one because they have a lot of traffic in that aquatic center. But the cafeteria was huge. Having two displays in our cafeteria was a big way to get messages out to kids because they were there for 30, 45 minutes. So it's a real way to get engagement in the capture. That was a big deal for us.
What hardware are you using for media playback?
[00:45:22.790] - Tony Smodilla
Yeah, I have a little bit of everything. Mostly I'm running out of PC six. For the most part, I have a couple of old little Bytespeed computers that are running. Yeah, 90% of them are PC six just used yesterday. The one in the library was using the Web app downloaded from the Play store. That works great. You don't have to buy a separate device. You have to manage a PC stick, or I know Apple TV's coming out next year, which would be huge too. But yeah, a little $200 PC six. They're running Windows 10, but if you buy displays and smart TVs with Google TV, that would be a great way to avoid purchasing a display plus separate hardware. Another good tip is I had sponsors pay for our subscription. For the first year, I was able to get the sponsors to pay for the whole year's subscription and just kind of gave them a little shout-out on the displays, thanking them, and they were happy to do it. We offered to make little 20 to 30 second commercials for them and show that on the displays, which the sponsors thought was a great idea.
[00:47:11.750] - Allan Horton
We standardized on a Lenovo tiny device to have ease of basic support for the hardware and things. So it's running Windows 10, a little small device that goes up behind our TV displays that can work wireless or wired. We tend to trend toward wired connections. I don't know if we have wireless running anywhere right now. Wired connections are just so much more robust for us in our environment. Plus, all of our students are now one to one. All of our access points are pretty highly saturated with our student body. So we do that. I use Android devices as room displays running Rise Vision with Google Calendars playing on them automated. Everyone loves that option where the room shows precisely who's meeting in it at what time. And we don't have to do anything for the device. It's just all automated.
[00:48:07.850] - Joyanne Herdman
We have two small PCs that are hooked up to big screen TV for our displays throughout. Then, the displays in the office and the media center are all sent through Microsoft teams out to the teacher's laptops, and the teachers display those onto the board, which makes the kids excited since it looks like a movie screen.
[00:48:32.700] - Rise Vision Host
So if you're getting started with Rise Vision, we support Windows Ten Ubuntu, a Linux lever, Chrome OS, Raspberry Pi, Android, Fire OS, so Firestick and Fire TV will be coming next week and then Apple TV sometime next year as well. And we also work on some, like, wireless presentation systems. So many schools will have, like, an Airtame or something like that in the front of each classroom, and we can integrate with those as well. So that when a teacher isn't casting the device, you can show Rise Vision content in the classroom.
How long are the durations of your loops of content?
[00:49:32.670] - Joyanne Herdman
Some of our short little video clips are about a minute, so altogether, it's under five minutes. Mine vary from day to day. And what we're trying to like about each little segment is probably only maybe 30 seconds.
[00:49:53.610] - Allan Horton
It ultimately depends on the campus. We use a lot of the Rise Vision to find things. They have Google slide information, and they usually try to keep those relatively short to 30 seconds in length maximum at the high schools. They have forever-long Google slides for all of the events and things going on. So those will probably run three, four minutes at a time. Just slide after slide. But they do have some exciting content. We do encourage exciting content on the different slides, but yeah, that's it.
[00:50:27.330] - Tony Smodilla
Typically the presentations have a built-in timer that plays until finished. I usually just let that run and let it play because it plays all day long and the halls and the other areas. If I'm going to create a Google slide presentation or something like that, it's not a template, depending on what it is, but usually 30 seconds to a minute, then we'll go to the next presentation.
Do you use your signs for admissions or marketing purposes at all?
[00:51:09.130] - Allan Horton
Admissions? No, not really. We do have it in our student services building. So I guess that's admissions, if you will, just encouraging new parents and things that go in there to sign up their students for the first time, they can see what all the district offers that way. As far as marketing, we do have high schools. They have it back at their gymnasium. So they're marketing the shows, the concessions and things of that nature. I guess clubs sell different things for money-making fundraisers and stuff like that. So I suppose that's absolute marketing for the club. So, yeah, all kinds of marketing purposes for getting people involved and know what's available to them on the campus.
[00:51:54.190] - Joyanne Herdman
Our front office has all the information for, like, new parents and that kind of thing. And they'll see that whenever they pick up their first-day folder and that information. So that's nice. We also have that display in the front office. We have each grade level and each staff team on, like a photo loop that's in there, too. And that helps for our new parents who are coming in and our new students to get to know the campus and the people that are here for them within the library. I do a steam club for different clubs on different days of the week. And so, I use that Rise Vision to be able to market my program. And it was very nice because the last time I was able to do that, we sold out of all of our slots within two days, which generally would have taken two weeks. And all the spots were full. And I have 20 kids on a waiting list. So it made a big difference in my marketing and also helped out with my book fair. And I was able to, like, Allan said, put the book fair Flyers and all the information up there, the little book clips and things like that. So our sales increased by over $500.
Are the students involved in creating the content doing so as part of their class or course, or is it a different extracurricular opportunity?
[00:53:30.190] - Tony Smodilla
I currently do not have any students creating content on Rise Vision at all the content that we do for our TV newscast. They are involved in that it's displayed on the Rise. So I guess there's kind of a workaround. No, it is not part of a course. It's not part of their core classes. No, it's just an extra class, but there's not a grade for it. So they're volunteering to do that stuff on their outside of the classroom day if they need to record something or film an event around the campus. Yeah, that's part of their thing. They kind of agreed to be part of that.
[00:54:16.640] - Allan Horton
It's not Rise Vision-specific or even video announcement-specific. But because teachers take work from the students' coursework and things, especially art teachers. So that is part of the coursework. And that is the content because they're displaying the work that the students did. So that would be an indirect relation to classwork.
[00:54:39.940] - Joyanne Herdman
Mine's a bit of a variety. So I have students who are creating the actual content. They're going in, and they're editing, and they're coming up with different ideas within that. Some of those students will do it in the morning. Some are doing it as part of their break in between classes, transition times, recess. Many of my students do it after school or at home since they have access to all of our students one to one except for our kindergarten. So we have about 550 kids who have a device that they're able to use. And then we also have some students if they do something that they're excited about as a report in the class or something like that, and they want to share it as well as the art pieces.
[00:55:29.810] - Rise Vision Host
Okay. Great. Well, all right. Thank you so much. I'm going to wrap this up. Thanks so much for joining us for that excellent panel discussion for some closing items. One of the questions was about how to get started with Rise Vision free digital signage. So there are two options for you here, you can start a free 14-day trial, or you can reach out to our sales team, and we're happy to give you a one-on-one demo and share some examples. So thank you so much for joining us today, and I look forward to seeing you all at our next webinar. Have a great one.