When it comes to keeping everyone in your building informed, a dedicated school communications platform can be a powerful tool – so powerful that you may not be using it to its full capacity. With a mountain of audio and video capabilities, these modern communications systems can be deployed for the sake of safety as well as convenience and camaraderie.
For instance, you probably know your communications platform is well-suited to facilitate emergency response – it was likely the major selling point – but the ways it can accomplish this task are deeply nuanced. We'll start there, as we look at five uses for your communications platform that you probably haven't thought of.
1. Use custom messages to help people find safety
Communications systems that use digital screens placed throughout the school allow you to add clarity to your messages, a benefit that is especially important in emergencies.
During a state of panic, people are liable to become disoriented, but if you can you're going a long way toward keeping people safe – whether the emergency is fire, severe weather or an active threat on the premises.
2. Prevent message fatigue through segmentation
People are bombarded with messages all day, every day, to the point where they may tune out most of that noise. They do so because most of those messages are relevant to only a fraction of the audience.
But with a modern communications platform, you can decide what messages go where within your school. Perhaps you want to target just the library, or the gym, or the science department.
That way, students and staff won't be hearing irrelevant messages all day, and when they do hear a message through the communications system, they're more likely to listen, because they know it pertains to them.
3. Help students get to class on time
Everyone knows about school communications platforms' ability to disseminate day-to-day information such as calendars, class schedules and run-of-the-mill announcements. But have you thought of using your system to maintain order in the hallways?
If you have a platform that allows you to place digital screens throughout your building, those screens can be set to display a countdown timer showing how long until the next class period starts. You could combine that with other messages urging students along to class.
This will not only help them get to class on time but make it so staff doesn't have to station themselves in the hallways imploring loitering students to move along.
4. Boost morale
Don't forget that you can use this tool for fun, too. Adding doses of levity and expressions of appreciation throughout the day can do wonders for the students and staff who are stuck in the same building for seven hours at a time or longer.
One approach some schools use is to encourage people to submit notes of kudos in recognition of everyday good deeds. It could be as simple as a student wanting to recognize a peer for helping open a jammed locker, or a teacher thanking a student for staying after class to help stack chairs.
Recognizing acts of kindness and courtesy large and small can mean a lot to the school population, and inspire an enhanced sense of camaraderie.
5. Tell the time
The most basic function of these communications platforms can be the easiest to overlook: the synchronized clock. There should be a function that allows you to set the screens to display the time in large format – digital or analog.
Similarly, you can use that aforementioned countdown timer in the classroom, too. It especially comes in handy when administering tests.
Psst, EverAlert does all of this
One communications platform that can do everything described above is American Time's EverAlert, which combines emergency notification capabilities, digital signage and synchronized time.
It also displays weather alerts, automatically contacts authorities during emergencies and provides customizable screen layouts. (Maybe you'll want to set yours to display the school colors.)
Hopefully, you never have to use EverAlert for dire emergencies, but you'll have peace of mind knowing it will be there when you need it most. Meanwhile, you can maximize your investment by taking advantage of its full capabilities as an everyday communications tool.