From the time they wake up to the time they fall asleep, children and adults alike are bombarded with information coming from dozens of different sources competing for their attention.
So, how to ensure that your new high-tech communication system can have some authority and become a familiar source of information?
For Osage Hills Public School in Bartlesville, OK, the answer was a creative one.
A Christmas trivia game.
"We had told our students to watch the EverAlerts every hour on the hour for a new question," explained Amy Roop, the school's technology coordinator. "They were very excited about this."
Students received an answer sheet to submit at the end of the day, and prizes were in store for those who had answered all the questions correctly.
But how can a game like this have an effect on keeping a school informed and safe?
Familiarity is Key
Whether it's providing emergency information or notifications of class schedule changes, communication is only as effective as the attention it can command. While flashing colors and loud noises can help with that during emergencies, getting students, staff and other building occupants to be familiar with where they can find information is a crucial part of successfully implementing a communication system.
"I noticed students constantly looking at the EverAlerts, checking the time for the next question," Roop commented.
If they knew it or not, the students were becoming accustomed to checking the displays for information. Even though the information was related to a game, developing that familiarity is critical for building a reliable communication routine.
And in the event of an emergency, having a centralized source of communication that students and staff are familiar with and can trust is one of the most important factors in keeping people safe. In this instance, a simple game that provided information in a consistent location and from a known reliable source helped build the foundation for future success with the school's EverAlert system.
Simple to Implement, Fun for Everyone
No one wants to use an unintuitive or difficult system. Sending a new trivia question at the top of the hour seven times through the day could easily have become a cumbersome waste of time for staff. Missing a question or sending it late wouldn't help reinforce the idea of EverAlert being a dependable source of information.
Thankfully, that wasn't a problem.
"It was nice to be able to enter and schedule all the questions at once, versus having to post one every hour," said Roop. "That feature made this game so easy to create!
"It was a very fun day for students and staff, and we will be doing this again in the future."