Creating engaging content for digital signage

One of our intentions when we developed TrilbyTV was to encourage schools to create more engaging and exciting content on the digital screens they have around the school. From the screen in reception where parents, visitors and some students will see it; through to the screen in the corridors which students walk under several times per day; and to the screens in every classroom and in every students pockets via their mobile device.

What doesn’t engage people is static flat content which is sadly what we see the most when visiting schools. As Neil has pointed out in a previous post the world of signage has moved on. Our cities and public places are now served by large format digital screens rather then flat static paper bill boards and advertisers are creating content which draws the viewer in and engages on a different level. Of course schools don’t have the multi thousand pound budgets of the big advertisers, but what they do have is access to exactly the same tools to create the content.

So here is a brief round up of my top tools which help create engaging and exciting signage content specifically for use around schools.

Camera (iPad, iPhone, Mac, Win PC)
Camera App IconThe quickest way to change your signage from flat to exciting is to use video. The most basic way to capture video is to use the camera built in to your device. Every iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone and Android device has a camera as well as most Mac and Windows computers. As a headteacher use the built in camera (and microphone) to record your weekly message out to your students. As a class teacher use video to capture words of praise and support for excellent work produced by your class. As a student use the camera to capture and share your learning. We are very used to seeing people on TV, so why is it still so novel to record ourselves and present?

TIP: Hold the iPhone in landscape mode to capture the best looking video, choose a well lit and quiet space and just press record.

Of course you can add titles, effects and more using iMovie (iOS or Mac) or Movie Maker (Windows) but this is something for the more confident user.

Adobe Voice (iOS)
Adobe Voice IconWe all know Adobe for their amazingly popular and globally used Photoshop application, but they also make some great apps for the iPad. Adobe Voice is a very simple image, icon and audio tool which lets you create short video pieces ideal for digital signage. The interface is very easy to use allowing you to create great looking content with a few taps. Layering images and text is easy and the addition of several music tracks to choose from. Each slide in Adobe Voice is accompanied by a voice over (hence the name) which creates another level of engagement. We’ve seen Adobe Voice used for Teacher to Student communications as well as Student to Student. This really helps promote Student Voice which is something schools need to focus on and OFSTED adore.

Adobe Voice is free to download and is superb for creating a polished and well presentable outcome which you’ll be proud of making and people will be excited to watch.

TIP: Keep your Adobe voice projects short and to the point, remember students and staff will be viewing screens for a few moments as they walk past or underneath.

Replay (iOS)
Replay IconOccasionally you’ll want to add a load of images to your screens. Maybe to celebrate a good assembly, or images from a project focus week or a great school trip. You could add these as a slideshow to TrilbyTV or you could create something with a bit more action and movement which is where the Replay app steps in. Replay takes a sequence of images or video and instantly turns them in to an animated slideshow with music. Slides can be re-ordered and text added if needed before you choose from a range of soundtracks and finally export to the camera roll. Like Adobe Voice it makes the process of creating a more interesting slideshow very quick. For free the app creates a few different slideshow types and has a few music choices. It also watermarks in the lower right hand corner. Many more effects and music tracks are opened up and the watermark is removed for a £10.99 in-app purchase.

TIP: A slideshow can be a great way to celebrate an event, aim for no more than 20 pictures that effectively tell the story.

So with a few apps and a decent quick way to get video to the screen you can really engage your audience and #SwitchOnYourSignage

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