Forget blackboards and overhead projectors. High schools these days are eyeing something bigger and brighter to attract students. With changing environments and more competitive recruiting, schools need to keep campuses fresh, interactive and cost effective. In recent years, digital displays have become a more realistic option, and high schools are taking advantage. Read on to learn more about how LED displays can help take your campus to the next level.
Looking past the price tag
Before we dive in, let’s address the number one concern associated with digital displays. “Big scoreboards are too expensive,” or “there’s simply no room in the budget” are common objections. While it’s true displays have been financially out of reach for most high schools, recent developments in technology have made displays more attainable.
Over a short period of time, these displays actually end up paying for themselves. Every board installed in a football stadium, gymnasium or assembly space is an opportunity for advertising. Take Dekalb High School, for example. They are in the process of adding displays to their basketball court and football field. In just three months, they saw $85,000 in advertising revenue — all prior to the installation and use of the boards.
It’s not just your bottom line that benefits. Digital displays are a solid investment in your school’s future. Both public and private establishments compete fiercely for students, and to be the “top choice” you must set yourself apart by providing a unique, engaging and tech-forward environment. An eye-catching LED scoreboard that rivals many colleges is a great way to do just that.
Digital displays and athletics are a match made in heaven
Athletic programs are a big deciding factor for many students when vetting a new school. Investing in one or multiple displays is a surefire way to make your campus a top pick.
LED displays don’t just set you apart with students, but with neighboring campuses as well. Those with less sophisticated venues often have their games at more advanced facilities — expanding the host school’s revenue opportunities and reinforcing their reputation as the best in the area.
Dollars aside, these displays are also an effective way to draw attention to sports programs that don’t usually get the spotlight. Showcasing cheerleading, dance and smaller team programs is another useful tool for recruiting new students and larger game-day crowds.
If your school’s facilities aren’t large enough to hold all the fans, you can utilize your digital display to host overflow spectators elsewhere on campus. Think of those Friday night football games against your crosstown rival. When your outdoor stadium fills up, fans can head to the gymnasium and enjoy the game streamed live on your indoor display.
Off the field and into the classroom
Benefits aren’t limited to athletic programs, however. LEDs are a great way to highlight fine arts programs and enhance your overall curriculum. Host movie nights for film clubs, stream band practices or broadcast theater productions. Digital displays even improve gym classes. Use them to create an Orange Theory style fitness environment for students. Say goodbye to dodgeball and hello to 21st century courses that offer valuable health benefits and keep students engaged.
Try utilizing displays as teaching instruments for day-to-day or after school organizations. A/V clubs can learn and practice on real-world tools, and business or marketing classes get internship-style learning experiences. Dekalb High School marketing students, for example, created the advertising packages that were presented to local businesses. These proposals brought in that previously mentioned $85,000 in revenue.
Best of all, these displays are fairly easy to use and manage. Allowing students to run both the day-to-day and long term planning means display operations are covered — relieving faculty of additional work or headaches.
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Case study: Marshfield High School
Until recently, Marshfield High School athletics operated out of a facility that had been in use for 78 years. When it came time to upgrade, the school turned to Samsung and partner Correct Digital Displays to install a massive outdoor video board.
Clocking in at 20ft x 38ft with a 16mm pixel pitch, the Marshfield High video board is one of the largest in the state of Wisconsin. This behemoth presides over the football field and is used for a number of different athletic programs, including football, soccer and track.
Off the field, Marshfield has found a way to incorporate the video board into their curriculum. Students help write code for the board, produce games and video content, manage audio and run recording and replays for athletic events.
With just over 4 months of operation under their belts, the school hears nothing but positive reactions from students and event goers. “The video board is the one thing people talk about after every game … people are very impressed,” says Athletic Director Nathan DeLany.
What makes this project truly unique, however, is the school’s motivation for installing the board. The purchase wasn’t driven by financials, but by a desire to increase student opportunities and improve the community as a whole. “We want it to be about the kid experience and the opportunity for real-life work experience it creates for them,” says DeLany. Marshfield High School is not using the board for any advertising purposes in its first year of operation, instead honoring donors and offering more opportunities for students to create content.
The transition from outdated facility to new grounds sporting a super-sized video board was a labor of love for both the school and the community. Marshfield High has more improvements in store, but this video board is sure to be the crown jewel of their project for years to come.
Make the leap
Gone are the days of school as we remember it. Digital displays are taking education to new heights and offering benefits for classes, clubs and teams of all shapes and sizes — not to mention providing major financial opportunities for schools. With more accessible pricing and ease of use, it’s no longer a question of if you should make the leap, but when.
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