In our most recent case study, we discussed how the state of education has drastically changed over the past few years, some trends we’re seeing in education technology, and the benefits of the implementation of these technologies in K-12 environments. I’d like to take the opportunity to expand this dialogue further into one of the newest technology trends I’ve noticed on university campuses: the interactive kiosk.

peerless-av digital signage

Advantages

The number one area where we’re seeing new technology, particularly kiosks, on campuses is in student centers. People pass through these areas on a daily basis and it presents an easy way to quickly deliver information to students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Where we’re seeing education shape kiosk technology and, conversely, kiosks shape educational environments, is when kiosks have ability to either complete transactions or interact with students. Interactive kiosks allow for students to utilize their student IDs to sign up for classes and activities, purchase books, and more – all with ease from one location.

This functionality streamlines the student experience, reducing trips to different departments and waiting in lines to purchase tickets. We’re also starting to get more requests for adding in NFC chips, allowing students to interact with their kiosks and devices.

Kiosks enhance the university experience by assisting in way-finding and the presentation of schedules and other info to visitors. They may also feature a local establishments’ advertising or next week’s cafeteria menu. The possibilities for information sharing are endless. Now, we’re adding that extra level to it—the ability to communicate with the individual in front of the kiosk and transmit information back and forth.

By connecting to the school’s network, the kiosk offers an intimate interaction for the student: identifying them through their student ID, allowing them to sign up for classes or buy tickets to an event, and allowing them to purchase items directly on the kiosk, eliminating the need to use cash or a credit card. Evidence of student satisfaction is notable—campuses have observed constant utilization of these kiosks. Additionally, schools benefit through increased efficiency and the reduction of man-hours needed to operate ticket offices and visitor reception areas.

Considerations

When campuses are contemplating adding interactive kiosks they must take into consideration, among many other things, ADA compliance. Accessibility for students with impairments is a must, whether visual or audio. Campuses must have audio jacks in the kiosk for someone to plug in to or Braille indication on the kiosk along with operating instructions. The kiosk must also be wheelchair accessible.

Structural durability is key, especially as these areas are often unsupervised. Look for steel or aluminum construction and protective screens. You’ll also want the kiosk connected to your network so that you can see that it is live and monitor it remotely.

Common Kiosk Missteps

The most common misstep I’ve seen in implementing digital signage is decision-makers not considering precisely how it will be used. Simply putting a kiosk in a location doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be used. The content needs to be relevant and needs to be in a place where it is natural for someone to walk up and interact with it. In busy student centers, people are always on their way somewhere—your kiosk must be something that draws people to come to it and want to interact with it. The content has to be quick, easy, and intuitive.

Areas for Growth

As the utilization of digital signage and kiosks in universities continues to grow over the next few years, I think both the need and desire to centralize communication and data flow through these technologies will grow. Currently, the addition of kiosks to campuses seems to be a little ad hoc and managed by each department’s head and facilities manager through individual software systems. Streamlining this communication to be more efficient is most definitely beneficial, if not necessary at times. During an emergency, for example, these systems could be utilized to notify the students about the situation. If all the kiosks were on the same system, this information would quickly and easily be dispersed.

For more information on how our interactive kiosks and audio visual solutions can improve your educational environment, please visit http://www.peerless-av.com/en-us/professional/applications/5!