Technology has taken the world by storm in the past few decades alone. What used to be cobblestone roads used for bullock-carts and horse drawn carriages are now highways brimming with vehicles cruising over 100 Kmph easily. What used to be large bookshelves of information is now in our hands in the form of smartphones and tablets, which can store entire libraries’ worth of books and documents. And yet, our classrooms in the schools and colleges, where all these technologies are actually taught in, remain unchanged for the most part, most surprisingly.
Perhaps we can change this by using technology to improve the overall experience of students and staff members in academia. We believe that kiosks in particular hold the promise to play a vital role in the education sector, as they can play a role not only directly for teaching, but also in managing the premises and administration of the institute. This is driven by the fact that top ranked and prestigious educational institutes are always looking for ways to set them apart from their competitors, and upgrading their infrastructure with the latest technological amenities is a sure shot way to attract large groups of candidates for admission to their institute. So, let’s explore some of the ways in which kiosks can be implemented in schools and colleges.
Getting right to the most important part,
Inside the classrooms
Classrooms have a notorious reputation among students to be boring and uninspiring in general. If anything, the only thing they inspire us to do is sleep. But this has to change as the environment in which the learning actually happens has to be interesting to the students. The boring old blackboard and chalk can be replaced by an Interactive signage. This is a touch screen TV-like display which can play any kind of media like educational videos, presentations in PPT files or other documents like PDFs containing the teacher’s notes.
The digital class notes can be distributed to each of the students’ devices for future reference, using software application son the kiosk itself. These are smarter than regular TVs, while also being brighter than projector-screen setups and hence, is visible even without closing the blinds.
Why should the college professors waste their valuable time recording the attendance for the class, that too every hour? And why should they do it when the signage can do it within a second? The interactive signage can be fitted with a camera on top to be fully video conference ready. Using advanced video analytics, it can detect the faces of every student in the class and record the attendance into the database immediately. This also comes in handy for conducting online classes or webinars, in situations where the students are at their homes or remote locations due to quarantine rules during a pandemic, for example.
During the counselling time and admissions in colleges, the pretends to be a lot of confusion among parents and students, who are unsure and anxious whether seats are available in the course or branch that they prefer. At these times, not all the staff members may be available to guide the parents and even if they are, they may not necessarily know all the details. In such cases, they can use any of the Interactive signage in the admission center to enter their details and find the information that they’re looking for.
It can reduce the pressure or stress for the candidates when they approach a kiosk instead of a person. They can enter their registration number and the rank they secured in their entrance exams and every option available to them will be shown including the courses they are eligible for, the number of seats available in each branch and the detailed fee structure, after which they can even finalize their decision and block the seat of their choice. Once the admissions are closed, the kiosks can be repurposed for other use cases once the academic term has begun.
A digital signage can be used to showcase the achievements and profile of the college. These large displays can be placed anywhere where it’s easily visible to visitors and outsiders. Hence, they can typically be placed at the entrance, the reception or waiting area and the administration office. Colleges can showcase their profiles, accreditations, events, etc. and schools can show the outstanding achievements and scores of their top rankers who bagged the top state ranks in the board examinations.
The same digital signage can be placed in auditoriums for events and screenings and in the main quadrangle or assembly area to act as digital notice boards that display important announcements, exam results, event schedules and other information.
University campuses can be vast and expansive and if a visitor doesn’t know where he’s headed, he could very well get lost sometimes. This is where Wayfinding Kiosks come in. They can be placed near the entrance and one at every block, replacing the conventional “You are here” map with a smarter, connected and digitalized option. The wayfinding kiosk can point people in the direction to whichever building or place within the campus, which they can type in. These can be especially helpful during times of tech symposiums, cultural festivals, club events and sports meets, when many new visitors and guests enter the college and need to find in which building a specific event takes place and the way to the building or block. As an added feature, the kiosk can also be able to show the timings, schedule and status of events happening in real time at a given venue.
Self-service kiosks in libraries
make a lot of sense, as they can be the best friend of the reader, right from the moment he enters in up until he leaves. Firstly, the user can type in the title or author of the book they want. The kiosk will respond to his search request with the availability status (whether it is already borrowed by someone or whether it’s available to borrow).
Then, if it is available, it will indicate the aisle number, section number and rack number corresponding to the book’s location, which can otherwise be much harder to find in the huge libraries of top universities. The librarian’s workload can be reduced a lot when the self-service kiosk is also in charge of handling the book lending process.
The self-service or standee kiosks has a bar code scanner that can scan the book and the student/staff member’s ID card when they’re borrowing or returning it. Finally, the kiosk can also replace PCs to serve as digital libraries. Readers can choose from thousands of e-books, journals and magazines stored under separate categories to read in a simple and user-friendly digital format. The advantage of using kiosks versus computers is that the device can run the digital library app in kiosk lockdown mode to avoid the possibility of misuse.
Queues in the canteen
are the worst thing that can happen to a hungry stomach, especially when there’s an exam that the student has to sit with in an hour. But the presence of a few kiosks in front of the cash counter can alleviate some of the pressure for the few cashiers who may struggle to manage during the peak hours and can reduce the waiting time in queues. The users can browse through and select from a menu, which is updated live to show only the available items.
Then, they can complete the order and finish the payment in the kiosk itself to receive a token number. After that, they can wait until their token number comes up, which can be announced or displayed by a digital signage or the kiosk itself, after which they can finally receive their order at the cafeteria counter.
In this age of information and digital media being seen everywhere we lay our eyes on, you can’t really go wrong with using kiosks to help people in and around the sprawling campuses of educational institutes.