Studies show what educators already know: students that participate in extracurricular activities (ECAs) – such as performing arts, sports, publications, practical labs, student government, honors society and academic clubs – have higher GPAs, score better on assessment tests, have better attendance and frequently go on to higher education.
This is especially true in high school, but earlier education is where students get in the habit of doing more than the minimum required by their schools, and develop key skills that will serve them well in their future education and careers.
ECAs can expose students to many types of skill sets and areas of knowledge. They supplement classroom learning by offering a wider scope of exploration and inquiry. Students are also exposed to different ways of thinking, and people from different backgrounds.
Your digital screens can accentuate diversity of all types, by displaying messages aimed at different learning styles, outlooks, opinions and cultures. If there’s a sizeable Spanish-speaking population in the student body, display some messages in Spanish, or that teach a few basic Spanish words to other students, and at the same time promote the new Spanish Club.
Mark various holidays from different countries and cultures, then show data on how many people in the school and surrounding community will be celebrating those holidays. Have a provocative quote of the week that’s displayed several times a day, to get them thinking in new ways while also mentioning the debate team. Tie in each of your ECAs with engaging messages that reinforce the benefits behind the activity.
ECAs put students together and get them to interact with one another. They learn the necessary skills for building and maintaining relationships, and can develop teamwork and team building skills in a safe environment.
Encourage interactivity with your digital signage. Hold contests, or ask trivia questions with a prize of some kind for teams, groups or classes that answer correctly. Set up a dedicated social media page and display real-time social interactions on your screens.
You can also get your students to design messages for display around your facility, teaching them some basics of digital design as well as allowing them to collaborate on something that has instant rewards – their work, once approved, is shown all over the school for everyone to see. This also helps build confidence and self-esteem, as well as encouraging them to think of the whole student body, instead of just their close peers.
Interactive touchscreens can allow students to sift through information-dense directories used as educational or ECA supplements, with information detailing what’s available to them, current projects or progress, how to join, and so on.
ECAs are a great way to get students used to scheduling their time efficiently. When students have to regularly be somewhere at a certain time and meet deadlines, they learn important time management and prioritizing skills.
Be sure to include the current day, date and time on your digital signs to keep everyone on track. Add reminders of upcoming activities, such as “15 minutes until football practice starts”, or “Sign up for Yearbook Club by end of day tomorrow”. This advertises your ECAs and gets participating students up and heading to where they need to be.
ECAs also give students a chance to interact with their community and help those in need. This raises social awareness, and prepares them to be good future citizens who participate and assist.
Advertising outreach programs gives students insight into their wider community, and offers them a chance to volunteer. Showing progress towards goals on current initiatives might inspire them to make that extra effort to reach their targets, as well as giving them a sense of accomplishment for what has already been achieved.
The school itself is also a community. Displaying current athletics stats on teams and players, recent theatrical or musical performances with attendance figures, and the like can also help knit your school together into a something more than the sum of its parts.
Extracurricular activities expand your students’ horizons regarding what the world has to offer and what they and their fellow students have to contribute. ECAs deepen their interests, suggest possible career paths, encourage social interaction and leadership qualities, and help them develop new skills and talents. They also look great on resumes and college applications.
By using your digital signage to reinforce these programs, you’re doing much more than just advertising and promoting – you’re helping to shape students’ futures.