How to use interactive signs to engage with your pupils

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Education is ever-evolving – it can be a struggle to keep your pupils engaged. You may have already tried various ideas, but a great option is by using signage, and not only inside the classroom itself – you are going to need exterior signs to show where your classroom is!

What is your message

First things first – what do you want your signs to achieve?

  • To display information

  • To teach students

  • To make the room look nicer

  • Give morale a boost

  • Increase creativity

  • To provide directions

  • Displaying health and safety warnings

  • School promotion

You might find that some of these points are more relevant than others, but the likelihood is your signs are going to aim at least one of more of these things.

So, you’ve got your aim – what about design? You’ll no doubt want your signs to stimulate your students whilst also giving a personalised feel to your classroom.

Tools for learning

One of the most popular reasons for the usage of signs is to teach your pupils. Students learn in different ways, and signs give you another option rather than writing and reciting from a board. Signs are a great way to incorporate different teaching methods into the classroom – especially effective as visual tools, as certain topics can be taught well using posters and signs.

As an example, a primary school can use a range of different signs to teach younger children the alphabet and a secondary school could use a poster of the periodic table.

Using signs gives students a change of pace and a different perspective on a topic.

Graphics – a great learning aid

Even more significant for children, you need visuals to encourage learning. It will also give them an alternative appeal and make students want to look at the information – graphics are much more interesting in comparison to just words, and the younger the children, the higher the ratio of pictures to words should be. If you use more cartoon-like graphics, this can also be more appealing to younger kids, but detailed and correct drawings for older students.

Not all signs are there to teach though – some are to convey information such as direction, safety information – and not all are for students, some are for visitors too. But graphics like arrows are a great way of communicating a point with limited words.

Posters to motivate

You can also use signage as a more holistic approach to education and help your students to develop in other areas aside from intelligence. Social skills and self-care are really important for students as school, for a lot of people, can be daunting. There’s a lot of pressure both in terms of learning and socially, so they can benefit from encouragement.

It is a good idea to use different fonts, colours and imagery to distinguish these from educational signs.

Interactive learning

One of the best ways for students to form connections is interaction. If they can engage with information in a hands-on way they will retain the information better. Always look to make their learning experience more interactive. This, in turn, makes lessons more fun and thus more memorable.

Here are some ways you can create the optimum design for interactive learning:

  • Leave gaps to enable students to fill in missing information

  • Create signs so you can move around pieces to mix and match answers

  • Make boards to be drawn on

  • Create multiple different posters to be arranged in different orders

There are a number of different styles to choose from – magnetic, digital, interchangeable or even ones on blackboard or whiteboard to be easily written on and erased.

Children will feel more secure and comfortable if they feel as though they have a sense of ownership in the classroom, so giving them a controlled way to make their mark is a great way of giving them responsibility and making them feel at ease.

Colours and moods

Colours can turn something boring into something attractive that your students want to read and learn from – they can also add a bit of colour to a drab classroom and enable you to put your stamp on things. You don’t want to create something overstimulating as this can become a distraction. You can carefully select a sign based on what needs to stand out.

Show some school pride by incorporating the school’s colours in your outdoor signs. This gives it a visual identity, just like a company has their own branding, and enables it to be recognised easily.

Engaged or distracted?

There is a fine line with signs between engagement and distraction. You don’t want the signs to be so busy that the information is hard to take in and they just end up staring at them. Here’s how you can keep within those lines!

  • Keep information to a limit and focus it on one topic if you can

  • Unify the classroom and the sign by sticking to a theme

  • Don’t use too many colours and use a palette of colours that match and combine well

Set yourself up for success

Even though it doesn’t seem like it from the offset, it does take careful consideration to design signs for classrooms and schools. You need to think about all the unique requirements of your audience and the environment. Using signs can help you improve your students’ learning experience and make school more engaging and thus helping them learn better. As mentioned, there are an array of different products you can utilise at your school.

The main 10 ways to promote student engagement are:

  • Enhance the students’ self-belief

  • Allow students to work autonomously, enjoy exploring their learning relationships with others, and feel they are competent to achieve their own objectives

  • Ensure that teaching and teachers are central to engagement

  • Create active and collaborative learning to foster learning relationships

  • Create challenging but enriching educational experiences for students to extend their academic abilities

  • Ensure that institutional cultures are welcoming to students from diverse backgrounds

  • Invest in a variety of support services

  • Adapt to changing student expectations

  • Enable students to become active in the community

  • Enable students to develop their social and cultural capital


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