Marietta High School, a Georgia College & Career Academy, recently joined the state’s career prep education initiative. The academy gives students tools and course options beyond the average public education experience. Career Pathways provides college prep and training for careers in locally significant sectors like digital media production, construction trades, sciences, nursing and medicine, game design, engineering, and architecture.
To do this, more than 80 digital displays from LG Business Solutions USA were installed throughout the school property. Serving various needs from school-wide communications to classroom instruction to virtual collaboration, the digital displays create an atmosphere of innovation and help prepare students for careers where technology is common.
“We are preparing each of our 2,454 students for a meaningful career aligned with career aptitudes and interests,” explains Keith L. Ball, principal of Marietta High School. “We are purposefully aligning the Career Pathway offerings to opportunities in our community and region.”
An AV Systems integration team led by Keith Taylor and Heather Corbin, CTS of Solutionz, Inc., worked closely with Marietta City Schools to coordinate industry best practices for display signage infrastructure.
“Georgia is focused on making its education system more workforce-oriented, and to do so, the schools need to reflect workplace realities,” adds Taylor. “For our part, we helped the school design and implement a consolidated system of LG displays that extends through the entire campus.”
Taylor and Corbin emphasized that while the building’s new J-Hall received the bulk of the new digital displays, a minimum of 15 displays are also active in hallways throughout existing areas of the school.
“This school may never need to print a pamphlet or brochure again,” Corbin adds. “Administrators have determined that paper signs and posters just do not engage students who all have digital screens in their pockets, and they expect important messages to be delivered in a modern way. That is not a fad that’s going to reverse, so the school invested in platforms they know the students respond to and are interested in.”
Starting in the Career Center, where students can speak with college training experts and career counselors, the college and career sections of the space each feature a 3 X 1 vertical video wall composed of 75″ LG 4K displays, plus four smaller adjacent displays. Like many of the school’s new displays, these two video walls and eight adjacent displays are centrally operated through a Crestron control system and offer wireless content sharing, HDMI input through wall-mounted ports, and screen sharing from mobile devices.
In the Grand Entry Hall, students are kept informed by eight 49″ LG displays mounted above doors and windows. These displays present the same digital signage content found on all the hallway displays, distributed through a third-party data distribution service (DDS).
“In classrooms, the displays command higher attention and allow teachers great flexibility in lesson presentations. Having multiple video walls increases flexibility for upper-level courses that often have fewer students, and it provides additional opportunity to enhance social distancing as schools work to ensure student and staff safety,” adds Jason Meade, associate principal and Career Pathways supervisor.
Torey Bradley, director of technology and information systems for Marietta City Schools, notes how the traditional education system was uprooted last year and how this investment in communications technologies aided educators and students.
Bradley adds, “The college and career counselors have been able to use video collaboration services to connect with students to plan their futures, and even orchestrate Zoom-based virtual job shadowing. I imagine this is the direction all schools will go because virtual collaboration is not going to go away — in fact, it will only become more important in the future.”
A new board room in J-Hall offers a more open-style 25-seat meeting space complete with a 3 X 3 LG video wall. Overlooking the school’s football field, the multi-use room hosts internal meetings, conducts virtual interviews with job candidates, and as a classroom for smaller upper-level courses that include regular discussion.
For graduations, ceremonies, and major announcements, the system can stream a single video feed to every display and video wall on campus. This includes the J-Hall entrance atrium, which features four LG displays on opposite sides of the room.
“As students return to school and staff begins exploring the display network’s full potential, they hope to have meaningful content on every screen at all times students are in the building,” Meade concludes. “As a school dedicated to the career success of its students, Marietta College & Career Academy offers a roadmap for other schools looking to leverage cutting-edge technologies to more deeply engage students and provide real-world experiences to carry far past high school.”