Successful messaging service for students

(Last Updated On: August 7, 2014)

messagingAuckland’s One Tree Hill College needed an effective and convenient way for the school’s admin team to communicate with students. Its search led it to Samsung’s MagicInfo display solution and it’s quickly become a critical part of internal school messaging.

Whilst looking for a reliable solution to get information to students across the school, One Tree Hill College had several defined goals. It sought to get messages to both students and their parents, engage on a daily basis, convey school information and notices, and ensure a professional school image was relayed to anyone who entered the office areas.

During consultation with the school’s IT support company, New Era IT, the Samsung MagicInfo solution was proposed. By offering a suite of creative tools built to allow easy and real-time content creation and display management, this digital signage solution ticked all the boxes. In February, the College purchased and installed six Samsung screens with the MagicInfo solution.

Essential tools for communication

“We were looking for a reliable, quality system to quickly relay information to students in the college,” said Deputy Principal Mark Barlow. “We now see the screens as essential tools for increasing successful communication at One Tree Hill College.

“The six screens are located in our reception, the Student Services Centre and the four house/whanau common areas. They’re capable of displaying PowerPoint files, videos, images and live media sources via a HDMI cable.”

Typically, content-managed display solutions such as Samsung’s MagicInfo are employed in commercial environments, like airports, service-orientated businesses, and corporations where visibility is key in brand identification. In the educational environment, the dynamic and creative display options provided by Samsung’s MagicInfo are increasingly being used by schools not only wanting to communicate but also wanting to set themselves apart as being forward-thinking, technologically advanced, and professional to the highest commercial standard.

Player, Author and Server

The Samsung MagicInfo digital signage solution operates through the combination of three separate and distinct components. These are:

MagicInfo Player – this is a dedicated media player that can schedule to play a range of different media files. Files can be stored and played from a device’s hard drive, a remote server, a cloud-based storage system, or via USB.

MagicInfo Author – this is the software tool that lets users custom-build their own digital signage using Samsung’s templates and wizards. Author allows for quick and simple embedding of audio and video, plus creation of interactive signage elements and animations.

MagicInfo Server – this is the administrative hub of the solution. It allows an administrator to monitor and manage all content on the Samsung screens, even allowing them to publish remotely from a web browser or mobile app.

Notices, videos, presentations

The solution is used in different locations around One Tree Hill College, depending on the needs requirement of the school on any given day.

“The screens are currently used to stream student notices and key dates which are automatically imported from our student management system KAMAR,” said Barlow. “Recently, the screens were also used during our Science Week to stream science videos from YouTube to the house/whanau areas during interval and lunchtime. The screens have also been used during assemblies to display PowerPoint presentations and videos via laptop and a HDMI cable.”

Enhancing learning

With MagicInfo, teaching and learning has been enhanced by enabling students to access relevant subject content outside of their normal timetabled classes.

“A good example of this would be the streaming of YouTube science videos. Communication has also been increased which has allowed the college to quickly relay important events to students. The use of the screens has also allowed the house/whanau areas to be used as potential ‘break out’ areas for teaching staff to use, and also allowed teachers to use the areas as a larger teaching space, with access to multimedia technology.”

The value added to One Tree Hill College by the MagicInfo solution is readily identifiable, according to Barlow. Its ease of use when displaying different content on different screens around the school means management can either be centralised or remote, depending on the administrator’s needs. The high quality of the equipment is also a positive.

“Because the Samsung screens are constructed to be powered on 16 to 24 hours per day, they’re of the quality expected in a high-end commercial environment – and will endure over many years in a school environment.”

Check out this video on the Samsung MagicInfo Solution. It outlines and explains the process of uploading, creating, monitoring and controlling content on multiple screens.

Smooth set up and support

Set up and support has been a smooth process for One Tree Hill College. The majority of communication with Samsung has been via New Era IT.

“Recently Samsung has been in close contact with the college through Phil Giller, the company’s education key account manager,” says Barlow. “He has offered additional support to ensure we are using the MagicInfo solution to its full capability.”

Giller believes the scalability, flexibility and manageability of the solution to be of ultimate usefulness to the College.

“We see it as being critical to internal messaging within school,” he said. “It’s also the change from utilising TVs and data projectors to professional display panels.”

Personalising the screens

Samsung worked closely with New Era IT to make the implementation of the MagicInfo solution at One Tree Hill College a success.

“We develop solutions together,” added Giller. “In fact, we can work closely with a number of vendors to ensure that schools receive the best service and solution – that’s a key point of difference for us.”

Barlow agrees: “As with all new technology, the initial training on how to use the system was the key to success. MagicInfo was introduced by working closely with New Era IT and Samsung to ensure we have the correct training to use the system to its full capability. This will include further personalising the screens to best fit the requirements of One Tree Hill College students
and staff.”

Long-term solution for information

One Tree Hill College sees the use of Samsung’s MagicInfo as a long-term solution for information and messaging conveyance throughout the school, believes Barlow.

“We will continue to work with New Era IT and Samsung to develop the MagicInfo solution in the future,” he added.

“In the future we plan to use the split-screen capability of the screens to steam a wide variety of media to different parts of the college. This will include student notices, videos, and highlights of school events such as sports games or productions, and student work which could include still images or video files.”  

Lee Suckling writes for INTERFACE Magazine.

one_tree_hillOne Tree Hill College

Opened in 1955, One Tree Hill College (formerly Penrose High School) is a decile 3 school in central Auckland. It’s a co-educational, multicultural secondary with a roll of 989 students and provides a full range of academic courses through to NCEA Level 3, University Entrance and Scholarship.

magicinfoMagicInfo is content management solution that offers authoring, deployment, scheduling, and database integration for standalone, networked or video wall systems. It comprises three components: MagicInfo Player; MagicInfo Author; and MagicInfo Server.

Samsung_displaySamsung has a range of Large Format Displays (LFDs). Each offers high quality images and easy use, and are designed to convey information and messaging with full colour and motion capabilities.

If you’re interested in finding out more on MagicInfo – or other Samsung products – contact Phil Giller, Education Lead, Samsung NZ, on 021 243 8017 or

Categories: Article, Issue 57

Leave a Reply