From Jim Metrock: In this Desert Sun article George Kuhn, Skoollive’s Director of Business Development, says the company’s “goal” was to raise a few thousand dollars per month for the school district. Of course that is just sales talk. Kuhn could have easily said the company’s “goal” was $100,000 per month for the district. If I was the Superintendent of the Coachella Valley school district, I would be preparing myself to be supremely disappointed with Skoollive payments.
Six-foot touchscreen kiosks, which look like man-sized iPods, will soon pop up in east valley schools, bringing a high-tech twist to the classic campus bulletin board.
The kiosks also promise to tighten campus security by automatically calling the police if a gunshot is detected.
These devices are the result of a deal inked by the Coachella Valley Unified School District and SkoolLive, a budding technology company that is installing touchscreen kiosks at schools across the country — for free.
About 90 SkoolLive kiosks will be installed in east valley schools in December. Middle and high schools will receive one kiosk for everyone 100 students, and elementary schools will receive one each. Palm Springs Unified is considering a similar deal with SkoolLive.
SkoolLive, an Oceanside company, launched its school kiosk program one year ago, and now stands on the cusp of its first major roll out. About 500 schools — including the schools in Coachella Valley Unified — are scheduled for installation now and January. Installations are planned at another 1,500 schools before the start of next school year, according to the company.
“It’s going to be a game-changer” said George Kuhn, director of business development for SkoolLive. “Kids are very technology driven nowadays, and we think this is going to fit in with what they are already using on a daily basis.”
The primary function of these kiosks is to display school information — like schedules, maps and upcoming events — that can be swiped through with a fingertip. Schools can also use the kiosk to post pictures and videos, like prom photos or sports highlights, or to sell campus apparel.
The kiosks also have the potential to be used for security purposes. All kiosks come with a sensor that can detect a gunshot on campus, and schools can connect the kiosks to their existing alarm system to set up an automated response. In Coachella Valley Unified, the kiosks will be primed to automatically call police, said Antonio Raymo, the district’s chief business officer.
The SkoolLive kiosks were beta tested at two Southern California school districts. At this point, they remain unproven, yet promising.
Raymo said Coachella Valley Unified officials were first drawn to the kiosks at an educational conference in September.
“First of all, the fact that they were absolutely free was the No. 1 appeal,” Raymo said. “That immediately got me interested. And then the security features really struck me.”
SkoolLive is able to offer the kiosks for free because the devices generate revenue through advertisements. A portion of this revenue is shared with the campus that hosts the kiosk.
Coachella Valley Unified has estimated the kiosks will generate about $50,000 per year, Raymo said. Kuhn said SkoolLive’s goal is to raise a few thousand dollars per month for the school district.
Kuhn said SkoolLive will only sell advertising to “pro-social, positive brands,” like Nike and Adidas, but will reject ads from fast food and soda companies. Kuhn said SkoolLive has already inked advertising agreements with a few large companies, but he is forbidden from naming them at this time. No matter who SkoolLive partners with, school districts have authority to veto any adds, Kuhn said.
Palm Springs Unified has also expressed interest in bringing SkoolLive kiosks into its schools. The west valley school district was given a demonstration of the kiosks during a school board meeting on Oct. 28.
Kyle Warren, a SkoolLive sales manager, presented the kiosks as a risk-free endeavor for the school district. Warren stressed that the kiosks cost the district nearly nothing, and schools weren’t responsible if they were broken. The only district expense is the electricity use, which amounts to no more than a big television, Warren said.
Although the Palm Springs Unified board members appeared intrigued by the SkoolLive kiosks, no decision has been made. Joan Boiko, a district spokeswoman, said an official proposal was expected to come before the board at one of its upcoming meetings.
Boiko told the school board that district leaders had scrutinized the SkoolLive offer, but found no reason to reject the free kiosks.
“We can’t really find a downside,” Boiko told the board on Oct. 28.
Reporter Brett Kelman can be reached by phone at (760) 778-4642, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @TDSbrettkelman.