I recently took a digital media class with Aaron Manfull. As a first-year yearbook adviser I felt I should learn more about the digital aspects of publication. I was a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities and tools available. With this being my first year advising I am going to start with these five areas and see how it goes.
- Editorial Policy – We learned about the law and ethics of student publications and how an editorial policy explains the policies of school publications. After asking around, I discovered there was no editorial policy in place for student publications at my school. So I wrote a first draft of an editorial policy that I will be sharing with my administration, other publication faculty and my yearbook staff.
- Jing – I learned about several tools that are available to help with teaching as well as sharing information. Jing is a program available online for creating videos of what is happening on your computer screen, so you can record a demonstration on how to upload photos or create a cut out in Photoshop. I see this as a very useful tool for teaching my staff, since yearbook is an extracurricular activity. They can call up the video as they are working on a spread without me being there to show them how to do it.
- SmugMug – Another online tool that I will be using with my staff this coming year is SmugMug, an online photo gallery. I see this as a great way to share the photos that are taken of the various school events and activities. It could also become a source of revenue as the photos can then be purchase by parents, students and families.
- Google Docs – Although little was mentioned about Google Docs in the class, I found several articles on JEAdigitalmedia.org about how advisers are using Google Docs in their publications. I see it as a great way to communicate and work with my staff. A calendar can be used to keep the students on track with what is going on in school and upcoming deadlines. Spreadsheets could be used to set up the ladder and make page assignments. Student surveys can be created utilizing forms. These are just a few of the ways I envision using Google Docs to communicate with my staff and the student body.
- Websites – We also learned about developing websites using WordPress. I am not quite sure where I would like to go with a website for yearbook, but there are many ways to utilize it. Once I learn more about what our publisher has available and speaking with my staff I hope I will be able to see how to best utilize a yearbook based website for the school.
With lots of ideas and changes that I’d like to see take place with our current yearbook, I know it probably can’t all be done in one month and maybe not even in one year. I will keep Manfull’s advice in mind as I dive into this adventure of being yearbook adviser in the digital age. “Start small and build a little bit at a time.”