Phone app brings interactivity to Episcopal School yearbook

Phone app brings interactivity to Episcopal School yearbook
Source: Donna Britt/WAFB
Source: Donna Britt/WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - People are clustered around the one mom who already has the newly issued Episcopal School yearbook. It is published during the summer, and is distributed during student orientation day at the start of the new school year. As the glossy pages are turned on the newest "Accolade", a 50th Anniversary of the school edition, moms and students take turns using certain cell phones. That's because inside, there are icons on some of the pictures in the yearbook that trigger a cell phone app called "Aurasma".

A throbbing target zeroes in on the icon and suddenly the video kicks off with sound.

"The students love it," says Diamond Spears, who is this year's editor, but was co-editor with then-senior Lauren Honeycutt on last year's ground-breaking edition. "They really like to see themselves in the yearbook, and see videos and they think we're kinda like, top of the line, because we don't really hear about a lot of yearbooks having videos in it. So when I tell people we have videos, they say "How is that possible!" and so I show it to them!"
Dianne Madden is Episcopal's Media Arts teacher. She said the publisher of the school's yearbook entered a contract with the Aurasma company. The local sales rep showed it to the Episcopal School yearbook staff and they agreed to try it.

"So the kids took video, at every event they covered for the yearbook, they also shot video as well. We chose from the videos that were shot, the ones that would go into the yearbook." I asked, did the kids use their cellphones to shoot the video? The still pics in the yearbook are pretty crisp and detailed, not pixelated.

Madden answered,"We're shooting with primarily Nikon cameras. So, we have some cameras that are really nice quality, and have multiple lenses. Some of these kids have their own cameras, and they have nice Canons as well. So it's their choice which camera they use, but they are all rather high quality cameras."

Spears said the student staff pretty much selected the videos they wanted to include in their book and supervisors also approved them.
Madden said the video part was woven into the pages, and then during the summer, the video links to the app became a reality.

"We had one student who pretty much had the job during the summer, identifying the videos and connecting it with the right section of the yearbook, creating the photograph from the video that would become our 'trigger picture', the one that would set off the video player. The designer put the icon on the pictures to identify those images, and uploaded the video to the Aurasma site."

So, yearbook staff at Episcopal now, will not only roll out with still cameras to record life around campus, they'll package video cameras as well.

All things considered, the Episcopal yearbook staff is making sure this isn't your father's yearbook.

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