Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Adventures with Yearbook Machine

Yesterday I visited the Yearbook Machine studios in sunny Shoreditch. I was really excited to see the yearbooks they produced and how they operated - they did not leave me disappointed!

Yearbook Machine sets up students with an online profile, similar to a Facebook profile. Here they can upload photographs and comments, they can also upload photographs of friends and comment on their profile. You assigned student editors who add extra content for students to fill in, including questions to answer, like "describe this person in three words" or "The funniest thing this person ever did was...". Student editors also create polls, such as "Most likely to be a world leader" or "Most likely to travel to space." Once students have generated the information by adding images, comments and taking parts in polls, students can curate their own page, deciding what content will make it into the finished yearbook, for example they might select their favourite comments and a couple of photographs they like. This means that every student feels responsible for their page and has a sense of ownership over the yearbook. I am very excited to hopefully use this, as it really will include input from every student!

Not only do students have ownership over their own page, but student editors can pretty much design the whole book. These editors make decisions over the template, layout and have the final say over content! The staff at Yearbook Machine said that some schools allow students complete ownership over the book, but as this is our first time using it, I will be involved too, though mostly just to support and guide! We are also lucky enough to have some parents who are going to help students with editing the yearbook.

Apart from the fantastic online facilities that Yearbook Machine offer, I am going to get some students to create a video about our yearbook and e-posters to go out in our morning notes and parent newsletters. Hopefully this will get all students excited and active. I am aiming for us to have tons and tons of content to pick from, including high quality photographs.

Also as we are an IB school I am going to try and get them to include lots of IB lingo into the profiles, including polls relating to the IB Learner Profile and hopefully a few pages about some of the many Community and Service projects we have done this year! We will also include our school's mission and some quotes that we love from famous leaders too. As the librarian I will also encourage the editors to add questions like "My favourite book is" and polls like "Most likely to be a number one selling author." Yearbook Machine allows your yearbook to be customised to your needs!

Wish us luck - I will update as we progress with this!

I'll leave you with some screen-grabs of their website, just so you can see how pretty it is:

P.S. for anyone who is interested I also created a Pinterest page for some yearbook inspiration - though now that we are hopefully going to use Yearbook machine, I won't really need it, as all the design work will be done for us!
P.P.S. We are a growing school and actually have no 'leavers' this year - but as we are an international school, students come and go, so we will be creating yearbooks every year, including the whole school!