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Get Ready for an Interactive Yearbook Experience

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Gone are the days when spring sports and school activities that happen in April and May aren’t featured in the O’Dowd yearbook due to publishing deadlines. “It is time to include the whole year in our school self-portrait,” Journalism teacher Damian Barnes said. “We have been innovating with our student publications for the last four years, and this year we are turning it up a big notch!”

This year the yearbook staff is introducing new technology so that even events happening very late in the school year – like Senior Prom – will be represented in the yearbook.

Yearbook co-editor Sydni Resnick and video editor Reece Mladjov explained that QR (quick response) codes embedded on pages in the printed annual will enrich the yearbook experience by allowing readers to do a quick scan with their smart phone to connect with photos and even videos on the Internet.

2-D coded images, QR codes are commonly used to store data like the barcodes of items purchased in stores. But the ones in the O’Dowd yearbook will take readers on a virtual journey.

“Last year we had a hard time getting the softball page together before the deadline. There will never be a time when spring sports are not in the yearbook now,” Mladjov said. “And, in addition to photo galleries, there can be videos of the softball team actually playing. So that’s a cool thing.”

Video will include drone footage, Mladjov said. “We’ll be able to have video that gives a bird’s eye view of the middle of the football field during Spirit Week Olympics,” he offered as an example.

Modifications to work flow will also make for a more polished yearbook, Resnick and Mladjov said.

In the past, for example, individual yearbook staff members were responsible for taking photographs for the pages that they produced.

This year, there is a skilled student photography team taking all yearbook photos and professionally editing them using Photoshop and Lightroom. The photography team will also assist staff members in designing the individual yearbook pages and applying filters (like those used in Instagram and Snapchat).

Additionally, student artists will be contributing artwork that will be incorporated into the yearbook.

“It’s fun to bring a new twist to the yearbook,” Resnick said of the innovations underway.

Mladjov is excited he’s part of the team to produce the first O’Dowd yearbook with video. “Other people will definitely be looking to us for examples, so we are going to do the best job that we can,” he said.


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