Student Publication

Sometimes, I think the biggest problem we have is simply giving examples of how technology has changed the way things work at school. Not just to “automate,” but to innovate.

Blophish NewspaperWhen I started at OES five years ago, I remember finding an old copy of the US newspaper. It was a tabloid newspaper, called the Blophish. Having been a college media advisor in the past, I scanned it and noted that the layout and writing seemed pretty rushed. I asked around, and I learned that the newspaper was no longer being done, since interest waned to the point of only one issue being produced in its final year.

About three years ago, an Art teacher asked about getting some tech support to help restart the newspaper. At first, he was thinking InDesign for a new tabloid version, but in the end decided to go with an online version built on SharePoint. It became an online newspaper, available only on campus, but the default opening screen for all student school computers in the US.

In the past history of the newspaper (20 plus years), the most paper issues ever produced in one year was seven. Last year, the online version had evolved into a year-long activity, and 27 issues were produced. The writing can exceptional, and this year the advisor argued to make the online newspaper public so that it could participate in competitions and be read by parents and alumni. This week, the Admin Council approved the change, and we should have the public Blophish up and running in a couple of weeks.

So, I don’t really see this as an example of “technology changes everything.” The SharePoint back-end didn’t create the enthusiasm in the students to write for publication. It simply made the process easier, and the feedback loop has created some serious writers. Not a bad thing.

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