Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 7:46 am | A Few Clouds 56º


Dos Pueblos High Yearbook Turns Page with New Interactive Era

App for smart phones, tablets adds another dimension to paper trail of school year activities

Dos Pueblos High School teacher John Dent and his yearbook class have something a little different planned for this year’s copy of The Image.

At first glance, the award-winning publication may look similar to last year’s, which won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Crown Award for its journalistic coverage, photography and design.

Dent and the students have been adding videos and audio to its paper pages by using an app called Aurasma, which is accessible by any smart phone or tablet.

When Aurasma is open and the device’s camera recognizes a picture, it starts playing whatever “aura” is linked to the image: a silly lunchtime activity, a team’s winning shot or even a student’s personalized message.

It works like Twitter or Instagram, social media programs that allow users to view content only from people they follow.

“We see the activity in a picture but now we can watch a video all about it; that reality is something that, ironically, my students envision probably along the lines of Harry Potter,” Dent told Santa Barbara Unified School District trustees last month.

“We talk about the yearbook coming to life and now we really are making the yearbook come to life.”

It can be difficult to explain, but people can’t resist being wowed with a demonstration.

On Thursday, Dent was showing off the contest video for the Vans Custom Culture Shoe Design Contest by scanning over the fliers plastered on classroom walls. Art students are competing for big money and need community clicks to help win the national competition by Monday.

When the video started playing on Dent’s iPad, passing students stopped, stared and called over their friends to watch.

“This is the gnarly-est thing I’ve ever seen!” one exclaimed.

DSC 0955 from Giana Magnoli on Vimeo.

Here, Dent shows off what it will do for this year’s yearbooks, which come out May 23.


DSC 0937 from Giana Magnoli on Vimeo.

Dent, chairman of Dos Pueblos High’s Career Technical Education Department, only learned about the app last fall but believes it has incredible potential for the yearbook industry and beyond. It’s a better option than printed QR codes as well, since nothing specifically needs to be printed, he said.

Another bonus is the ability to add coverage of events that happen after the early April deadline for the yearbook’s printing, like most spring sports.

Aurasma was created by a small British company that was subsequently bought by Autonomy, which was then sold to HP. The app was created to augment what’s in the newspaper, so people could focus their devices over a headline or photograph and be directed to more content online with their phones or tablets.

That’s a narrow use in Dent’s opinion, since someone could just access the newspaper’s website for the information; videos added for the yearbook can’t be accessed in one place any other way.

Dent has also created a virtual campus tour with the app, so visitors can focus on any signs around the school and find out what is happening at various classrooms.

This “augmented reality” has so much potential and is easy enough that anyone can add their own content, Dent says.

Some people are concerned that there’s no control over what content is added to the yearbook, but people only see content from users they follow, and no content can be eliminated by another user.

Dent has demonstrated the program to various groups already, in advance of Monday’s official announcement that this year’s yearbook will have the new multimedia component.

The Board of Education was intrigued, but people at the Senior Parent Night were clapping, cheering and asking how they could start adding their own content to the yearbook and use the app for their local businesses, Dent said.

The app has a cost for corporations but is free for nonprofit organizations, which are teaching HP new ways to use its own product, Dent said.

The school ordered 1,700 copies of this year’s yearbook, which will come out May 23, and Dent thinks they could sell out for the first time.

There is some value to having some copies left over, however.

“Since the Gap Fire and Tea Fire, so many people have come back to us saying they lost everything,” he said. “They say it would mean so much to them if they could get a copy of their yearbook.”

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The yearbook staff at Dos Pueblos High School has already embedded hidden content in last year's award-winning yearbook and has been hard at work to enhance this year's version of The Image. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
The yearbook staff at Dos Pueblos High School has already embedded hidden content in last year’s award-winning yearbook and has been hard at work to enhance this year’s version of The Image. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

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