Jostens, the leading producer of yearbooks, recently released the industry's first educational and inspirational iPad app at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.
The Jostens Look Book Companion App coordinates with the company's popular Look Book, a hard-copy, printed "best of the best" annual featuring 352 pages of design, coverage, photojournalism and theme ideas reproduced from outstanding yearbooks created by Jostens customers.
"Yearbook staffs await the arrival of the print Look Book each year with great anticipation," said John Dalke, Jostens' marketing product manager and editor of both print and digital editions. "Staffs and yearbook advisers alike love the inspirational ideas, and now have the content at their fingertips with their iPads."
The Look Book Companion App provides yearbook staffs a new level of access to educational and inspirational content. Users are able to mark favorite designs and build a personal flipbook featuring those selections. The examples are also searchable by design styles, design elements, section of the yearbook and school name. The iPad version also allows the user to zoom in and study the examples in detail.
Descriptive keywords provided for each design in the Look Book coordinate with the organizational structure of the Look Book Companion App, making it easy to navigate between print and digital.
The app also features instructional videos and bonus content, greatly expanding the educational experience for both teachers and students.
Educators who teach yearbook journalism classes and advise yearbook staffs are praising the Look Book Companion App. At Frisco High School in Frisco, Texas, journalism instructor Toni Marsh started using the app immediately.
"I really like the new app because it allows me to take the Look Book anywhere on my iPad and use it," Marsh said. "I really like the videos and other instructional content so my students can understand the concepts behind the designs they like."
Toni Sternhagen, math teacher and yearbook adviser at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minn. agrees.
"In the past, we would have groups of yearbook staffers huddled around the Look Book marking their favorites with sticky notes," Sternhagen said. "Now, with the Look Book Companion App, students are looking through the book when they have time and using their favorites within the app itself. At the touch of a finger, students have access to thousands of ideas to give them inspiration."
In addition to the Look Book and Look Book Companion App, Jostens offers journalism and photojournalism curriculum materials in the Digital Classroom, a collection of resources and videos on its Yearbook Avenue website. The company also hosts yearbook workshops from coast to coast.
"The yearbook class is thriving, with more than 75 percent of high schools nationwide producing their yearbooks as part of an elective course," said Gary Lundgren, Jostens' senior customer experience manager. "At Jostens, we don't just print yearbooks, we help educators make the yearbook experience a valuable one for their students."
According to Lundgren, the yearbook is a project that successfully integrates academic content and the lifelong work habits stressed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21)."The yearbook class fosters the 4Cs promoted by P21 – critical thinking/problem solving, creativity/innovation, communication and collaboration," he said.
Jostens is offering the new iPad app for free. For download, visit the Apple App Store and search for "Jostens Look Book Companion '13." An iPhone version is also available.
Minneapolis-based Jostens supports schools and educators through a variety of products, programs and services that help people tell their stories, celebrate important traditions and recognize achievements. The company's products include school yearbooks and other memory book products, scholastic products such as class rings and graduation products, and products for athletic champions and their fans. Jostens is a subsidiary of Visant Corporation, a marketing and publishing services enterprise servicing the school affinity, direct marketing, fragrance and cosmetics sampling and educational and trade publishing segments.