142 Expanding the Footprint of MBWS

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Rebecca Tone, Morristown-Beard School, Morristown, NJ; and C. Norteman, M. Corcoran, J. Schneider, R. Carchia, J. Dubose, M. DeSimone, V. Sharma, and J. A. Yuhas

Throughout the past year, Morristown-Beard School (MBS) students Rebecca Tone, Michelle Corcoran, Courtney Norteman, Ethan Kim, Coby Schneider, Jayshon Dubose, Mike DeSimone, Michelle Carneiro, and Vikalp Sharma have worked to expand the footprint of Morristown-Beard Weather Services (MBWS). Through social media platforms such as Instagram, websites, podcasts, media walls, and monitors, students can use their skills of programming, website design, computer graphics, photography, project management, speaking, and writing to bring relevant information to wider audiences.

At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, an Instagram page for MBWS was launched. With only one preliminary graphic to model after and no followers, extensive time and energy were poured into developing a clear, informative template and organizing a feasible posting schedule. This required the recruitment of several new MBWS members who could learn to operate photoshop, as well as commit to posting consistently.

What sets the MBWS Instagram apart from other weather forecasts is how it meets the needs of the students rather than determining their needs for them. Besides posting daily temperature calculations, the account provides information about daily schedules at school and imagery of weather conditions from around campus. Graphics are posted in the afternoon or evening so that students can conveniently plan their outfits for the following day. As the program expands, further additions will be added to increase the appeal and attract increasingly more followers.

“We plan on finding a club photographer to broaden our range of images that can be uploaded to Instagram. Another goal we hope to accomplish is to post ideal outfits for every given day,” says social media manager Jayshon Dubose.

MBWS’ growth in staff and influence allows for higher information capacity, so a more detailed platform was needed in order to display a more complete depiction of knowledge. Therefore, in a year long independent study, a student learned to create and operate a website.

“I started with learning the basics of HTML coding, then laid out the navigation bar, heading, weekly forecast, and linked the live stream of MBS weather provided by Weatherbug. The goal of the webpage was to utilize the personalized weather info that MBS received via weatherbug, which is more accurate than information given from Morristown as a whole,” says Courtney Norteman, website designer.

After visiting Concord-Carlisle High School, MBS students were inspired to develop audio and visual recordings of forecasts to be displayed on the club website. These new platforms allowed for the use of the green screen in Wilkie Hall, MBS’ Media and Digital Arts building, and the recording equipment already used by music production classes.

“My plans for the podcast use simpler tools so that everything can be recorded and edited on an iPad. One thing that I would use is a green screen behind the “newscaster” that displays weather and gives the podcast a news channel feel,” says podcasting manager Vikalp Sharma.

Across the MBS campus, video monitors rested predominantly unused. This provided the perfect opportunity to reach the school community on a daily basis. Utilizing the new website design and enhanced Instagram graphics, weather imagery from basic temperatures to satellite imagery could become part of campus landscape.

Moving forward, there are still many developments to be made in MBWS. With the construction of a new math and science building and the introduction of new technologies like a programmable media wall and a Science on a Sphere allow for creative, innovative, immersive translation of knowledge.

“Nowadays, with everyone obsessed with YouTube and social media, it's important to us as a team to acknowledge the upcoming trends and advance our club in that direction,” says Mike DeSimone from the social media team.

By continuously introducing the latest technologies to MBWS, students will be able to widen their range of skills, discover effective methods of communication, and therefore impact their broader school community.

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