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North Tama introduces brand new Tech Team

September 20, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor (cjeilers@traerstarclipper.com) , Traer Star-Clipper

North Tama High School has created a new Tech Team club headed up by Levi LaRue, the district's new Technology Integrationist, and Keith Kennedy as the group has already begun providing services to Redhawk fans.

"Mr. Meister created a Technology Integrationist role last year and one of his ideas for this position was to include a tech team into that role," LaRue said. "When I started this school year, we decided to create a team that can be incorporated in the classroom and extracurricular activities at North Tama."

With the start of a new school year, LaRue began recruiting students to join the club. 16 high school students were "gun-ho" about Tech Team and signed up to take part in the club's first endeavour: a live stream of Redhawk football games hosted on the North Tama Facebook page with the help of Kennedy.

Article Photos

Members of the North Tama Tech Team prepare for a football game against Wapsie Valley on Friday, Sept. 13.

"The idea was to get a group of students together to teach them how to camera equipment, microphones and develop a new skill for them while serving the school," Kennedy said. "Mr. Meister had grant funding to put towards this program for a camera, audio interface, computer and headphones. They also got internet installed into the press box."

Kennedy has been working with audio/video and computers for 20 years and currently works as the Media Services Manager at the University of Northern Iowa. He provides audio and video production for events at the university ranging from class lectures to special engagements such as the Dalai Lama coming to UNI several years ago. Using his working knowledge, the Traer resident has taught students skills ranging from camera operation to running the score box on the live stream via an iPad.

"The team has learned how to run the camera, monitoring the live stream and ensuring viewers have a "good product" during the games," Kennedy said. In the near future, we hope to work on prep setup such as graphics and info on players. They will customize the score box for visiting schools based off their school colors and mascots."

Among the students out for Tech Team is Hannah Borah, who was recruited over the summer by LaRue. Borah has noticed as she's grown up that technology has done the same along with her.

"I've never been far from a computer or a tablet, no matter where I've been," Borah said. "So, I've always experimented with technology and learned more about it with each coming year."

Currently, Borah helps broadcast the home football games, operating the camera and helping run the scoreboard for a growing audience live streaming the games. She is interested in actually announcing for the live-streams, a job that Kennedy, LaRue or another teacher have been doing this season.

"Personally, I think that would be a fun experience for me, as I am more used to 'behind-the-scenes' work," Borah said. "I've never really done anything front-and-center like that."

The first live stream launched during North Tama's scrimmage against North Linn, yet only drew seven total viewers. North Tama's most recent win over ranked Wapsie Valley garnered 800 views. Tech Team will begin streaming home volleyball games starting with their match against Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Thursday, Sept. 19. Live streaming will move to other sports such as basketball and wrestling as the seasons change. School concerts and Swing Show may be possible for streaming if copyright allows.

"When the student gets comfortable, they will rotate positions," Kennedy said. "They'll do the camera for awhile, than the computer, maybe graphics or getting stats for the announcer. We want them to get all the different aspects of creating this production."

As the club grows, Tech Team will be assisting teachers and staff members when they need help with iPads, Chromebooks, apps and new technology. Students will learn how to assist with trouble-shooting will be called for tech support. Members will work with Mrs. Olson to create videos for elementary parents. Students will eventually do announcements for the school as they learn more about the technological side first.

"The students like being involved in the whole production and the technology we use," Kennedy said. "With advances in cell phones, kids are making video on their phones. They are interested in creating and want to learn more about the production process."

According to LaRue, the potential of Tech Team has many possibilities going forward for North Tama and provides a whole new group of students with an activity they many find intriguing.

"I have seen kids who are not out for any sports or clubs get excited about a program at North Tama we have never had before," LaRue said. "This idea could potentially grow into an E-Sports team here at North Tama, which gets kids not involved in the school more engaged with something they enjoy."

Borah hopes that her classmates will notice the work the Tech Team is accomplishing and also become a part of "something new" at North Tama.

"I recommend joining Tech Team because this helps put our school 'on the map,' so to speak," Borah said. "It helps put us out there in the wide world of the Internet and enables the friends and family who are not able to make it to the games to see what our school is doing. Also, it helps the teachers who are confused about certain applications or programs understand what they are working with."

For more information about the North Tama Tech Team, contact Levi LaRue at llarue@n-tama.k12.ia.us. To watch live streaming of home games, check out North Tama County Community School District on Facebook for the link on Friday nights.

 
 
 

 

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