Walk into Evan Williams’ classroom at Clay Middle School in Carmel, Indiana, and you might think you’ve walked into a professional journalism office. There’s not a desk to be seen. There’s a tad of chaos. And there are students clustered around computers, grouped together on the floor and pouring out into the hallway.
“There’s not enough room for a lab and desks,” he said, “so I just got rid of the desks.”
This is the attitude Williams takes toward everything in his broadcast/newspaper/yearbook space. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, make it better.
With plenty of newspaper experience and a degree in journalism education from Ball State, he came to be a one-stop journalism educator. In a middle school.
“It took me a while to understand yearbook,” he said. “My first three yearbooks are nightmares. I put them up there and I look through them now. They’re a joke.”
We’ve all been there. But he found his groove with our industry-leading online software eDesign, and empowered his students to take charge of their work.
Then Square One™ changed how yearbooks take shape on May 1 last year.
“When you guys announced it,” he said, “I was already on board. And I was like, ‘We’re using the swiss grid,’ and my students were like ‘whaaat?!’ And I was like, ‘We’re being fancy.’”
You heard him. Middle school students taking on Square One™ And being fancy.
“Having the squares on the page – in eDesign the grid boxes with the internal space – that’s a game changer. Kids want to do two columns of text, and doing that with the old grid was not easy. Now I say, ‘go three boxes across and do four boxes down, there’s your two columns.’”
Williams had a moment when it all came together. Two of his students sat down to create a day-in-the-life spread. He walked them through Square One™, and they got it.