Yo, yo, check it out. A hastily made rap video by bunch of students at Red Bank Middle School has advanced to the final five in a nationwide contest that will land the winning school $15,000 worth of classroom technology.

Getting right to it, the kids need votes to help get the swag. While the entries will be judged subjectively by a panel, the vote tallies count for 30 percent of the scoring.

The production was led by first-year communications teacher Chris Ippolito, who learned of the contest less than a week before the entry deadline last month.

The rules call for a music-video parody with lyrics about the use of technology in the classroom. Working with students and teachers from the art, social studies and other areas, Ippolito and the class selected an Eminem tune, for which he wrote new lyrics. “We had a lot of interdepartmental help on this,” he says.


Because of time constraints, Ippolito says, he also did the voice-over, though it appears a sixth-grader (street name: Joe H) is rapping.

This is a case of real-world experience benefitting the kids. Ippolito, whose wikfe, Nikki Ippolito, is also a teacher at the school, has a background of film and video production.

The video, titled “Use Ya Tech,” was one of 66 submitted in the middle-school category (there were 220 overall). The entries were winnowed down to the best five, in the view of the judges.

Now, it’s time for the great unwashed masses to weigh in. As of last night, “Use Ya Tech” was in fourth place, “so we have some catching up to do,” Ippolito says, adding that he’s trying to rally support wherever he might be able to stir it up.

At stake: fifteen grand worth of Interwriter Learning classroom tehnology, such as wireless tablets, smartboards, high-end audio gear. (If all this sounds nothing like the dusty slate, chalk and erasers of your youth, just nod your head as though you understand, or pretend you’re rocking along to the beats.)

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