The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 15, 2013

Forest Hills students win video contest, $20G grant

Kelly Urban
kurban@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — Students at Forest Hills Middle School are doing their part to conserve energy, and their efforts have paid off.

A team of freshmen in a problem-solving class, with the assistance of technology teacher Kevin Lang and gifted education teacher Patrick Kovalsky, won a $20,000 grant for the school as the first place winner of the Penelec “Ways 2 Save Electricity” video contest.

For the contest, students were asked to create an original 90-second video demonstrating ways to save electricity and correct habits that wasted electricity in homes, schools or businesses.

The students’ video, “The Power Within One,” explains how individuals can work toward improving overall energy efficiency.

About 200 videos from schools across the state entered the contest and were judged on creativity, effectiveness and quality.

“We started this project last year in October and the students created the video using iPads,” Lang said.

The project fit well with the problem-solving curriculum in that students had to develop, design and implement their plan using technology.

“The students were very comfortable with the project and knew it was a quality product and they learned a lot through creating the video,” Lang said.

Kovalsky added that with the grant money they plan to enhance STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – programs and purchase additional iPads and other technology devices.

“We are seeing iPads used as tools for education, and once they are incorporated into the classroom, you don’t want to go back,” he said. “Using the iPad is energy saving versus a desktop computer, so we’re doing our part to stay off the energy grid.”

Middle school Principal Ed Alexander said the grant will boost technology in the school.

“Our teachers are open to the use of technology and this helps us to be able to offer as much of it as we can to the students,” he said.

The Forest Hills video can be viewed at www.fhrangers.org.

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