Students are 'Wiz' kids

BH-BL fourth-graders fare well in national video contest

A fourth-grade classroom at Pashley Elementary School in Burnt Hills will get a technological upgrade, thanks to the efforts of students who entered a national video contest sponsored by eInstruction this winter.

Their video, The Wizard of E, placed in the top five and scored them $2,500 worth of technological gadgets.

"It was pretty great to be one of the top videos. When we heard the news, everyone was happy and screaming and excited, knowing we could win, and we also knew we were up against challenging videos," said Marco LaTorre.

Students were surprised by their video's success because they didn't expect to complete the video in time. Roger Kopa, their teacher, warned them from the beginning that the video project was more about learning the computer skills, and finishing by deadline would just be a bonus.

"I actually saw it [the contest] a year ago and thought it was too much work, but I stumbled across it again and thought we'd try it. We only had a week and a half to do it," said Kopa. "We had cameras rolling almost all day long for three days and chopped three hours of footage down to two and a half minutes, the time limit."

The class brainstormed ideas and Kopa worked to make words fit music from "The Wizard of Oz." Annie Pinkerton was Dorothy for Halloween and also Dorothy in the video. She said the video's concept was interesting.

"We thought we could use my costume and it was a pretty good theme. It was like a retro theme, going back in time of what technology was like in the olden days to what it's like now," said Pinkerton.

The skills and programs students learned to use for the contest will come in handy for future class projects, which was one of the main reasons Kopa decided to enter.

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