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Students are 'Wiz' kids

"They learned how to film and edit a video using a digital camcorder, green screen software and Windows Movie Maker. They also learned how to record separate sound files that were used in place of the original video sound using Audacity, a free sound editing software," said Kopa.

Kopa said he was amazed at how quickly his students absorbed everything they were learning and it has allowed them to jump right into a collaborative project with a first-grade class.

"We're going to create digital read-along books for the first grade classes to use. This would give our class a great opportunity to practice reading with expression and for a future audience, and at the same time it would give the first-grade children a product they could use," said Kopa.

The students also want to write and illustrate their own electronic books using their new skills and equipment.

The prize money will go toward various items, including remote-like "clickers" that allow students to do multiple-choice work. Kopa will get a board that attaches to a computer and is projected on a screen so that he can walk around the room and write on it or have students pass it around to work on. He said these items will benefit the entire school because his class plans to share them.

Exposing his students to modern technology is important to Kopa. He spends time with them in the computer lab and also brings the laptop cart to the classroom. He said the students learn quickly because they teach one another what they know.

"The ways that kids today find, collect and synthesize information is very different than it was just 10 or 15 years ago," Kopa said. "Many of the jobs these children will have in the future will involve collaborating with people that are located around the globe. It's important that children become comfortable with how technology works and understand what it can, and can't, do to make their lives more efficient."

EInstruction is an education technology company. This was its third annual Classroom Makeover Video Contest.

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