________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 8 . . . . December 15, 2000

It's Electric.

Winnipeg, MB: Green and Growing Education Projects, Inc. (Box 214, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 2G9), 2000.
30 min., VHS and teacher's guide, $99.00.

Grades 7 - 12 / Ages 12 - 17.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4

Directed, recorded and acted by Winnipeg high school students, this 30-minute video is designed to raise students' awareness of sustainable development in electrical energy production. Three teen narrators explain how the environment, economy and people's health and well-being affect their quality of life. The basic concepts and the decision-making model for sustainable development are introduced. Advantages and disadvantages of the three main types of electricity (hydro, thermal and nuclear) are explained. Diagrams and tours of a hydro station and a nuclear station show how the various types work. Alternative forms of energy, such as wind, water and solar panels, are also explored. In one segment, an architect stands before a "house of the future." This energy-efficient home, which is "off grid," that is, not connected to electricity, is built of recycled materials and is heated by wood and solar panels. The final portion of the video encourages viewers to conserve more energy, i.e. to think globally, act locally.
    A brief teacher's guide provides an overview of the video and an index of video timings for ease in reviewing specific concepts. Curricular outcomes are identified as well. The guide explains in more detail the seven principles and six guidelines for sustainable development and the decision-making model and includes an action plan worksheet on electrical consumption. Free additional lesson plans can be downloaded from the Green and Growing website, which also provides a full glossary of sustainable development terms (a short glossary is found in the teacher's guide). A video kit, "From the Ground Up," dealing with sustainable development in agriculture, is also available.
    In general, the video has a good blend of narration, interviews with experts, tours, skits, computer animation and comments by teens. The concepts are well explained in fairly simple terms. Of the narrators, only one looks quite comfortable in front of the camera. One of the remaining narrators does not speak as slowly and clearly as is necessary and does not always make eye contact with the viewer, while the third narrator comes across as wooden. Even though viewers should bear in mind that this is an amateur production, there is some footage that should be retaken, such as an unflattering close-up of one of the female narrators and a scene in which a technical assistant, holding the microphone for an interview, is clearly visible. A few finishing touches, including a little more careful editing and a few more "takes" by the narrators, would result in a more polished, professional-looking video. The high price contributes to the "with reservations" recommendation.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364