Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc.

Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc.

January 23, 2012 16:28 ET

Ingenious Energy Conservation Comic Challenge Inspires Kids to Conserve Electricity

Grade Five students create webcomics to demonstrate ways to save energy

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 23, 2012) -

Editors note: There are two photos and a video associated with this press release.

Quick Facts
The Guelph Hydro Energy Conservation Comic Challenge* encourages Grade 5 students to design comic strips demonstrating how to conserve electricity. Students create their comic strips using Bitstrips, an educational tool licensed for use by all publicly funded schools in Ontario.
Grade Five classrooms in Guelph and Rockwood, Ontario, that enter the challenge have a chance for their class to win an iPad®*.
The Bitstrips fun and simple-to-use website enables students as young as five-years-old to create their own comic strips to tell a story - all without having to draw a line.
More than 300,000 students have used Bitstrips in classrooms across Ontario so far this school year, creating more than two million comics.

Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. is challenging students in Grade Five classrooms in 35 schools in Guelph and Rockwood, Ontario, to create original Bitstrips comics to demonstrate how to conserve electricity in their homes and schools.

Bitstrips (www.bitstripsforschools.com) is a Canadian, web-based educational tool licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Education for use in all publicly funded schools as well as faculties of education in Ontario universities. The simple-to-use software enables students as young as five-years-old to create their own custom characters and use scenes, props, words, actions and emotions to create detailed comic strips that tell a story - all without having to draw a line. Over 300,000 students have used Bitstrips in classrooms across Ontario so far this school year, creating more than two million comics.

Guelph Hydro worked with the Bitstrips development team to create a novel Energy Conservation Comic Challenge that teachers can assign to their classes. Children are asked to design a comic that explains why saving electricity is important and show ways electricity can be saved around their home or school. To help get them started, students can access scenes that depict various rooms in a home along with a variety of props such as appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs, computer equipment, and even a smart meter, that can be used in creating energy conservation messages.

All Grade 5 classes in the Upper Grand District School Board and Wellington Catholic District School Board in Guelph and Rockwood that participate in the Energy Conservation Comic Challenge will be entered into a draw for two iPad® mobile digital devices (one winning class per school board), pre-loaded with energy conservation applications that can be used in the classroom. Children in the winning classrooms will also receive an energy conservation-related prize. Winners will be announced on March 31, 2012, just prior to Earth Hour.

A selection of the best entries will be featured on the Guelph Hydro website, produced as posters and published in a downloadable anthology.

Interested in Trying Out Bitstrips for Energy Conservation?

Ontario Teachers

Although the Guelph Hydro Bitstrips Energy Conservation Comic Challenge is limited to classrooms in Guelph and Rockwood, ALL teachers in Ontario can use the activity with their students by visiting www.bitstripsforschools.com

Teachers Outside of Ontario

Teachers from outside of Ontario may sign up for a free 30-day trial of the website by visiting www.bitstripsforschools.com

Everyone Else (Non-Teachers)

Anyone interested in exploring and experimenting with the Guelph Hydro Bitstrips Energy Conservation Comic Challenge may send an email to Guelph Hydro at comics@guelphhydro.com to obtain access.

For more information about Bitstrips, please visit: www.bitstripsforschools.com

For more information about Guelph Hydro's energy conservation efforts, please visit: www.guelphhydroinc.com

* Terms and conditions apply. Email: comics@guelphhydro.com for details.

® iPad is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

QUOTES

"Kids love comics and it is fascinating to watch how quickly even very young children learn to use Bitstrips to create an avatar and their own comics. By asking Grade 5 students to design a comic with an energy conservation theme, they have to think carefully about actions they can take to conserve electricity and reduce greenhouse gases. Learning happens spontaneously as they develop their messages and create their comics."

"We are thrilled that both school boards in our service area quickly saw the potential for using Bitstrips to teach energy conservation - a curriculum requirement for Grade Five Science and Technology in Ontario."

Sandy Manners

Director of Corporate Communications

Guelph Hydro Inc.

"Our students have been using Bitstrips for a few years with great success. It is amazing how engaged and focused the students are when they are using the program. The opportunity to create comics for an important purpose, like energy conservation, is fantastic.

Andrew Strimas

Grade 5 Teacher

Upper Grand District School Board

"Students enjoy taking part in something meaningful, especially when it comes to environmental issues, because they know that their small, positive actions have an impact on a larger global scale. This creative activity is a wonderful opportunity to engage students and allow them to demonstrate their ability to be good stewards of the earth."

Paula Dawson

Superintendent of Program

Wellington Catholic District School Board

"This activity gives teachers a creative and fun way to get kids talking about a topic that's of universal relevance. We're looking forward to seeing the amazing things students come up with."

Jacob Blackstock

CEO

Bitstrips

RESOURCES
Watch the Bitstrips for Schools Overview video: http://bit.ly/Bitstripsinschools
Watch how Bitstrips for Schools is used in one Grade 4/5 classroom: http://bit.ly/comicsinschools
Request access to try out the Guelph Hydro Bitstrips Energy Conservation Comic Challenge - Email: comics@guelphhydro.com

About Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc.

Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. delivers a safe and reliable supply of electricity to approximately 50,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Guelph and Rockwood. The company is committed to helping to create a culture of energy conservation in Ontario. In 2010, Guelph Hydro's energy conservation programs resulted in energy savings of more than 8.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes for one year. This is the equivalent of diverting 4,350 tonnes of CO2 emissions from the air or taking more than 825 cars off the road.

For more information, visit: www.guelphhydroinc.com

About Bitstrips for Schools

Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Bitstrips Inc. is the company behind Bitstrips for Schools, the innovative educational website that has been used by over a million teachers and students around the world to create eight million original comic strips. It features fun and easy-to-use tools that enable any student to make professional-looking comics without drawing a line, and turns any topic into a creative and collaborative classroom activity. With over 30,000 new comics created each day, Bitstrips for Schools is leading the charge of introducing comics to the classroom.

For more information, visit: www.bitstripsforschools.com

About Upper Grand District School Board

The Upper Grand District School Board serves approximately 32,000 students in 59 elementary schools and 11 secondary schools in the City of Guelph, County of Wellington and County of Dufferin.

For more information, visit: www.ugdsb.on.ca

About Wellington Catholic District School Board

The Wellington Catholic District School Board serves approximately 8,000 students in 17 elementary schools and three secondary schools in the City of Guelph, and Wellington County.

For more information, visit: www.wellingtoncssb.edu.on.ca

To view the photos associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

http://www.marketwire.com/library/20120120-ec_charlotte800.jpg

http://www.marketwire.com/library/20120120-ec_jacob800.jpg

To view the video associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WtZsXxt1No&feature=youtu.be

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