Coming soon to a virtual classroom near you ... CoServ Academy

By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ

Whether frying a hot dog with electricity or demonstrating how the sun’s rays are converted into photovoltaic energy, CoServ’s Energy Education Team has been a frequent guest at area schools over the past few years.

And then COVID-19 brought in-class visits and interaction to a screeching halt.

As school districts planned for students’ return to classrooms this fall, virtual or otherwise, CoServ did the same. The new distance-learning initiative has a name – CoServ Academy – and the Energy Education Team has a plan.

“We’ve developed ways to continue to educate and enrich students’ learning across 23 school districts by being in the classroom, without actually being in the classroom,” said Justin Porterfield, CoServ Energy Education Specialist. “This pandemic will not stop CoServ from our deep commitment to education in the communities we serve.”

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 prompted the Energy Education Team to create digital versions of their presentations. The mix of live interactive streaming video and prerecorded content allows for safe, socially distanced learning.

The Energy Education Team recently filmed their electric arcing safety demonstration and a tour of the CoServ Solar Station. In pre-COVID times, students would be invited out to the Krugerville solar farm, which includes a classroom on the premises.

“Teachers and students can’t come to us, so we’re coming to them,” Justin said, explaining how CoServ Academy will mix prerecorded clips with live Zoom or Microsoft Teams interaction to engage with classrooms.

The live element allows the team to adapt the content to various age groups, from kindergarten up to eighth grade, and to concepts that the students are learning about at the time. In addition, the videos can also be used for first responder training, such as what to do when there’s a downed power line. The prerecorded content will be the same, but the live interactive video will be geared toward the first responder audience.

The Energy Education Team also captured energy experiments on video that showcase kinetic, potential, solar, mechanical and sound energy. They’re also working on Career Day videos that feature CoServ Employees discussing what it takes to do their jobs.

Fast Facts: Arcing Safety Demonstration

  • Voltage: 7,200 volts
  • Temperature: up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Speed: Up to 186,000 miles per second (Nearly the speed of light)
  • Hotline stick used for arcing demos: Rated up to 100,000 volts

Fast Facts: CoServ Solar Station

  • Solar farm was built in 2015 on a former peanut farm in Krugerville
  • Produces more than 3,950 megawatt-hours per year
  • Consists of 8,500 individual solar panels
  • Transformer on-site steps up the low-voltage power from 1,000 volts to 14,400 volts
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