May is here once again bringing with it lots of hard work, preparations, enthusiasm and excitement for the much loved eTwinning project SCHOOLOVISION!
Children look forward to it year after year. Schoolovision is a fun-filled project in which more than thirty European schools participate and celebrate cultural diversity through music annually. This year 32 European schools participated and Malta once again took 2nd spot with 166 points!
Schoolovision2018 marked the 10th anniversary of this grand project with a video conference which took place in Poland on Friday 11th May, on the eve of the real Eurovision Song Contest. This gave a chance to participants to travel to Poland with the children and be there live for the event. Schools who could not travel to Poland, participated through GoToMeeting via an internet connection, a webcam and a microphone.
For this year’s contest, we participated with the song “A Glimpse at Us” written exclusively for the occasion by Zachary Sammut who attends Ħandaq Middle School. The music of the song, composed by Mro. John Anthony Fsadni, fuses European Baroque sounds with African drumming patterns. This texture is topped by a swing melody sung by the children which alternates between choir and solo voices.
“A Glimpse at Us” takes us round our island described by many tourists as a jewel of long rich history and authentic monuments and buildings cleverly built by our ancestors. Foreign influences have left a mark on the island’s culture, language and infrastructure.
Our song takes us round our island’s heritage and long rich history during an important year when Valletta, our capital, is designated as the European Capital of Culture. Malta is celebrating cultural diversity as it got great influences from other nations and foreigners who invaded and ruled Malta throughout history. This can be seen in many of our magnificent buildings and infrastructure, traditions and language. As the number of migrants is increasing, we are somehow living a part of our past history once again.
Schoolovision is an eTwinning project created by Michael Purves, a Scottish teacher of Yester Primary School in the UK 10 years ago. He was inspired to create this wonderful and innovative project after watching the Eurovision Song Contest and realised that something similar could be done among European schools registered on the eTwinning portal. And so it began! “From small beginnings come great things!” Michael once wrote.
The last ten years of Schoolovision has seen many fabulous entries as a result of an improvement in technology such as hardware and software, making entries great masterpieces of outstanding videos.
Schoolovision is a unique eTwinning project. There has never been anything like it and it is probably the only project still active for so long. This project brings children from countries across Europe and beyond closer together. The 10th edition of this much-loved project was a fun filled partnership where cultural heritage was truly highlighted and to match the 2018 theme… Cultural Diversity.
How is it done?
One class from each participating European country chooses a song, representative of their country, practises it, records it, and finally uploads the music video to the project blog one week before the real contest. This gives participating children the chance to view all songs in their classes, and vote for their own favourite songs. On the eve of the real Eurovision Song Contest, each country meets using the online video conferencing tool GoToMeeting to cast their votes, in the same way as in the Eurovision Song Contest. Trophies are awarded, engraved and posted to the first 3 winning countries and so this year we are among those to be awarded once again with one by the founder himself.
Schoolovision is an awesome project which gives the children a chance to communicate and collaborate with other school children across Europe by adding their comments to each and every video on the blog. It gives them great interesting insights of different European cultures and it enhances motivation and creativity in all children, even those with learning disabilities. I have been participating in this project for ten years now and through experience I can say that Schoolovision helped all children to believe in their capabilities and discover the wonderful talents hidden within them.
Music is the bridge between heaven and earth and thus it is a wonderful tool which brings European children together through song. Music breaks language barriers and seems to translate every song into everyone’s native language. Even when participating schools sing in their own language, it is amazing how our children still get the message of the songs and can be heard humming and singing catchy parts of them. Schoolovision has become a bridge between participating countries and it has helped us teachers to practise integrated learning in our schools and address lots of areas of the curriculum. It enhances investigation as we research and learn about participating countries (geography) and using technology and digital literacy. It also allows them to make use of drama through their singing, practise their language skills and develop their maths skills during the voting. Schoolovision entries have improved and become sophisticated over the years and this has made the project more and more interesting. I truly believe that Schoolovision and all other eTwinning projects are a great opportunity for each child to develop their talents more and realise that they have a lot to share with the outside world.
The children liked the song very much and they learnt it very quickly. The recording of the song was done at Philip Vella Studio and the videographer Sebio Aquilina accompanied us on site to capture great shots of our performance. Special thanks go to Mrs. Carmen Grech, for allowing us to film part of our video at her house and to all parents of children involved and to the school administration for their constant help and support. I must say we all had a wonderful time and participants will surely treasure this experience for years to come. I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to our sponsors who accepted willingly to give us a helping hand in the hairdo and make up to make the natural beauty of our children stand out! Schoolovision is a great challenge for us and all our sponsors but when they realise that there is no commercial gain from this educational project, they are still happy to help.
Now that Schoolovision2018 is over, we will treasure every moment with pride and encouragement and look forward to Schoolovision2019!
Maria Antoinette Magro
Kulleġġ San Ġorġ Preca Ħamrun GP Primary