CyberFair Project ID: 1844

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Conventual Church of St. John: A Celebration of History, Religion and Architecture in the Co-Cat
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: San Andrea Senior School
    L-Imselliet, Mgarr, Malta

15 students, ages from 14 to 15 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 2, 2023. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001

Classes and Teachers: Mr. Stephen Briffa (Humanities Coordinator and History teacher), Ms. Cynthia Degiorgio (Environmental Studies and Art teacher), Ms. Nicky Bonello (Religious Studies teacher): Grade 11 Students

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Malta is a small Island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It is only 27km and 14km at its longest and widest parts respectively.

The community represented consists of the people of Malta since our school catchment area is from all over the Island.

The population of Malta is around 400,000; however this is usually higher during the summer due to the heavy influx of tourists.

Malta's strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea has lured settlers from as early as 5000 B.C. up to Malta's independence in 1964. This has made Malta very rich in its historical heritage with a number of locations being designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

2. Summary of Our Project

The St. John's Co-Cathedral is situated in the capital city, Valletta. It was the Conventual church of the Order of St.John when the knights, under Grandmaster La Valette, constructed their new city Valletta.

It's a World Heritage Site & it is unique since it's architecture is Mannerist on the outside & Baroque on the inside. It has marble statues & inlaid marble tombs of the grandmasters. It has the first Baroque Vault painting & two paintings of the famous painter Caravaggio. It is one of Malta's main tourist attractions.

The students went on site & are doing research about it from the historical, religious & artistic points of view. Through this project, apart from getting more familiar with the world wide web, students are also studying the Co-Cathedral, which is included in their syllabus. Moreover, through this project we are integrating a variety of subjects: History, Environmental Studies, Art & Religion.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school obtains Internet access through ADSL, provided by Terranet Ltd, which is one of the main Internet providers in the Maltese Islands.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

In order to help the students critically analyze art and architecture, the teacher first, had to teach them the necessary skills to do so. It was a problem to coordinate the teachers and the students, since they are from different classes and all have different lesson times. Another obstacle was that during the three weeks of Mid-Year Examinations, little work could be done on our project. Another problem was the time factor, since apart from having a vast curriculum, this year we decided not to use professional web-designers for the technical build-up of the web pages, but instead use the expertise of the Computer Studies Teachers and the students themselves. Another setback was that two weeks before the deadline, our Internet provider had to cut of our Internet supply temporarily in order to upgrade the system to fibre optics. Another major setback was, that the week before the deadline, coincided with the first week of the Easter Holidays. This meant that we had to come in and work on the project during the holidays. One of the problems we are still encountering is that the beautifully animated Slide Show presentation created by one of the students using Power Point XP takes too long to download. This problem can be overcome if the user has an ADSL Internet connection and a powerful Pentium 4 Computer.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our participation in Cyber Fair has given us an excellent opportunity to analyse a particular topic by integrating the Humanities subjects together and also with ICT (Information Communications Technology). The students also had many opportunitities to use the Internet in order to enhance their learning. By critically evaluating the art and architecture of the co-cathedral and researching the historical and religious aspects of it, the students learnt various analytical and writing skills.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

This project fitted perfectly in the Environmental Studies Curriculum. The students learnt how to critically analyse architectural primary sources, research and consult various history books, as well as analysing primary sources on site. They also learnt how to summarise and also use Internet for their research. The students also practise teamwork and peer tutoring. This project surely fulfills the requirements of our school, since it encourages integration of subjects as well as the use of Internet and modern technology to facilitate efficient and successful teaching. However we discovered that for some projects one needs plenty of time and the Local National Curriculum leaves limited time for this. Using the Internet is surely more effective than using traditional methods, since the Internet is an effective tool for research. Moreover web-sites and Power Point presentations facilitate learning since one can combine photos, video-clips, animation, colour and sound in order to produce motivating content.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

To complete our Cyber Fair Project we used:-

a.) Video and Digital still cameras b.) Digitizers and Scanners c.) Microsoft Front Page d.) Adobe Photo Shop e.) Adobe Premiere f.) School Library g.) The Co-Cathedral Museum h.) Five Pentium 4 Computers i.) A video cassette of the historical re-enactment of the Great Siege of 1565.

The technological tools were located within a centrally accessible network. The most valuable tools were the Microsoft Front Page and the Adobe Photo Shop. The most helpful technologies were the still and video digital cameras.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Obviously the students were very enthusiastic about the Project and told their peers, teachers and families. During the phone calls made, to book a visit to the cathedral, we informed the curator and his assistant about this project. Apart from this, during the Educational Visit, we also informed the tourists who happened to be visiting the cathedral. At school, the Humanities Department organised an Open Day during which, the students made a presentation about their Project. An article about this project will feature in the school's Annual magazine and also in the Education Supplement of The Times of Malta, which is one of the main newspapers in the Maltese Islands. Another article will feature in the Monthly magazine of the Government Education Department (Eduforum). This magazine is circulated among all teachers in local schools. Our project will be linked to the History Teachers Association of Malta, so that it can be used by history teachers all over the island as part of the curriculum. The project will also be linked to the web-site of the European History Teachers Association, as well as to the web-site of one of the main societies responsible for the Preservation of the National Cultural Heritage. Our project will also be linked to the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), which will use it to promote the Co-Cathedral to the thousands of tourists who visit Malta annually. Mr. Stephen Briffa, will also use the project as a practical example during his lectures at University with the student teachers to show how such resources and modern technology can be used effectively in teaching history.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

This project is unique because the local community will be able to see a short video presentation showing the teacher discussing and analysing the art and architecture inside the cathedral. Through our project, members of our community will also be able to see the cathedral in more detail and through the perspective of students studying it for their exam. People seeing the project will also empathise through the short video-clip of the re-enactment of the Great Siege of 1565. Both the Slide Show presentation done by one of the students and the 360 degrees digital photo of the interior of the cathedral, contribute to make this project locally unique. Through our project tourists visiting our island will have the benefit of getting valuable information about the cathedral before actually visiting it. This project will help people around the world get a better idea of one of Malta's best religious, artistic, architectural and historical monuments. This project has also helped me establish working relationships with parents, teachers, students and heritage-promoting societies in our community. One of the main impacts this project has had, was that it showed how technology can help students display their findings, on the internet, through the use of photos, videos and slide shows. Finally, I have already received feedback from parents in our local community who have found our project very helpful for their children's studying, since it covers an important topic in the curriculum. I have also received feedback from people abroad who have found our project valuable in learning more about Malta's rich cultural heritage. Some German tourists who happened to be in the cathedral while the students were there, have sent me a CD ROM containing photos of the cathedral from inside and showing the students discussing with the teacher.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Mr. Stephen Briffa:- He is the Humanities Coordinator and History teacher at San Andrea Senior School. He was responsible for the whole Cyber Fair Project and coordinated it. He was particularly in charge of the History Section of the Project and coordinated the students working on it.

Ms. Cynthia Degiorgio:- She is the Environmental Studies and Art teacher at San Andrea Senior School. She was responsible for the Art and Architecture Section of the Project and coordinated the students working on it. She was also in charge of the Educational Visit to the Co-Cathedral.

Ms. Nicky Bonello:- She is the Religious Studies teacher at San Andrea Senior School. She was responsible for the Religion Section of the Project and coordinated the students working on it.

Ms. Anne Xuereb:- She is the ICT Manager and teacher at San Andrea Senior School. She coordinated the technological aspects of the Project.

Mr. Gilbert Fenech:- He is the Art teacher at San Andrea Senior School. He was responsible for the overall design and creation of the web pages.

Ms. Lina Farrugia:- She is the Librarian at San Andrea Senior School. She provided valuable books to the students and helped them in their research.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

There was great enthusiasm and interest at San Andrea Senior School about our Cyber Fair Project because last year our project, which was also submitted under the category of Historical Landmarks, won the Silver Award.An interesting discovery was the mounting of 4 digital photos taken inside the cathedral, into one 360 degrees digital photo. Like this the web user can scroll the photo in order to get an all-round perspective of the interior of the cathedral. We learnt how beneficial it was for the students to actually visit the cathedral with their teacher, in order to critically analyse all the art, architecture and history that it possesses.We succeeded to make the project more effective by including a video-clip of this educational visit, through which the web user can actually listen to the students discussing and the teacher explaining inside the cathedral. Having a short video-clip of the re-enactment of the Great Siege of 1565, showing the Grand Master La Valette preparing for battle, contributes in developing empathy within the people viewing our project. It was also a great idea to include a Power Point Presentation created by one of the students, since apart from being very interesting, animated and depictive, it was also a practical example for the other students to learn how to create Slide Shows. Therefore it provided ample opportunity for peer tutoring! Finally one must say that it was very beneficial not to get the help of professional web designers as we did in previous years, but to use the expertise of the students and teachers at our school. They found the Microsoft Front Page, which was awarded to our school for our participation in Cyber Fair in 1999, fundamental in creating this project. Apart from having fun in completing this project, the students had ample opportunity to appreciate their nation's rich cultural Heritage.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1844)

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