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Launch of X-Lab Science Education Television Series
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According to a recent Eurobarometer study the majority of Maltese youngsters find science boring and unappealing (Times of Malta, 20.11.08).  Maltese schoolchildren lack role models in science. They are unaware of the ongoing research and groundbreaking work being done by Maltese scientists locally and in the EU's finest institutions. As a result Malta ranks among the lowest of the EU 27 nations in the uptake of science in schools.

The new science education television series X-Lab aims to somewhat redress this imbalance by enthusing teenagers to take up science by demystifying the subject, making it fun and also showcasing career opportunities in various scientific fields in Malta and abroad.

The 26-episode series, which was produced in Malta and Cyprus, is funded by the EU Sixth Framework Programme and is the result of collaboration between the University of Malta, E22, the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation and e-ISOTIS (a pan-European e-learning NGO focussing on e-learning for the disadvantaged.)

In each episode a group of schoolchildren, chosen from the 13 participating schools,  demonstrate a scientific principle through an experiment which can easily be replicated at home using everyday items.  The use of the principle in industry is explored, and each episode profiles researchers and scientists working both locally and in some of the best and most well-known scientific institutions across the EU. Areas covered in the series range from aerodynamics to understanding DNA, from IT and artificial intelligence to preventing disasters.  The intention of the series is to expose viewers to the wide array of job opportunities related to science and to provide schoolchildren with vibrant and upcoming role models in the field.  

Although 13 of the episodes were produced in Malta and 13 in Cyprus the series will be broadcast in Maltese in Malta and in Greek in Cyprus. The series will also be translated into English and uploaded on the X-Lab website (www.xlab.tv) in a way which will also make it accessible to people with disabilities.  The website will feature details on each experiment shown and will also provide the opportunity for viewers to send their feedback and questions which will be answered by scientists involved in the programme.

X-Lab was launched at the University of Malta on the 12 December 2008 at a press conference addressed by Prof. Richard Muscat, University Pro Rector, Dr Pierre Schembri Wismayer, Project Coordinator and Ms Joyce Grech, series producer. A 5-minute preview of the series was shown.

X-lab will be broadcast on E22 and PBS in January 2009.

Pupils - experiment
Pupils carry experiment.

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