Map To The Stars is a European project that aims to empower children across France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands to explore their bodies and emotions through the language of dance. To accomplish it, dancers, choreographers, pedagogues and technologists from Ballet National de Marseille, ICK Amsterdam, Mercat de Les Flors de Barcelona, Explora-Il Museo dei Bambini di Roma, and Manuvo developed a mobile application that encourages non-dance teachers to integrate body movement in their classrooms, through a series of tutorials, multimedia, and challenges that fuse movement, curricula subjects, and strategies for cognitive development. It encourages social interaction and multicultural exchanges through an interactive map, movement-based dialogues and dance challenges that foster creativity, art, and cultural diversity.
According to Sir Ken Robinson, dance, and physical activity, should have the same status in schools as math, science and language, but it isn't. Dance and math, however are intrinsically linked, and education should be integral. Dance can help restore joy and stability in troubled lives, and ease the tensions in schools that are disrupted by violence and bullying. Digital technologies have become our daily lives. Children in particular are enthusiastic consumers of digital content. A study conducted by Eurostat in 2014, 81% of all European households have access to the Internet, and 50% of European children are equipped with tablets or computers at home. In this scenario, the European dance industry has evolved significantly, opening up to the use of digital technologies on the stage, while loosing at the same time young audience engagement and active participation in cultural events.
MTTS is an educational platform that gives school children the opportunity to rediscover dance and movement, while stimulating their creativity and enabling non-dance teachers to integrate movement in their classroom activities.
In our schools, imagination is often excessively condemned in favor of an over-valorization of logical mechanisms, rational thought, and deductive sequences. Map to the Stars encourages children to develop their creative abilities transversally. The use of new technologies in the classroom is essential if we want education to meet the societal need for future generations for enlightened and responsible creativity.
The MTTS platform provides a series of lesson plans, ordered by objectives related to key issues for dance, such as body, space, time and energy. Each lesson plan consists of 4 phases preceded by a description: warming-up, main exercise and a challenge to share. At the end of each lesson, students can record their challenge and share it with another class from the interactive map, uniting the European schools enrolled in the program.
MTTS is a team of dancers and choreographers, educators, educational researchers and digital developers. The making of the platform involved teachers and students as future users, who co-created the application from the very beginning. Together we questioned the use of digital tools in schools, identified existing potentials and brakes, created a tool that meets the needs of its users, and that takes into account their problems and constraints, and created strong research-action partnerships with committed teachers and schools.
Dance education is a tool for democratizing access to culture. With Map To The Stars, dance finds a place in primary schools across Europe, proving children everyday opportunities to get to know each other better, to focus, to increase their motivation, and to develop their social and expression skills.