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eCIRCUS

Project ID: 027656
Funded under

Education through Characters with emotional-Intelligence and Role-playing Capabilities that Understand Social interaction

From 2006-03-01 to 2009-02-28, closed project | eCIRCUS Website

Project details

Total cost:

EUR 3 017 323

EU contribution:

EUR 2 600 000

Coordinated in:

United Kingdom

Call for proposal:

FP6-2004-IST-4See other projects for this call

Funding scheme:

STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project

Description

Kids learn to empathise with others via video games

Schoolchildren throughout Europe will be able to hone their social skills and learn to empathise with others thanks to a new type of interactive video games being developed by European researchers.

The games, which feature characters with emotional intelligence and role-playing capabilities, focus on social interaction. They enable children to see and feel how it is to be bullied, or to be different in other ways from the majority of students.

The games also encourage children to be proactive when faced with bullying, for example, by showing them what happens to the characters featured as they face different scenarios and outcomes.

The children learn at a gut level what the best course of action is, such as reporting bullying to a teacher. While the games do not replace traditional methods of teaching children social skills and understanding, they reinforce the more traditional, factual lessons that are already a part of many curricula.

Researchers set up eCIRCUS to build on the success of an earlier project, VICTEC, which developed the FearNot! game software that is now being introduced into schools to combat bullying.

Game beats the bullies

The partners who developed the FearNot! software are psychologists and computer scientists from the UK, Portugal and Germany. They initially set out to use their very different fields of expertise to design a virtual-reality school where children could simulate a bullying situation.

The researchers developed a bullying demonstrator, involving a cast of three-dimensional characters in credible scenarios based on the accounts of children who had actually been bullied.

Using the demonstrator, children follow bully Luke and his victim through various scenarios and interact with the program by making decisions on what to do next at key points in the ‘play’. For example, they can choose to ignore the bully, or hit back or report the bullying to someone. Each of these choices will have different consequences.

Real-time reactions

One of the aspects which makes this software a particularly powerful tool is that the characters react in real time in an unscripted way and express emotions such as fear, anger and worry.

The eCIRCUS project has continued developing FearNot! by expanding the range of characters and episodes, improving user interaction and by getting the software into schools. The project team also developed a new game to promote intercultural understanding.

Emphasis on empathy

In both cases, the focus is on empathy and social immersion, with children being drawn into the games to experience what the victim of bullying or the shunned immigrant is feeling. Conflict resolution is the desired outcome in both scenarios.

On a broader scale, the partners are hoping the dissemination of results from the project will have a significant impact throughout Europe on approaches to social and emotional learning, and result in improved quality and innovation in technology-enhanced learning.

Objective

e-CIRCUS aims to develop novel conceptual models and innovative technology to support learning through role-play and affective engagement for Personal and Social Education (PSE) involving complex social situations. It has the following objectives:
1. To develop models of narrative engagement and empathy for social and emotional learning processes through role-play. 2. To support affective engagement in social and emotional learning through new methods of interaction supporting both spectator and actor roles.3. To create an innovative architecture to enable educational role-play for social and emotional learning in virtual environments populated by synthetic characters with autobiographical memory, individual personalities and attributes.4. To create a VLE for emotional and social learning through developing showcases for educational role-play: one on anti-bullying education and one on intercultural empathy.5. To optimize user involvement in design and development through a classroom-based, curriculum-focused participatory design approach. 6. To carry out a comprehensive evaluation framework including a longitudinal study to assess impact and effectiveness. 7. To disseminate widely the results of the project and seek opportunities for exploiting the results of the project.
By delivering technology that integrates affect with cogniton, it will meet the action line objective "To contribute to new understandings of the learning processes by exploring links between human learning, cognition and technologies."

Coordinator contact

Ruth Aylett, (Project Coordinator)
Tel.: +44 1313 514189
Fax: +44 1314 513327
E-mail

Coordinator

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom

EU contribution: EUR 564 029


Riccarton
EH14 4AS EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Ruth Aylett
Tel.: +44-131-4514189
Fax: +44-131-4513327
E-mail

Participants

UNIVERSITAT ZURICH
Participation ended
Switzerland

EU contribution: EUR 0


RAMISTRASSE 71
8006 ZURICH
Switzerland
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Dieter Wolke
Tel.: +41-44-3886109
Fax: +41-44-3886137
E-mail
JULIUS-MAXIMILIANS UNIVERSITAET WUERZBURG
Germany

EU contribution: EUR 201 572


SANDERRING 2
97070 WUERZBURG
Germany
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Wolfgang Schneider
Tel.: +49-931-8884822
Fax: +49-931-8884891
E-mail
UNIVERSITAET AUGSBURG
Germany

EU contribution: EUR 383 251


UNIVERSITAETSSTRASSE 2
86159 AUGSBURG
Germany
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Elisabeth Andre
Tel.: +49-821-5982341
Fax: +49-821-5982349
E-mail
OTTO-FRIEDRICH-UNIVERSITAET BAMBERG
Germany

EU contribution: EUR 240 022


KAPUZINERSTRASSE 16
96045 BAMBERG
Germany
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Harald Schaub
Tel.: +49-89-60883178
Fax: +49-89-60884029
E-mail
PERSOFT DI PAOLA RIZZO
Participation ended
Italy

EU contribution: EUR 0


VIA ANTONINO BONGIORNO 60 IN. 8
00155 ROMA
Italy
Activity type: Other
Administrative contact: Paola Rizzo
Tel.: +39-06-4061661
Fax: +39-06-3223076
INTERAGENS SRL
Italy

EU contribution: EUR 61 267


VIA ANTONINO BONGIORNO 60
00155 ROMA
Italy
Activity type: Other
Administrative contact: Paola Rizzo
Tel.: +39-06-4061661
Fax: +39-06-3223076
INESC ID - INSTITUTO DE ENGENHARIADE SISTEMAS E COMPUTADORES, INVESTIGACAO E DESENVOLVIMENTO EM LISBOA
Portugal

EU contribution: EUR 363 464


RUA ALVES REDOL 9
1000 029 LISBOA
Portugal
Activity type: Research Organisations
Administrative contact: Ana Paiva
Tel.: +351-21-4233223
Fax: +351-21-4233252
E-mail
UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND
United Kingdom

EU contribution: EUR 201 572


Edinburgh Building, Chester Road
SR1 3SD Sunderland
United Kingdom
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Lynne Hall
Tel.: 44-191-5153249
Fax: 44-191-5152781
E-mail
THE UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE HIGHER EDUCATION CORPORATION
United Kingdom

EU contribution: EUR 383 251


COLLEGE LANE
AL10 9AB HATFIELD
United Kingdom
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Kerstin Dautenhahn
Tel.: +44-1707-284333
Fax: +44-1707-284303
E-mail
THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
United Kingdom

EU contribution: EUR 201 572


Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW COVENTRY
United Kingdom
Activity type: Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative contact: Dieter Wolke
Tel.: +$$ 2476 523096
Fax: +44 2476 524225
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