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

Project description


Technology-enhanced lLearning
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.

Call for proposal

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

Coordinator

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY
Address
Riccarton
EH14 4AS Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 564 029

Participants (10)

University of Zurich

Participation ended

EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Ramistrasse 71
8006 Zurich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
JULIUS-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAT WURZBURG
EU contribution
€ 201 572
Address
Sanderring 2
97070 Wuerzburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAET AUGSBURG
EU contribution
€ 383 251
Address
Universitaetsstrasse 2
86159 Augsburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
OTTO-FRIEDRICH-UNIVERSITAET BAMBERG
EU contribution
€ 240 022
Address
Kapuzinerstrasse 16
96047 Bamberg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
PERSOFT DI PAOLA RIZZO

Participation ended

EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Via Antonino Bongiorno 60 In. 8
00155 Roma
Activity type
Other
 
INTERAGENS SRL
EU contribution
€ 61 267
Address
Via Antonino Bongiorno 60
00155 Roma
Activity type
Other
 
INESC ID - INSTITUTO DE ENGENHARIADE SISTEMAS E COMPUTADORES, INVESTIGACAO E DESENVOLVIMENTO EM LISBOA
EU contribution
€ 363 464
Address
Rua Alves Redol 9
1000 029 Lisboa
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND
EU contribution
€ 201 572
Address
Edinburgh Building, Chester Road
SR1 3SD Sunderland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE HIGHER EDUCATION CORPORATION
EU contribution
€ 383 251
Address
College Lane
AL10 9AB Hatfield
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
EU contribution
€ 201 572
Address
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments