Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EU Funding To Help Beat School Bullies

01.12.2004


The problem of bullying in schools is being tackled by a innovative computer software ‘drama’ developed with the help of 1.24 million euros from the Information Society Technologies (IST) area of the EU’s Framework Funding Programme.



The VICTEC project is aimed at children between the ages of eight to twelve and uses self-animating 3D characters to create improvised dramas in a virtual school. The viewer is then asked to help one of the characters to deal with the problems they are facing.

“Unfortunately, bullying does occur in many situations both inside and outside of schools today” says project coordinator Professor Ruth Aylett, from Salford University. “VICTEC takes eLearning into Personal and Social Education, where attitudes and emotions are more important than pure knowledge. The project uses believable synthetic characters and narrative to help build a relationship between them and the individual user. In particular, the VICTEC FearNot! demonstrator tackles the problems of bullying and allows children to explore ways of dealing with it, such as ignoring the bully, hitting back or telling someone, in a non-threatening Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).


Users run through five episodes of bullying, interacting with one of the characters on each occasion by offering advice, and should come away with an understanding of the possibilities of escaping the situation. Because the software can be used at any time, it is less disruptive of school timetables and less costly than traditional anti-bullying drama groups.

“FearNot! is unique in Europe in using 3D graphical characters for personal and social interaction”, adds Professor Aylett. “Most European projects aimed at children rely on websites. However, we don’t want the kids to see this as a game, so our characters are expressive - although we have given them a cartoon-like form, rather than making them too naturalistic because psychological studies show that people may find almost naturalistic synthetic characters unnerving. However there is no magic wand to stop bullying and we do not offer one, though we do emphasise the only action everyone agrees on, which is to tell somebody you trust. "The VICTEC project has been very successful so far and has developed both technology and a deeper understanding of the psychological issues, especially in the field of empathy."

The software is still evolving but has already been evaluated by more than 400 children in an event held in June 2004. There is also close contact with the leading charity in this field, ChildLine. Project partners are working on expanding the range of characters and episodes and improving the user interaction, which is limited by technology to speech or text.

“I cannot think of a more worthwhile use of European Funding than projects such as VICTEC”, says Peter Walters, FP6UK’s National Contact Point for Information Society Technologies. “It is both an investment in dealing with a serious social problem and a way of investing in the development of our children to become part of a more sympathetic and tolerant society.

“The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free information on how to access some of the €19bn available should log on to http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080.”

Dave Sanders | alfa
Further information:
http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>