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 New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

Inaugural "Virtual World Tour" scheduled for december

28.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new molecular player involved in T cell activation

07.12.2018 | Life Sciences

High-temperature electronics? That's hot

07.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

Supercomputers without waste heat

07.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>