About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2804-2814
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

FOSTERING EMPATHIC BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: INTERACTION WITH INTELLIGENT CHARACTERS EMBODYING CULTURALLY SPECIFIC BEHAVIOUR IN VIRTUAL WORLD SIMULATIONS

L. Hall1, S.J. Jones1, R. Aylett2, E. André3, A. Paiva4, G.J. Hofstede5, A. Kappas6, Y. Nakano7, T. Nishida8

1University of Sunderland (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Heriot-Watt University (UNITED KINGDOM)
3University of Augsburg (GERMANY)
4INESC ID (PORTUGAL)
5Wageningen University (NETHERLANDS)
6Jacobs University (GERMANY)
7Seikei University (JAPAN)
8Kyoto University (JAPAN)
In the 21st Century the contemporary experience of the citizen is to live and work alongside many cultural, ethnic and religious groups. This is not always a smooth process; cultural differences can lead to social stresses and sometimes outright conflict. Thus education in cultural awareness and understanding has an increasingly significant role to play in determining the societies of the future. Helping children and young people to develop empathy for people from other cultures is an ever pressing pedagogical imperative. Multicultural contexts can seem confusing and contradictory and both children and young people need sound and ongoing learning experiences to underpin their attitudes and behaviours as they develop and mature. Role play and case studies which support experiential learning have been shown to be highly effective in this domain, however they are difficult to organise and costly.

The 7th Framework EU project ‘Education for Cultural Understanding’ (eCute) aims to develop cultural understanding by providing immersive virtual role play with intelligent interactive graphical characters embodying models of culturally-specific behaviour and interaction. Targeted at two specific age groups, children aged 9-11 and young adults aged 18-25, eCute sets out to design and build two cultural Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)based on virtual dramas and to evaluate these with stakeholder teacher and learner groups to demonstrate learning efficacy. Fundamental to eCute is the user-centred design approach whereby key stakeholders – children, young people and teachers, will be directly involved in design and development from the outset.

The realisation of these highly innovative technology enhanced learning experiences for children and young people requires an interdisciplinary approach that brings together psychologists, educationalists, cultural theorists and a range of design and technology practitioners to address the key design issues involved. These include the development of pedagogical approaches to education in cultural understanding grounded in psychological and educational theory; the creation of believable cultural scenarios based upon theoretical approaches that connect with the experiences of children and young people; an operational parameterisation of theoretically derived cultural behaviour which can be used to create synthetic cultures and characters that behave as if they live in such cultures; the development of expressive behaviour for synthetic characters that is culturally appropriate and the design of seamless evaluation approaches which enable the efficacy of the technology to be assessed during the role play activity itself.

Opportunities for children and young people to explore cultural difference and what this means through technology enhanced role play activities is of considerable benefit in today’s multicultural contexts and for the societies we hope for in the future. This paper will explore the interdisciplinary approach outlined above and in particular the overarching theoretical framework which will underpin design, development and evaluation of these highly innovative learning experiences.

Acknowledgement

This work is partly supported by the European Community (EC) and is currently funded by the eCute project [FP7-ICT-2009-5] with university partners Heriot-Watt, INESC-ID, Augsburg, Wageningen, Jacobs University Bremen, Sunderland, Seikei and Kyoto.
@InProceedings{HALL2011FOS,
author = {Hall, L. and Jones, S.J. and Aylett, R. and Andr{\'{e}}, E. and Paiva, A. and Hofstede, G.J. and Kappas, A. and Nakano, Y. and Nishida, T.},
title = {FOSTERING EMPATHIC BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: INTERACTION WITH INTELLIGENT CHARACTERS EMBODYING CULTURALLY SPECIFIC BEHAVIOUR IN VIRTUAL WORLD SIMULATIONS},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2804-2814}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Hall AU - S.J. Jones AU - R. Aylett AU - E. André AU - A. Paiva AU - G.J. Hofstede AU - A. Kappas AU - Y. Nakano AU - T. Nishida
TI - FOSTERING EMPATHIC BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: INTERACTION WITH INTELLIGENT CHARACTERS EMBODYING CULTURALLY SPECIFIC BEHAVIOUR IN VIRTUAL WORLD SIMULATIONS
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 2804
EP - 2814
ER -
L. Hall, S.J. Jones, R. Aylett, E. André, A. Paiva, G.J. Hofstede, A. Kappas, Y. Nakano, T. Nishida (2011) FOSTERING EMPATHIC BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: INTERACTION WITH INTELLIGENT CHARACTERS EMBODYING CULTURALLY SPECIFIC BEHAVIOUR IN VIRTUAL WORLD SIMULATIONS, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 2804-2814.
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