Projects

Resilience is a key competence of the twenty-first century which contributes to the success in school and in life. Especially unaccompanied migrant youth can benefit from learning this life skill, as they deal not only with the challenging transition to adulthood but also with the asylum procedure a...

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Within this project, a technological toolkit is being developed, which will allow young people, mediated by caregivers, to create customizable applications to support their own mental health and wellbeing, based on evidence-based interventions.

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TEAM (Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People), is a 4-year Innovation Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions initiative. There has been considerable research and many commercial products for improving physical health. However, the use of technology to support mental health lags far behind. The aim of the training network is to deliver new applications and technologies that support rapid, large-scale early assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health issues in young people.

As part of the TEAM project, the HCI group focuses on design, development and evaluation of technology-enabled, evidence-based programs, which aim to empower young people and help them to build resilience and care for their own mental health, thus reducing mental health difficulties and improve their wellbeing.

At the HCI group, there are two individual research projects:

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A principal challenge for existing social-emotional learning (SEL) programs is to provide reinforcement of the learnt competencies in everyday contexts and beyond the in-school lessons. SEL4Home project starts to bridge this gap by exploring how novel technologies can extend the programming into the homes of learners.

We collaborate with SEL developers and researchers at Committee for Children---the developers of Second Step, used by more than 8 millions of children in USA; as well as the VIBE group at Microsoft Research.

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SCHAUKASTEN - Sehförderung für Kleinkinder (1.12.2016 - 31.1.2018), financed by: Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger

SCHAUKASTEN seeks to conceptualize, co-design and implement novel interactive toys that motivate young children with visual impairments to keep up with their often dull but crucially important optical exerices.

Children with distinct visual impairment shall exercise their vision as soon as possible in order not to go blind. This exercise in vision constitutes an important building block for later leading an autonomous life.

Unfortunately, these exercise can often be little engaging and boring for the effected children and their parents or caregivers.

Therefore, SCHAUKASTEN seeks novel ways into motivating these children to do their exercises by supporting them with engaging and interactive exercise elements. During training, children shall be motivated by interactive toys to focus and endure as long as optimal. At the same time, parents and caregivers shall be relieved from challenges in motivating the children.

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Social play is key for successful inclusion of children with disabilities and has significant impact on their wellbeing and development. Typical traits in autism, such as impaired social and communication skills and repetitive behaviours, make social play particularly challenging for children diagnosed on the spectrum, exposing them to a wide range of mental health risks. This project investigates how technology can help support social play activities in mixed, co-located groups of autistic and neuro-typical children, aged 6 to 8 years. We aim to develop smart play objects, which can intelligently react to social situations to scaffold interactive play experiences of autistic children and their typically developing peers. For such objects to be meaningful to different children, it is key to involve them actively in their design.

Project Homepage: http://socialplay.at

Team: Christopher Frauenberger, Laura Scheepmaker, Katta Spiel

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Minecraft multiplayer servers allow millions of children from around the world to build, play and problem solve together in a shared virtual space. As conflicts between players are common, these online spaces offer unique opportunity to help children develop effective conflict resolution skills that would then transfer to real-world settings.

This project draws on 40 years of conflict resolution curricula in Prevention Science to develop in-game tools that embedded learning into the Minecraft gameplay. To explore this space, we collaborate with leading game researchers (Katie Salen, Mimi Ito) as well as SEL developers at Committee for Children (the developers of Second Step, used by more than 8 millions of children in USA).

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With OutsideTheBox we will think laterally and outside of typical boxes and categorisations. We will design new technologies with autistic children which are not exclusively driven by functional limitations, but engage children in all their diversity and with all their differences.

Project Homepage: http://outsidethebox.at

Team: Christopher Frauenberger, Julia Makhaeva, Katta Spiel

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