ORIENT: The Intercultural Empathy Through Virtual Role-Play

Ruth Aylett (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK), Sibylle Enz (Otto-Friedrich-Universitaet, Germany), Lynne Hall (University of Sunderland, UK), Mei Yii Lim (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK), Ana Paiva (INESC-ID, Portugal), Wolfgang Schneider (Julius-Maximilians Universität, Germany), Natalie Vannini (Julius-Maximilians Universität, Germany) and Carsten Zoll (Otto-Friedrich-Universitaet, Germany)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 88
EISBN13: 9781609602789|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-749-7.ch004
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In a globalised world, cultural diversity is a challenge for everyone. Even for those staying “at home” cultural diversity enters their daily lives by people migrating from other regions of the world, sharing their social world. While intercultural encounters pose a great enrichment to one’s experiences and perspectives, they also represent an immense challenge, confronting us with different languages, attitudes, habits, and social norms. The work presented in this chapter takes up this challenge by developing and evaluating a believable agent-based educational application (“ORIENT”) designed to develop intercultural empathy for 12-14 year olds. The following chapter: (1) discusses the approach to use the appealing character of games in order to foster social and emotional learning in the age group while drawing on effective pedagogical interventions like role-play that have previously been successfully used to trigger social and emotional learning in a variety of real-world contexts; (2) introduces the development of ORIENT as an affective agent architecture modeling culturally-specific agent behavior, drawing on the psychological and pedagogical theories outlined; (3) considers the role of novel interaction modalities in supporting an empathic engagement with culturally-specific characters as well as active engagement in collaborative learning within a group of learners; and (4) presents and discusses results of preliminary evaluation studies based on an early prototype.
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