Games ready to be tested in Serbia, Hungary and Lithuania

kids movement   The M4ALL project is entering its final month; a busy period with a number of activities.  In the summer the partner in charge of dissemination and piloting (Telecentre Europe) has launched an invitation amongst its member organisations to participate in piloting of the M4All games created through the project.  More than 10 telecentre networks and Non-for-profit organisations in the field of digital inclusion expressed their interest in participating.

    An agreement for piloting has now been reached with four partners from four countries: Langas i Ateiti  (Lithuania), IAN (Serbia), Foundation for Community Networks (KOZHALO) from Hungary and the Catalan Network of Telecentres ( Spain). They will organise the trials of the M4All games with children in “authentic environments” such as schools, hospitals, therapeutic centres and similar. The testing results will be further exploited among therapists, teachers and parents through info sessions. The piloting activities in Serbia and Hungary will also serve as settings for a short promotional video on the M4ALL games and project approach.

The M4ALL games use the widely affordable Kinect technology and are specifically developed for children with motor and/or intellectual or learning disabilities.

Presenting our own Web 2.0 Community!

M4ALL project announces the arrival of  its online web 2.0 Community!  It can be accessed at this site:  http://m4all-community.org

The community site creates an environment where researchers, practitioners, students but also teachers and parents can get direct access to games, research material and useful information from the field of motion-based learning for children with special education needs, in particular children with motor and/or intellectual disabilities.

Screenshot 2014-10-31 11.36.22   M4ALL educational games have all  been developed using the Kinect technology and they offer customisation capabilities to enable caregivers, therapists and parents adapt the gaming experience to the individual requirements of each child.

M4ALL project partners are hereby calling all those interested in special education and gaming tehcnology to join the M4ALL online community and  benefit from the results of this EU funded project that involves the collaborative work of R&D groups from five European countries.

 

 

Call for piloting of M4All games!

Telecentre Europe invites its members and other interested organisations to participate in a pilot activity in the field of motion-based playful learning experiences for children with motor and intellectual disabilities. The pilot is realised in the framework of the M4ALL project- a joint effort of European technological research and development institutions led by Politecnico di Milano.

Telecentre Europe’s role in the M4ALL project is to evaluate the developed motion-based playful learning games in authentic environments (e.g. schools, therapeutic centres, telecentres, homes) in terms of educational effectiveness, efficiency, and learning impact. Telecentre Europe is also requested to organise local info days in order to facilitate the adoption of the motion-based games developed by the project. The ultimate goal is to help teachers, therapists and parents understand how to offer motion-based playful learning activities to children with disabilities and how to engage them in collaborative learning tasks.

What are we looking for?

Telecentre Europe is looking for 3-4 local partners in different countries that would like to participate in the pilot experience. The role of the local pilot partner is to evaluate the games developed in the M4ALL project and to organise information sessions for teachers, therapists and parents.

What can we offer?

  • 4-5 educational games developed using Kinect technology
  • 1 Kinect camera for Windows (which will remain at the local partner’s disposal)
  • A sum of €500 per local partner for the organisation of evaluation sessions and info days

What do we expect?

  • Following pre-defined evaluation goals and methodological approach, the pilot organisation will conduct evaluation sessions and prepare evaluation report by the end of October 2014
  • Organise local info days and/or other dissemination sessions to promote the adoption of M4ALL games and the M4ALL methodology by the end of October 2014

If you are interested in joining the pilot experience or would like to receive more information, please contact Peter Palvolgyi  before the 5th of September 2014. 

Experts enthusiastic about games that promote social interaction amongst children with ASD

As part of the M4ALL Project, Cognitive Media Technology Group (CMTech) fo the ICT Department at Universitat Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona has been developing, testing and polishing the motion-based game called “Pico’s Adventures”. A very detailed working prototype is already in place and the mechanics and activities it proposes to children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder are deemed highly relevant.

Pilot user trials have been undertaken with ten children during a four-week period. The main purpose of the testing was to evaluate usability issues but also to understand whether the type of game is adequate for ASD children in the particular age group (4 to 6), the suitability of graphics and overall aesthetics, the details of the game mechanics and whether the game goals are feasible for the children to achieve.

These pilot game testing sessions have taken place at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona, Spain. The hospital is the home-base of the psychologists, psychiatrists and pedagogues – the ASD experts- of the Specialised Unit in Developmental Disorders that are collaborating with the University.

In addition, in this pilot testing there have also been a number of formal observations, video recording and system data saving into log files to evaluate the progress of children within the game. Evaluation of this data is currently underway. The ASD experts from the collaborating hospital are already very enthusiastic as they see great potential in using this game as a great tool to aid children in initiating social interaction.

More formal user trials with new children are to now follow. These trials will provide plenty of information in order to formally analyse and produce the final conclusions. A website has been set up for the game and can be consulted here.

M4ALL at Online Educa 2013 (Berlin)

On December 5th, 2013, M4ALL will give a demo of the tools developed by the project at Online Educa 2013 (Berlin), the largest global conference on technology supported learning and training for the corporate, education and public service sectors, attracting  more than 2000 visitors from more than 100 countries world-wide. The demo will be hosted at the stand of the EC Education Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). For further information on this event: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/LLp/events/2013/online_educa_en.php

TU Eindhoven at Games for Health conference

M4ALL project partner at TU Eindhoven ,  industrial designer, Koen de Greef  presented the M4All project and his own research in the field of Kinect games at the conference Games for Health , held in Utrecht , Netherlands on 27th and 28th October. Koen also talked about his role in this project -to design and develop a game that targets the core values and challenges for this user group.

This is how Koen described the research he presented:

“Children who have special needs when it comes to motor skill development, for instance as a result of developmental coordination disorder or cerebral palsy, need to undergo long bouts of physical ther-apy. This can often be considered boring, to the detriment of the efficacy of the therapy. One way to improve the engagement of physical therapy is to embed it into a video game, e.g. with the aid of Kinect. However, very little is known scientifically on how to design these serious games for mixed abilities in order to be both fun and efficacious in terms of mo-tor skills development or attitude change. In addition, contemporary en-tertainment games often revolve around competition based on mastery of skills to be engaging, something special needs children feel left out in. In this position paper we survey the field and propose a number of ways to approach mixed ability game design.”

For more information on the event, please visit:

http://www.gamesforhealtheurope.org/

For the research paper please click here.

M4All at IDC Conference in New York

The Interaction Design and Children (IDC) Conference is held in New York City this year (24-27 June). The IDC conference’s mission is to bring together researchers, designers and educators to explore new forms of technology, design and engaged learning among children. The conference incorporates papers, presentations, speakers, workshops, participatory design experiences and discussions on how to create better interactive experiences for children. Several of the workshops will also be child-friendly. IDC 2013 will offer a wide-ranging program, supporting and facilitating the exchange of ideas within and between all of these communities, with a special emphasis on supporting interaction and impact for children in at-risk and marginalized populations.

At ACM IDC 2013, members of M4ALL team will present a full paper on the preliminary results of the project and the paper Exploring Motion-based Touchless Games for Autistic Children’s Learning.

Visit the conference website for more information.

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Italian well-known therapeutic center joining the project

Hospital “Presidio Ospedaliero San Camillo” in Turin, holding one of the most important therapeutic centers in Italy, has agreed to participate in the M4ALL experimentation and is already carrying on some tests of the preliminary prototypes developed so far

Polisocial Award goes to Politecnico di Milano

In May 2013, the M4ALL team from Politecnico di Milano won the POLISOCIAL AWARD launched by Politecnico di Milano to acknowledge the most relevant projects devoted to social issues. The team won the prize proposing a project which is an extension of the M4ALL approach, addressing educational games for autistic children that exploit motion-based interaction and mobile robots.

Milan helds the project kick-off meeting

The M4All project kick-off meeting was organized by the project coordinator, POLIMI, in Milan, Italy, during 3-4 December 2012.