UMSIC - Usability of Music for Social Inclusion of Children

The aim of this multidisciplinary and trans-national S&T project is to develop and use upto- date technology in a coordinated, intelligent and accessible way to support children’s social inclusion. Whilst intended for all children, UMSIC aims to particularly support, through music, those children who are at increased risk of being marginalized. These include children with social or emotional disorders (or both), those with moderate learning disabilities, and those who are immigrant with no or limited host country language skills. Unless their needs are recognised and addressed, such children are at risk of less than optimal functioning in many areas related to school success. Low academic achievement, in turn, is one of the most significant individual risk factors of marginalization.

There is a growing body of neurological and related research evidence that the promotion of early competences in music and language are interwoven and thus, in UMSIC, music is used to also help children to develop language skills whilst positively affecting children’s emotional, social, and intellectual development.

Although ICT applications for special educational purposes have been increasingly developed (Eriksson & Ahonniska 2003), ICT-based, user sensitive learning environments for musical creativity and social sharing of music do not yet exist. Consequently, in the proposed UMSIC project, a system is developed to open interactive environments for children to communicate informally with their peers by using familiar modern technologies. With a special focus on child-cantered usability, intelligent musical engineering and carefully developed pedagogical design that is allied to structured learning material, UMSIC allows children both stand-alone as well as networked operations with easy start up and impressive extensibility. Children will draw benefit from the targeted learning material in multiple ways by learning independently the usage of musical software required to enter musical online communities in every-day life.

Participants

UMSIC is an EU funded project in collaboration with following parties.

  • University of Oulu
  • University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
  • University of Zurich, Institute of Psychology, Switzerland
  • University of Jyväskylä
  • Systema Technologies S.A, Greece
  • Institute of Education, University of London, UK
  • Nokia Multimedia CP Oulu