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Usability of Music for Social Inclusion of Children (UMSIC)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 31 Aug 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of this multidisciplinary and trans-national SandT project is to develop and use up-to-date technology in a coordinated, intelligent and accessible way to support 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. From their first school year, such children are at risk of less than optimal functioning in many areas related to school success unless their needs are recognised and addressed. Low academic achievement, in turn, is one of the most significant individual risk factors of marginalization. Furthermore, there is a growing body of neurological and related research evidence that the promotion of early competences in music and language are interwoven and can affect positively children's emotional, social, and intellectual development. Although ICT applications for special educational purposes have been increasingly developed, any serious attempts to design ICT-based, user sensitive learning environments for musical creativity and social sharing of music do not yet exist. Consequently, in the proposed UMSIC project, the system is developed to open interactive environments for children to communicate informally with their peers by using familiar modern technologies. With a special impact on child-centered usability, intelligent musical engineering and carefully developed pedagogical design allied to structured learning material, the system 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.
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