Drama, because of its evocative nature, can influence change processes in ways that statistical computations cannot. In a drama process three different parts interact in the creation of meaning; introduction/preparation, acting in role and reflection. These parts are also part of a qualitative research process. A particular topic (question, theme in this instance bullying ) which is explored. Inquiry is realized in action and inquiry is thus an activity including thoughts, body and emotions. The creation of a context together with the participants may open up new possibilities for understanding and interpretation. Children if they have ownership of what they do and feel as if they can achieve it they will thrive. Children live practical experience, they play and they think more when situations are presented to them they have to solve. If they do it in a practical way where they have to physically react they will be able to handle life with more confidence. The research methodologies are based upon a “Plan-Act-Observe-Reflect cycle” or “spiral process which alternates between action and critical reflection.” Action research:“….tries to work towards effective action through good processes and appropriate participation. It tries also to collect adequate data, and interpret it well. At its best, action research is done so that the action and the research enhance each other.” There are possibilities to use drama-based research method as an integral part in group-interviews. One aim would be to deliver a small piece of drama around bullying, following research with young people themselves and if possible including them in the content design too. This would include the usual follow on workshops to explore and discuss these issues with teachers, parents etc. Another aim is a participatory drama workshop which explores the issues of bullying in primary and secondary schools and raises awareness of the issue amongst young people. Throughout the workshop scenes are played to the audience (which could be other children in school, parents, teachers); they are then given the chance to react to as a bystander. In groups the young people come up with their own ideas to challenge the bullying. After making suggestions on what a bystander could have done to improve the situation, audience members are invited on stage to enact that suggestion to explore how effective such a strategy might be and this is then discussed with the audience. This can in fact be delivered as a whole school approach, providing a range of strategies for dealing with bullying and empowering participants by building confidence and raising awareness in the whole school community. The drama will allow students to “rehearse for life” by viewing possible situations creatively, trying out strategies and helping all stakeholders to defuse the negative and unproductive behaviours associated with bullying. It would be essential for the groups to develop contracts which could be re visited on a set time basis as a measure to monitor the effectiveness of the anti-bullying intervention. The structure might look like: In this project we have deliberately chosen to pay less attention to the offenders. Whilst the problem of “violent behaviour” is too complex and broad to resolve in such a short project, we aim to raise awareness and self confidence of the participants to deal with incidents of violence. Even though we do not pay specific attention to the offenders, we still think that the project will have a preventive effect on a specific group of potential aggressors. Not those regarded as specific problem cases, but on the larger group of people who are more susceptible to peer pressure.

Reporting mobile app & cloud based adaptive game

Our aim is to create an app for use on mobile technologies that can be used by young people, teachers and parents to:

  • raise awareness of cyber bullying and other forms of bullying
  • to monitor and log anonymously the frequency and content of cyber bullying
  • to take away the fear factor of reporting cyber bullying to adults (parents, teachers, members of family, etc) through the development of a bullying log, which will in turn provide ongoing detailed research data at local school level.
  • provide a positive way in which mobile technologies can be used to address bullying
  • to offer work shops to teachers and parents on how to use the app, and encourage them to support their young people in logging and reporting bullying
  • to promote the app as a new free resource to be downloaded on to hand held technologies, by making it available through a number of channels. The web, mobile web, native iOS and Android and potentially others.
  • to log its use by users (young people, teachers, parents, others) and collect relevant data

We will create a separate stand-alone application that will allow pupils to report incidences of bullying with type and circumstance as a bullying log. The game content is broken down hierarchically into topics, facts (learning objects) and questions. These are stored in a relational database hosted in an EU data centre or with a safe-harbour approved provider. The game selects questions based on the users mastery of the topic and facts to give a personalised learning experience tailored to the individual. In terms of reporting the system stores every individual response from users and tracks mastery through the facts and topics. This enables a learners understanding and progress to be monitored over time as well as in comparison to other individuals. At a higher label it is possible to analyse cross sections of learners by location, demographic, age, gender, school or arbitrary tags as required. The reporting app will use a secondary data store and have a different access point but would meet the same stringent security standards as the Q&A system. In this way the app become a real time research tool.