Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services
Migration involves individuals in serious risks of social exclusion from the information society (Halfman 1998) and thus from social participation more broadly - specifically, within the first few months and years of arrival, language and socio-cultural contexts may fundamentally differ and cause extreme challenges for immigrants with low education and illiteracy. Everywhere/everytime assistance is crucial to immediately support immigrants in necessary information access, to cope with
critical situations. Furthermore, immigrants require support for learning how to progress and to bridge knowledge gaps, to become a productive member of the information society. The EC funded project MASELTOV is developing a mobile service for continuous assistance and investigates the influence of persuasive and affective computing on the individuals motivation for learning. The paper presents MASELTOV's concept of applying digital games, mobile context awareness, and social computing to motivate local community building, to connect immigrants with native citizens and vice versa, in order to foster communication and bridging of cultural differences. Communication at both personal and cultural level will be reinforced where it really matters - in everyday critical situations that profoundly determine the quality of life. Social interaction/help is particularly important in community building and will be supported by services such as geo-social radar functionality. In this way MASELTOV manages all the "approximation steps" that must be taken to achieve a personal goal and that can be supported by a wide range of people who have some understanding and experience of what needs to be done and how to do it. The services will support the development of communication skills, situated learning of the target language and culture, and will prevent cultural hyperghettoisation. The MASELTOV prototypical service implicitly has the potential to scale up to a very large number of end users it will complement Europe's largest online social network for language learning.