Substance Use Prevention Media Literacy High School Curriculum

Period of Performance: 04/01/2008 - 03/31/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Innovation Research and Training, Inc.
Durham, NC 27713
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed project will complete the development of and empirically test a program that focuses on teaching media literacy and media advocacy skills to high school students for the purpose of reducing their intent to use and current use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The 18-lesson program will consist of a Teachers Manual including goals and objectives for each lesson, lesson scripts, class handouts, homework assignments, additional resources, and skill-based evaluation tools. In addition, the program will include a DVD with 18 multimedia PowerPoint-like presentations with integrated video and audio clips that are designed to be used while teaching each lesson. The program will be designed for use in a range of educational settings including public and private high schools, and juvenile justice, after school, faith-based, and community-based programs. Program development in Phase I consisted of media literacy and substance abuse scientists, and substance abuse prevention specialists across the country completing a web-based survey to guide the creation of the program Scope and Sequence and the first three prototypic lessons. Three methods were used to gather feedback for the revision process 1) high school students participated in three focus groups, 2) three media literacy and education experts provided a written critique, and 3) a public high school teacher piloted the three lessons in each of her three 9th grade health classes. These groups provided feedback about the format, goals, and content of the curriculum as well as the feasibility of disseminating the proposed program with high school students. Consumer satisfaction ratings from the teenage focus group participants, expert reviewers, and the pilot teacher were extremely positive suggesting that the program prototype was promising, and ready for further development, completion, and evaluation. Thus, the present application proposes two primary goals including: (1) completion of all program components including the curriculum as well as supplemental program and evaluation materials, followed by pilot teaching of the program in two high school, health education classes, and (2) execution of an experiment with random assignment of high school teachers to intervention and wait-list control groups to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in changing the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and increasing media literacy-related critical thinking skills of students. The potential commercial applications of this research include the creation of an easy-to-use, attractive, effective preventive intervention program and teacher training workshops that can be adopted in a wide range of educational settings. Project Narrative: Media literacy and advocacy training are effective interventions for changing substance abuse outcomes. The purpose of this project is to complete and evaluate an easy-to use, attractive, research-based preventive intervention program for use with high school teachers and students that utilizes active learning methods. The curriculum will be designed to be flexible for delivery by educators working in public, private, or home schools as well as by health educators or youth group leaders of faith-based, after school, or community-based programs. This project will result in the development of a commercially available, teacher-friendly, educational tool with empirically-tested results.