Middle School Media Literacy for Reproductive Health

Period of Performance: 09/25/2009 - 03/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed project will involve the development of a prototype for a prevention program that focuses on teaching media literacy skills to middle school students for the purpose of enhancing adolescents'decision-making skills to prevent early sexual behaviors and teen pregnancy. The 10-lesson program will consist of a Teachers Manual including goals and objectives for each lesson, lesson scripts, ad and media examples, class handouts, homework assignments, additional resources, and skill-based evaluation tools. In addition, the final program will include a DVD with 10 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 middle schools, as well as after school, faith- based, and community-based programs. Program development in Phase I will consist of Program Development team members along with media literacy and health educators developing the Scope and Sequence of the program and the first five prototypic lessons. Two methods will be used to gather feedback for the revision process: 1) middle school students participating in four focus groups, and 2) two public middle school teachers and two educators in afterschool programs piloting the five lessons in their classrooms. These methods will provide feedback about the format, goals, and content of the program, feasibility of disseminating the proposed program in middle school settings, and feasibility of the program's effectiveness. 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. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Media literacy education is an effective approach for the prevention of many risk behaviors, including early sexual behaviors. The purpose of this project is to complete and evaluate an easy-to use, attractive, research- based preventive intervention program for use with middle 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.