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Projects of Interest to Elementary School Teachers and Children

Analysis of Differing Drug Abuse Education Technologies

Product Developed: a seven-episode series of media tools designed to teach about the science of drug abuse developed in several different formats; a comprehensive teacher's manual that describes how the multimedia programs can be used to extend and enhance standard curriculum instruction

Target Audience: third and fourth grade students

Goal: The Doubles, a seven-episode series of media tools was designed to teach third- and fourth-grade students about the science of drug addiction. The program's curriculum was delivered via either a set of DVDs, interactive CD-ROM, workbooks, or an Internet site to determine the most effective way of teaching about drug abuse. After completion of the grant, Dr. Epstein collaborated with educators to produce a comprehensive teacher's manual that describes how the multimedia programs can be used to extend and enhance standard curriculum instruction.

Publications:

  • The Doubles: The Doubles: A Case Study on Developing a Technology-Based Substance Abuse Education Curriculum. Epstein, J., et al., (2004) Evaluation Review, 28(6), 539-563.
  • The Doubles: Evaluation of a Substance Abuse Education Curriculum for Elementary School Students, Epstein, J., et al., (2007) Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 16(4), 1-22.

Contact: Joel Epstein, Ph.D.
Missouri Institute of Mental Health
joel.epstein@mimh.edu

Comparing Two Multimedia Science of Addiction Courses

Product Developed: moderator's guides and interactive computer program for science of addiction education curriculum

Target Audience: fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students from African American churches

Goal: This grant evaluated the effectiveness of presenting educational materials via traditional instructional techniques versus embedding the curriculum into a narrative story line. Program staff worked closely with substance abuse researchers, curriculum development experts, and members of the clergy to produce scripts that are educationally sound, scientifically accurate, and suitable for presentation within a faith setting. Analysis indicated that children from both experimental groups demonstrated immediate gains, but those who viewed the didactic format retained their knowledge over an eight-month follow-up period.

Churches throughout Missouri have enthusiastically implemented the program. In addition, Dr. Epstein has partnered with Committed Caring Faith Communities to facilitate dissemination. The group has been responsible for disseminating the program across the nation.

Publications:

  • Space Scouts: A Collaboration Between University Researchers and African American Churches, Epstein, J., et al., (2007) Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 6(1), 31-43.
  • A Longitudinal Comparison of Two Versions of an Interactive Multimedia Substance Abuse Education Program, Epstein, et al., (2009) Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, (Vol. 18, Issue 3, PP. 302-321).

Contact: Joel Epstein, Ph.D.
Missouri Institute of Mental Health
joel.epstein@mimh.edu

Gender Differences in Response to Interactive Substance Abuse Education Programs

Product to be Developed: Science-based lessons on drug abuse and addiction in a video-game and a socially collaborative format

Target Audience: fourth and fifth grade students

Goal: This project seeks to determine whether girls and boys respond differently to different formats in educational materials. A science of addiction education program will be developed for fourth and fifth grade students. The program will include a competitive video-game format and socially collaborative format. The project will then test the efficacy of these two formats with boys and girls to determine whether there is a preference among this young audience in the format used for teaching.

Contact: Joel Epstein, Ph.D.
Missouri Institute of Mental Health
joel.epstein@mimh.edu

National Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fairs Partnership

Product Developed: Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fairs

Target Audience: elementary school children - grades 3-6; teachers - grades 3-6

Goal: Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fairs (KJ! Fairs) are "reverse" science fairs where university faculty, postdocs, research staff, graduate and undergraduate students create neuroscience exhibits that are judged by elementary school children (grades 3-6). Each exhibit teaches basic neuroscience concepts to the children in a fun 3D manner that allows the children to explore and sometimes even climb on the exhibit.

Alignment with Standards: National Science Education Standards

Contact: Deborah Colbern, Ph.D.
BEEMNET
colbern@beemnet.com

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