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Printed by www.postersession.com Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) in the Schools: Could the Use of Technology Increase Knowledge Among Youth in K-12 Classrooms?

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Presentation on theme: "Printed by www.postersession.com Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) in the Schools: Could the Use of Technology Increase Knowledge Among Youth in K-12 Classrooms?"— Presentation transcript:

1 printed by www.postersession.com Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) in the Schools: Could the Use of Technology Increase Knowledge Among Youth in K-12 Classrooms? Amanda D. Gordon (George Mason University) Mandidawn.gordon@gmail.com Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) in the Schools: Could the Use of Technology Increase Knowledge Among Youth in K-12 Classrooms? Amanda D. Gordon (George Mason University) Mandidawn.gordon@gmail.com Teen pregnancy rates have started to rise again since 2006, and approximately 4 million teens contract a sexually transmitted disease each year. Comprehensive sex education programs strive to lower these numbers by giving age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a variety of topics related to sexual health including human development, relationships, decision-making, abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention. The aim of this review is to examine the current knowledge about how teachers are using technology in their comprehensive sex education classrooms and the types of new media that are being used outside of the classroom that could potentially inform classroom practices. The research showed very little in terms of how technology is used within the four walls of a classroom. Therefore, I have included suggestions for improvement such as ways in which outside technology could be used effectively inside the classroom to increase knowledge among students. Also, a model is proposed regarding how parents, teachers and technology might work together to keep youth better informed in terms of sexual health. Comprehensive sex education and abstinence-only education are both defined clearly defined to help the reader understand the type of classroom environment that is being examined. Based on the research, it appears that there are possible benefits of outside technology being used in the classroom environment such as youth becoming better informed, accessing information to free clinics and counseling services, creating a safe environment and feeling less shameful and/or embarrassed. By integrating outside new media into a CSE classroom, the issue of messages being unsupervised and unfiltered might be reduced because the activities would be supervised by the teacher. Also, new media, as well as parents, can assist the teachers with their instruction. Therefore, a new model is proposed that encompasses all three of these elements (see Figure 1 below). It is based on Banduras Social Cognitive Theory (1986) which states that part of an individuals knowledge acquisition is directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, personal experiences and media influences. More information is needed in how technology would need to be tailored appropriately for a classroom, and interventions would need to be done to determine the level of effectiveness these new media tools would have in increasing the knowledge among youth. This is a complex project as teachers, students, parents, and the community should all be working together to increase the success of these interventions. Also, more research is needed in how to accurately measure technology used outside of a classroom. Technology Inside the Classroom: When used appropriately, technology can enhance learning when used to support both the teacher and the students in a classroom environment (Lajoie & Azevedo, 2006). There are various ways that technology can be used in a CSE classroom, but it should be well developed to have the positive impact that is desired among teachers. Currently, schools that implement comprehensive sex education in a K- 12 classroom have a set curriculum that the teachers should follow. The curriculum typically consists of multiple lesson plans along with traditional school activities such as small group discussions, contests, making posters, watching videos, playing games, demonstrations (e.g., how to use a condom, negotiating skills), advice columns, cooking meals, craft projects, and role play (Coyle, Kirby, Robin, Banspach, Baumler, & Glassman, 2006; Kasen & Tropp, 2003; Basen-Enquist et al., 2001; Main, Iverson, McGloin, Banspach, Collins, Rugg, and Kolbe, 1994). Based on the typical activities that are currently being used in the classroom, it appears that technology is not a primary part of the school-based CSE programs that are currently being implemented or that there simply is not much research in this area. One example of technology that is being used inside the realm of conventional classroom activities is Second Life. Second Life, a user-created 3D virtual program, seeks to enhance existing curricula and develop new models that will promote collaborative learning among students. Second Lifes virtual learning space allows students to work together and then return as a team or on their own (http://www.secondlife.com). Through the use of avatars, students are able to take on various roles in their virtual worlds that can increase their understanding in the physical world. Multiple institutions are currently using Second Life for distance learning, presentations and discussions, historical recreations, simulations and role-playing, multimedia and game design, and to practice learning a new language (http://www.secondlife.com). In 2007, Jefferson University, along with Britains University of Plymouth, used Second Life to develop a community that could educate youth about contraception and overall sexual health (Paquet, 2007). However, no information was found past 2007 in terms of how successful it was in increasing knowledge among youth. Technology Outside of the Classroom: Technology has changed the way that youth see the world. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (2010), on average, youth between the ages of 11 and 14 get almost 12 hours of media exposure and over 8 hours of media use per day. Due to the increase of technological avenues, this could be an opportunity for youth to have fewer misconceptions about issues concerning sexual health as well as more information as to where to seek youth-friendly services. Therfore, it appears that new media can aid in keeping youth better informed when used correctly. The use of new media in informing youth about sexual health focuses on shared information, content distribution, community, and activism. Also, two- way communication is important as the most effective method of communication as opposed to one-way communication, or received knowledge. This keeps youth engaged actively engaged in their knowledge acquisition. This is, by no means, an exhaustive review of all of the technology available for youth in terms of teen pregnancy and STI prevention but does highlight some of the most popular forms of new media that are being used. There are various forms of new media that exist in the outside world ranging from SMS text messaging, social networking sites, and widgets and apps to video sharing sites, online games and podcasts. SMS text messaging offers a cheap, easy and instant way for people to talk and for many youth, text messaging has taken the place of email (Lenhart, 2009). Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH), was developed to deliver contraceptive information to women and men in Africa through text messaging. The project will be piloted in 2010, but mostly positive feedback was received from women and men in Tanzania and Kenya in terms of how the messages would be received. However effectiveness cannot be determined until time of completion (LEngle & Vahdat, 2009). The BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line, the first of its kind in the United States, was developed by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC). Teens simply send a text message with their question and a staff member will provide an answer within 24 hours that is medically accurate, confidential, nonjudgmental, and free. Also, SexINFO is a sexual health text message service in San Francisco that offers information about sexual health, relationships and referrals to clinical services (Levine, McCright, Dobkin, Woodruff, & Klausner, 2008). Online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years as a source for youth to find information about sexual health. They offer users a way to set up a network by linking to other peoples profiles. A profile contains personal information such as pictures, interests, and other statistics to reflect a persons personality (Levine, 2009). Once a profile is created, users are connected to a larger network. Users can then communicate through status updates, blogs, and notes. Some social networking sites also have instant messaging options that allow users to communicate in real time. Online social networks have provided an alternative to email for many young people in addition to text messaging. Widgets and apps are small software programs typically developed by engineers that can be embedded within a social networking profile (app) or social networking profiles and website pages (widget). For the purpose of offering health information, widgets and apps have the potential to increase sharing of content and information between peers (Levine, 2009). One example of a Facebook app is Sexpert, created by 15 and Counting. It has a quiz to test youths knowledge about sexual health and provides overall health information. Video sharing sites such as YouTube allows users to upload and stream digital videos for others to see, comment on, tag with keywords and rate as favorites (Levine, 2009). For example, Teensource.org has approximately 35 videos posted on YouTube that address various issues of sexual health. Online games can be used as study guides and to teach better collaboration, critical thinking, and deductive skills. The interactive environments have also been shown to motivate learning among young people (Levine, 2009). RePlay: Finding Zoe is an online game that encourages healthy relationships and challenges young peoples views on violence and unhealthy relationships. Lastly, a podcast is an internet-based audio and/or video file that can be downloaded. They are often used for self-guided tours, music, talk shows, trainings, storytelling and advocacy (Levine, 2009). Sex. Really: The Show is a podcast created by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The podcasts are updated every couple of weeks and cover a broad range of sexual health information. As previously mentioned, text messaging and online social networks have more or less taken place of email (Lenhart, 2009). In 2006, around 55% of online teens between the ages of 12 and 17 had a profile on a social networking site. 57% of online teens watch videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube, approximately 96% of youth play online games, and 19% of teens download podcasts (Lenhart, Madden, Macgill, & Smith, 2007). It is apparent that youth are actively involved in new media, and these numbers will only increase as technology becomes more advanced. Every year a group of health and technology professionals come together with youth, parents and community leaders to advance sexual health for youth in San Francisco. The conference is called SexTech, and is presented by Internet Sexuality Services, Inc., otherwise known as ISIS. ISIS was created in 2001. It is a nonprofit organization that develops technology to foster sexual health and healthy relationships and to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (http://www.isis-inc.org). Some of the benefits of new media for youth include reducing shame or embarrassment, connecting kids to competent adults who have accurate information, creating a trusting environment, and directing to free clinics or counseling services if necessary. However, in addition to the benefits of outside technology, there are also issues that are problematic. Some parents may not allow their children to access information. Also, there is limited control of messages being received and students may not always be receiving the correct information due to these messages being unsupervised and unfiltered. Lastly, one of the biggest issues is that the effectiveness of technology used outside of the classroom is difficult to measure. Basen-Engquist, K., Coyle, K., Parcel, G., Kirby, D., Banspach, S., Carvajal, S., et al. (2001). Schoolwide effects of a multicomponent HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention program for high school students. Health Education & Behavior, 28(2), 166-185. doi: 10.1177/109019810102800204 Key, J., Gebregziabher, M., Marsh, L., & O'Rourke, K. (2008). Effectiveness of an intensive, school-based intervention for teen mothers. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(4), 394-400. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.09.027 Kirby, D. (2007). Emerging Answers 2007: Research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy and sexuallly transmitted diseases. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Macgill, A.R., & Smith, A. (2007, December). Teens and social media. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2007/Teens- and-Social-Media.aspx Levine, D., McCright, J., Dobkin, L., Woodruff, A., & Klausner, J. (2008). SexINFO: A sexual health text messaging service for San Francisco youth. American Journal of Public Health, 98(3), 393-395. Paquet, J. (2007). Healthcare education goes virtual: Jefferson at forefront of technological revolution. Retrieved from http://www.jefferson.edu/jchp/newsinfo/Technological_Revolution.cfm Social Security Online (2010). Compilation of the social security laws: Separate program for abstinence education. Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title05/0510.htm In conclusion, there are various types of technology out there that could potentially be useful in a classroom environment such as SMS text messaging, social networking sites, widgets and apps, video sharing sites, online games and podcasts. The literature showed that new media outside of the classroom has benefits in distributing sexual health to youth such as reducing shame or embarrassment, connecting kids to competent adults who have accurate information, creating a trusting environment, and directing them to free clinics or counseling services if necessary. However it can be problematic as well. Parents may restrict young peoples access to technology, information received could be inaccurate due to limited control of media, and difficulties can surface when trying to measure the effectiveness of technology that is being implemented outside of the classroom. More research is needed to determine how effective curricula could be designed for K-12 classrooms that incorporates new media. Currently, very little technology is being implemented in CSE school-based programs which suggests there is room for improvement. If interventions were created using new media that could be developed inside of a classroom, then distributed information could be controlled and the effectiveness of the technology could possibly be measured. If parents allowed their children to remain in the classroom instead of choosing to opt them out, then more young people could benefit from exposure. Also, a model that includes parents, teachers, and new media could, hypothetically, create more knowledgeable youth. There is more room for open communication when a trusting environment is created that includes an entire community. Two-thirds of single moms are poor and less than half of them finish high school. In addition, a mere 2% of girls who are mothers before their 18 th birthday will finish college before they turn 30 (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2010). Teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school or attend college and more likely to be single parents than teens who delay getting pregnant by just a few years. Children of teen mothers usually grow up in less stimulating households, have lower cognitive development, more behavior problems, worse educational outcomes, and higher rates of being teen mothers or fathers themselves (Hoffman, 2006; Key, Gebregziabher, Marsh, & ORourke, 2008; Kirby, 2007; Maynard, 1997). Not only is teen pregnancy a concern, but the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is also bothersome. One-third of sexually active people become infected with an STD by their 24 th birthday (Kirby, 2007). 6,324 AIDS cases were reported among 13-to-19-year-olds in 2005 alone. STDs can cause infertility, cancer, ectopic pregnancy and other health issues (Aral, 2001; Basen-Engquist, Coyle, Parcel, Kirby, Banspach, Carvajal, & Baumler, 2001; Kirby, 2007). The numbers are alarming and indicate that there is a need to implement sex education programs that are more effective in reducing teen pregnancy and lowering the rate at which teens incur STDs, otherwise known as STIs or sexually transmitted infections. These are the goals that comprehensive sex education (CSE) programs are trying to achieve. The purpose of this review is to examine the following research questions: What is the current knowledge about how teachers are currently using technology in their CSE classrooms? What types of new media exist outside of the classroom that could potentially inform classroom practices? Suggestions for future research are included as well as a brief discussion of the differences between abstinence-only education and comprehensive sex education. Abstract Introduction Discussion of Technology and Educating YouthImplications and Limitations Discussion Key References Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE): These programs contain age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality including human development, relationships, decision-making, abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention (SIECUS, 2010). CSE is research- focused and based on social psychological theory, therefore ensuring that all information presented is factual and has demonstrated effectiveness on some level (Basen-Engquist et al., 2001; Kirby, 2007). It includes abstinence messages, but also provides teens with information about birth control methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STIs (Kohler, Manhart, & Lafferty, 2008). This is important to note when discussing the differences between comprehensive sex education and abstinence-only education. CSE still promotes abstinence as being the safest way to prevent teen pregnancy and STIs. Abstinence-Only Education (AOE): These programs teach (a) the social, psychological, and health gains to be recognized by abstaining from sexual activity as its primary purpose; (b) that abstinence from sexual activity outside of wedlock is the expectation for all school-age youth; (c) that abstinence from sexual activity is the only way to be safe from pregnancy outside of marriage, sexually transmitted diseases, and other connected health problems; (d) that a faithful monogamous relationship between a married couple is the expected standard of sexual activity; (e) that sexual activity outside of marriage will most likely have unsafe psychological and physical side effects; (f) that having children outside of marriage will most likely have negative consequences for the child, the parents and society; (g) young people how to say no to sexual advances and how the use of alcohol and drugs increase vulnerability to sexual advances; (h) the importance of obtaining self-sufficiency before participating in sexual activity (Social Security Online). Abstinence-Only Education (AOE) vs. Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) Knowledgeable Student Parental involvement Teacher instruction New Media Figure 1. How a Student Can Acquire Knowledge about Comprehensive Sex Education


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