Assessment of an Interactive Internet Program to Educate Children Aged 7 - 9 about Science, the Brain and Drugs

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DOI: 10.4236/ce.2013.411097    5,403 Downloads   8,248 Views  Citations
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ABSTRACT

BrainTrain4Kids.com is an interactive science Internet program for children aged 7 - 9 developed with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Based on NIDA’s classroom curriculum, Brain Power!, we adapted and expanded this material to optimize online media. The primary objective of the curriculum is to provide an early foundation for drug abuse prevention efforts by educating elementary school-aged children about the brain and how alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can harm it. Secondary aims include improving knowledge, appreciation for scientific inquiry, and improving/sustaining a positive attitude towards science. The program employs engaging and entertaining elements including Flashbased activities and educational games. Assessment of the program occurred using a two-group, randomized case/control pre/post trial with a crossover design using a convenience sample. Child participants (N = 102) from control and case groups had similar knowledge and attitudes towards science at baseline. At post-intervention, there was a significant increase in knowledge scores for the case group; this increase was retained at the six-week follow-up. Case group attitudes towards science were more positive immediately after post-intervention than at baseline, and at follow up than at baseline. BrainTrain4Kids can be an effective tool for educating children about science and drugs, and has the potential to positively impact attitudes. It can be used as a part of a drug abuse prevention program either in schools or at home.

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Metcalf, M. (2013). Assessment of an Interactive Internet Program to Educate Children Aged 7 - 9 about Science, the Brain and Drugs. Creative Education, 4, 683-693. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.411097.

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