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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Wellness on the Web: An applied health literacy lesson Integrating Technology Foundation Standards into a Health Literacy lesson. Technology Fou

Wellness on the Web: An applied health literacy lesson

Integrating Technology Foundation Standards into a Health Literacy lesson.

Technology Foundation Standards

The International Technology Education Association has developed "Standards for Technology Education" through the "Technology for All Americans" project with full support of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) organization. "Standards for Technology Education" provides "Technology Content Standards" which encompass three universals and seven dimensions of technology designed to be incorporated throughout the curriculum (ITEA, 1998).

"Technology Foundations Standards for all Students" provide "guidelines for planning technology based activities in which students achieve success in learning communication and life skills" (ISTE, 1998). "Technology Foundation Standards for Students" include (ISTE, 1998):

1. Basic operations and concepts of the nature and operation of technology systems including proficiency in the use of technology.

2. Social, ethical, and human issues related to the responsible use of technology systems, information, and software including the development of positive attitudes toward technology which supports lifelong learning, collaboration, and productivity.

3. The use of basic productivity tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity while colloborating in the preparation of publications and other creative works.

4. The use of communications tools including telecommunications and other media to communicate information effectively and collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.

5. The use of technology research tools to locate, evaluate, and collect information for a variety of resources; process data and publish results; and evaluate and select new information resources for specific task.

6. Use technology problem solving and decision making tools for "real world" problems.

Health Literacy Standards

According to the National Health Standards Project, Health literacy is "the capacity of individuals to obtain, interpret, and understand basic health information and services, and the competence to use such information and services in ways which enhance health" (ACS, 1998). Four characteristics are essential to health literacy: critical thinking and problem solving, responsible and productive citizenry, self directed learning, and effective communication skills.

The changing need of health and education has resulted in a search for techniques appropriate to a new learning environment. According to the U.S. Department of Education, educational reform "calls for a shift away from organizing instruction around short blocks of time devoted to lecture…toward an emphasis on engaging student in long-term meaningful projects" (Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1995).

Approximately 115 Community college students enrolled in a freshmen Wellness course. Demographics of CFCC would be relevant.

Stage One: Introduction to the Internet

Designed to increase awareness of on-line health resources, teach how to access health related information, and evaluate the source and content of health related web sites.

Class was conducted at the Learning Resource Computer Lab for two 50 minute class sessions. Students were given the following five questions/activities and "teamed" according to previous internet experience. Students without previous on-line experience were seated next to students with experience. Learning resource staff and instructor were available at all times. Questions/Activities consisted of:

1. Name three general search engines on the World Wide Web (WWW)

2. Use a general search engine to find 5 government sponsored health or fitness related web sites. Provide the URL's (Uniform Resource Locations) or web address to each with a brief description of the site.

3. Set up a free account with Medscape ( and research the following disorders. Write a short definition of what the condition/disorder is, how it is treated, and the cause.

A. Alopecia

B. Torticollis

C. Hepatitis B

4. Using the Office of Health Promotions "Health-Related Web Site Evaluation Form" (http://www……….) evaluate 5 general health related information sites and at least one government sponsored health information site.

Findings from this segment:

• Few students were able to distinguish between academic sources of information and company sponsored informericals.

• Most students were unaware "com", "gov", "edu" etcetera, indicates type of institution

• Initially students strongly preferred information presented in a "slick" format resulting in an abundance of "informercial" information sources

• Students complained about the "boredome" and "difficulty" of academic and government sponsored web sites

• Students were inexperienced using on-line database formats for researching health related information.

• Students were often unable to identify the author and "credentials" were almost non-conditionally accepted. "Credentials" consisted of almost any title even if the student could not identify the profession. Other things students listed as credentials: being a student at a major university, linking to information from "official" sources, or even an "official sounding" name. In each of these situations students were more inclined to indicate it was a "good resource".

• Students were unfamiliar with many government sponsored and academic resources including Medscape, National Instititues of Health, Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, etcetera, but were likely to recognize social service organizations represented in the community…Red Cross, American Cancer Organization, etcetera.

A great deal of emphasis has been placed for the need of evaluation tools for health related information, however, if students are unable to distinguish between quality indicators, evaluation measures will remain inadequate for consumer needs.



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