Sample media work
1) Helping Parents Manage Children’s Video Game Play
When many parents think of video games, they picture a time-wasting child plunked on the sofa, or a teen entranced by violent images and blasting away with a game controller. These images are at odds with the reality that electronic games are a normal part of modern childhood. Video and computer games (even ones not labeled “educational”) can be a social, intellectual or emotional boost. As with other media, electronic games have their downsides; to maximize benefits and limit risks, parents must be savvy consumers and help their children develop good habits.
To reframe the perception of video games, and give parents specific, useful guidance, we produced a series of seven research-based videos.
With funding from the game company Activision|Blizzard, the videos will be distributed via the Internet in the U.S., and dubbed into multiple languages for overseas distribution.
Video topics were selected based on our previous focus group research with parents, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. These include concerns about setting limits and choosing appropriate games; using games to teach; effects of games on friendships and social skills; concerns about violent game content; playing games over the Internet; problems with game overuse; and encouraging young gamers to get up off the sofa and exercise. (Download printable page with links 430K pdf)
2) Brainlink: Promoting Science Literacy Through Local TV News and the Web
Brainlink was a public education project funded by a Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (Lawrence Kutner, principal investigator; Cheryl K. Olson, coinvestigator). The goal of Brainlink was to increase scientific literacy – particularly as it relates to neuroscience, drug abuse and addiction – by researching, producing and distributing innovative educational programs to local news viewers and to journalists, through existing but largely untapped distribution channels. The Brainlink project was designed for people who don’t typically seek out science programs, through a medium they already use: local television news broadcasts…. [read more or watch videos]
3) A Video-Based Curriculum to Help Teens Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles, and Become Successful Adults
For much of the last century, the teen years were seen as a time of stress and rebellion. Researchers and parents focused on how to minimize or cope with problems until teens grew out of them. But recent research suggests that severe turmoil is not the norm for adolescents, and that however oddly teens may dress or talk, they generally share their parents’ values. This changing view has been accompanied by a new focus on building on strengths (sometimes called “positive youth development”), and teaching or reinforcing skills and attitudes that lead to adult success.
Research suggests that several skills are key to teen thriving:
- Selection: Choosing positive goals that lead you to success
- Optimization: developing the strategies or recruiting financial, physical or social resources needed to achieve those goals
- Compensation: learning how to change your behavior when your path is blocked or your strategies fail; this may include modifying your goal or choosing a new one based on changed circumstances.
With funding from the Thrive Foundation for Youth, the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University is developing methods for measuring and teaching these S-O-C life skills to middle- and high-school youth. To give the concepts a more meaningful name, S-O-C has been recast as GPS : Goal selection, Pursuit of Strategies, and Shifting gears. The GPS project includes a mentor-guided curriculum designed for flexible use in youth clubs and afterschool programs, over multiple days or weeks—allowing time for youth to understand concepts, and to practice and master skills.
To support this effort, the Institute asked me to assist in the creation of curriculum evaluation plans and tools. I’m also producing a dozen brief documentary-style videos intended to connect mentor-guided lessons to real-life examples… [read more and watch videos]
4) Sample media interviews:
- The Diane Rehm Show (WAMU/NPR)
- CNN Headline News