Asia: Preventing AIDS Through Animation
January 3, 2008
A doctoral student worked with her advisors at Stanford University's School of Education and with overseas physicians to create an animated tutorial to teach young Asians about HIV/AIDS. Offered in separate versions targeting youths in India and in the rest of Asia, the program uses the occasion of a student's visit to the doctor to give the facts about the disease.
"This is a way you can teach about AIDS education without being so sexually explicit, so it fits abstinence-only curriculum," said Piya Sorcar, who began working on the project in summer 2006. On a visit to India, she found that while students were exposed to many prevention messages, the facts were not getting through. For instance, having learned that fluids can transmit HIV, "students were scared of all fluids. So they were scared of water, and they were scared of saliva," Sorcar said.
Sorcar examined the latest research on how people learn to change their behavior. Acting on a suggestion by a Korean business person, she sought and received support from the South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology, which put her in touch with local doctors and animators.
The curriculum is now part of Sorcar's doctoral work, and she continues to refine it with input from focus groups. More than 90 percent of 423 Indian students who viewed it said they learned more from it than from AIDS instruction in school or on TV.
Sorcar next wants to encourage students to share the tutorials through social networking Web sites, and she hopes to make them available via cell phones -- a critical step, since many people in the developing world lack access to computers.
To view the materials, visit www.interactiveteachingaids.org.
Palo Alto Weekly (Calif.)
01.01.2008; Arden Pennell
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