A text alternative is available at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/resources/links/Pages/transcript_050713-MSY-spotlight-BPM.aspx.
"The kids love Media-Smart Youth."
Media-Smart Youth Facilitator, YMCA of Coastal Georgia
Watch as Media-Smart Youth program facilitators share their experiences using the curriculum, offer suggestions on how to teach the program in different settings, and undertake the program's concluding media project—the Big Production—including ideas for finding a media partner to help participants with their project.
A text alternative is available at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/resources/links/Pages/transcript_050713-MSY-spotlight-VOE.aspx
How Was Media-Smart Youth Developed?
Media-Smart Youth underwent a thoughtful and deliberate development process, with extensive review and testing. The initial draft was pilot-tested, extensively revised, pilot-tested again, and further refined. This development process resulted in the first release of the curriculum in October 2005. Subsequent feedback led to development of the Media-Smart Youth Guide for Training Program Facilitators.
Media-Smart Youth was selected as one of four youth curricula included in We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition). We Can! is a nationwide education program that aims to help youth stay at a healthy weight by encouraging improved food choices, increased physical activity, and reduced screen time (time spent sitting in front of a TV or computer).
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) conducted a 10-site pilot test with more than 275 youth. This pilot phase was very valuable in developing and refining the Media-Smart Youth curriculum. The youth-serving organizations that participated in the pilot phase are listed below. (Note: Some organizations had more than one pilot site):
- Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council, North Branch, Rolling Hills, New Jersey
- Latin American Youth Center, Washington, D.C.
- Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago, Illinois
- Spartanburg Terrace Tenants Association/Save the Children, Spartanburg, South Carolina
- Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, Long Island City, New York
- YMCA of Westfield, Westfield, New Jersey
The youth and the adult facilitators and program directors for these sites provided weekly feedback as they used the Media-Smart Youth curriculum. Their input and advice helped to shape the curriculum during every phase of development.
Expert Discussion Panel
NICHD sponsored the Youth and Media Expert Discussion in June 2009 to bring together researchers and experts to discuss the role of the media in young people's lives, particularly new media, such as social networking sites, blogs, and text messages. The meeting's goals were to:
- Find out what types of media young people are using and how they're using them.
- Learn what kinds of advertising are most prevalent in these types of media.
- Find out how the ability to generate content in new media might influence the way we teach media literacy in the Media-Smart Youth program.
The presentations and discussions helped inform later revisions to the program.
Media-Smart Youth Program Evaluation
In January 2009, the NICHD completed an in-depth evaluation of Media-Smart Youth to assess how the curriculum can be implemented in an after-school program environment and to measure the program outcomes among the youth who participated.
The NICHD conducted the evaluation of Media-Smart Youth using a randomized group experimental design. Pairs of schools with after-school programs were matched according to socioeconomic status of the schools' communities and were randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control group.
Program Evaluation Results
"The change in the kids after they go through this program is incredible."
Media-Smart Youth Facilitator, Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis
Results indicated that, compared to youth who did not participate in the program, youth who participated in Media-Smart Youth showed:
- A statistically significant increase in knowledge and skills in nutrition, physical activity, media awareness, and media analysis
- A trend toward positive intention to change behavior in the next month by making more healthy choices, such as doing more weight-bearing activities, eating fewer high-fat snacks, and eating or drinking more foods with calcium
Learn More About the Evaluation
The Media-Smart Youth Program Evaluation Fact Sheet provides a concise description of the evaluation design, the findings, and comments from Media-Smart Youth facilitators around the country about the program's impact.
Read the Media-Smart Youth Program Evaluation Report (PDF - 1.5 MB) to get an in-depth look at the evaluation methods, data analysis, and results.
Lessons Learned from the Media-Smart Youth Grantees in 2013
The NICHD conducted an evaluation of the 10 sites that pilot tested the upgraded Media-Smart Youth program in 2013. Below are lessons learned during the program's implementation. You can view and download the evaluation report's executive summary (PDF - 260 KB) as well as the entire evaluation report (PDF – 768 KB) to learn more.
Grantees recommended the following practices when implementing the program:
- When planning for the program, allow for additional time to facilitate the pre- and post-curriculum assessment surveys and for creating the Big Production. Some grantees suggested that having 11 or 12 sessions instead of 10 would have worked better. Others suggested that having the pre-curriculum assessment survey filled out prior to the first session would be ideal.
- Consider integrating the program into the normal school day and/or determine how you will compete with other after-school activities to recruit and attract up to 15 youth for the program. This could include leveraging established contacts at partner organization sites and showing the value of the program in broader terms (e.g., in addition to learning about health, nutrition, and media, the program also offers career exploration opportunities if media professionals serve as partners).
- Use video clips from the curriculum DVD to promote the program when presenting it to potential partners and participants.
- If there is interest in posting the videos of the Big Production on a website or sharing them with the NICHD, hand out the parent permission forms with the MSY Program registration/enrollment forms. This will increase the likelihood that you will receive them back.
- Consider in advance if there are potential partner organizations for the Big Production, such as drama schools, television stations, or production companies. Establish these relationships at the outset of the program so you can incorporate the partner into the entire curriculum and not just in the final session.
- Determine at the beginning if the program will take any field trips, and organize the logistics for those trips prior to the start of the program.
- Offer incentives for program attendance (e.g., raffle).
- Adapt to any number of circumstances (e.g., tailoring Action Breaks to match participants' ages and maturity levels, engaging older teens to guide younger participants).
- Recognize that the prep time each week (making the handouts, shopping for the materials and food, etc.) can take up to 3 hours each week, and make sure the moderator has planned accordingly.
- Modify snacks according to your budget, access to certain foods, and preparation time available.
- Lower transportation costs by walking to and from field trips and seeking bus discounts.
- Borrow equipment and facilities for program activities from partners.
- Obtain access to media production equipment to help improve the student experience; many middle schools offer this equipment in-house and may be willing to allow students access.
- Find venues to showcase the Big Productions if permission can be secured (e.g., on YouTube, Facebook pages, morning announcements at schools); it can be a way to demonstrate the value of the program to participants.
- Identify ways to tailor the curriculum to make it relevant and interesting to your youth.
We also heard from a handful of sites that some parents were interested in how they could be engaged in the program. One option for sites to consider to engage parents in the program is to offer other We Can! programs that occur simultaneously with MSY sessions.
Program coordinators offered the following suggestions to future coordinators:
- Secure initial buy-in from staff during the application submission stage.
- Recruit youth already enrolled in established after-school programs.
- Engage community partners—from nonprofit organizations to businesses.
- Train staff members sufficiently so that they embrace the program.
- Tie MSY lessons into existing programming.
- Offer the program as part of a school-based curriculum.
- Hire individuals with experience teaching youth.
- Engage at least two adults for each program session, such as a facilitator and a helper.
Program facilitators offered the following suggestions to future facilitators:
- Be flexible and therefore prepared to adapt and change.
- Know your audience.
- Sustain participants' attention—a challenging prospect with the middle school population.
- Bring your own personal energy and excitement to the content.
- Focus most of the lessons on fun, interactive, and hands-on activities that encourage participants to move.
- Invite participants to take part in self-initiated activities with plenty of room for creativity.
- Observe the implementation of the program at another site, if possible.
- Plan ahead by obtaining needed materials and supplies in advance.
- Buy snacks in bulk.
- Factor in plenty of time to review the lessons and materials as well as to prepare food for snack time, before the lesson day.
- Confirm attendance prior to each lesson.
- Start working on the Big Production earlier.
- Involve and engage parents/guardians as much as possible.
We also suggest that program coordinators and facilitators take plenty of photographs of the MSY youth engaging in MSY activities (if parents have granted permission), as well as of the materials developed during the MSY Program. Photographs are helpful when seeking funding, making presentations, and promoting the program.
Media-Smart Youth Program grantees named numerous organizations within their local communities that assisted them in implementing the program that might prove to be good potential partners for other sites. These included:
- After-school sites and programs
- Boys & Girls Clubs
- Community-based organizations
- Community gardens
- Girl Scout troops
- Grocery stores
- Health departments
- Homeless shelters
- Housing Authority
- Media production companies
- Middle schools and their faculty and staff
- Municipal government
- Radio stations
- Recording studios
- Recreation centers
- Social services agencies
- Television stations
- Universities and community colleges
- YMCA affiliates
- Youth camps
Media-Smart Youth Updated: What's New
The updated second edition of Media-Smart Youth, released in 2013, retains all the elements that made the first edition successful and includes a few new features, such as:
- Digital media information in the discussions and activities
- All the latest federal nutrition and physical activity guidelines
- Tips for Media-Smart Parents (PDF - 311 KB) handouts for each lesson, which complement the take-home sheets for youth and offer parents and guardians an opportunity to learn alongside their children
- New resources and tips in the appendices