Rice University Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning, with the support of CBS Consumer Products Division and content experts, will create two new web-based forensic "cases" dealing with prescription drug abuse. The proposed research addresses the science education focus of NIDA to "expand the use of scientific information to educate the public about the real nature of drug abuse and addiction." It is also in-line with the "educate to innovate" campaign promoting the use of popular media to heighten interest in STEM careers. To facilitate classroom use of the online materials and to appeal to the larger public, the content will be aligned with middle school science curriculum. A recent nationwide field test revealed that playing the existing CSI WEB ADVENTURES (forensics.rice.edu) increases science knowledge promotes science self-identity and motivates players to consider STEM careers. Thus, the new NIDA-funded web adventures will be a powerful tool to educate adolescents about the science associated with prescription drug abuse. CSI-NIDA: FORENSIC WEB ADVENTURES TO TEACH ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE has four primary goals: 1. Create two web-based cases (CSI-NIDA WEB ADVENTURES) that will increase middle school students'science knowledge about the biological effects of prescription drug abuse by directly incorporating content aligned with the National Science Standards. 2. Model science process skills and portray a wide variety of science careers to increase science self-identity and to increase motivation to engage in STEM careers. 3. Evaluate and modify the two new CSI-NIDA WEB ADVENTURES based upon the results of rigorous field tests and publish the results in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences/professional meetings. 4. Encourage widespread use of the CSI-NIDA WEB ADVENTURES through aggressive dissemination in conjunction other related educational websites/social media and by monitoring of the web traffic feedback.
This project will address the goals of NIDA through the production of two online web adventures targeting middle school students and dealing with the abuse of prescription drugs. The objectives are to teach the science behind drug abuse and, simultaneously, inspire STEM careers by exposing players to virtual apprenticeships within the context of a forensic investigation. Much of the content will be devoted to topics in neuroscience and the effects of prescription drugs on other human body systems.