The "Partnership in Neuroscience Education" will create collections of multimedia resources on specific issues that relate to modern neuroscience research, neurological health and health literacy. The multimedia pieces include high definition video animation of peripheral and central nervous system cells and tissues presented in digital dome planetariums. Shows will also be produced as DVDs, companion video games and interactive media for museum kiosks. Aspects of the stories will be crafted into interactive eBook stories with logic and branching scenarios that teach the user about the fundamental principles and mechanisms of the nervous system. The topics that we plan to develop include, but are not limited, to the following: (1) Pain - something that everyone experiences, but almost no one understands how and where it comes from. (2) Learning and Memory in relationship to both childhood development and healthy insights into the needs of the functioning brain, including sleep. (3) Interactions of the Immune System and the Nervous System. The partnership is realized by the synergistic, coordinated activity of three distinct groups: (A) museums and schools, (B) intellectual partners, (C) production partners. (A) The new project will include the Carnegie Science Center, joined by Winchester Thurston Independent School (enrollment 650) and Pittsburgh Public Schools (enrollment 29,000, nearly 60% African American), as well as special resources like the "Science Rocks" Mobile Lab (CTSI/CTSA). While complex health and science learning goals are typically studied in middle school, we have found that younger students are very capable of understanding and appreciating the underlying fundamental principles when presented in a manner that is both accessible and meaningful to the child. We believe that building a stronger fundamental understanding of neuroscience early on will dramatically enhance the learning that can be achieved later in middle school. (B) The intellectual and medical partnership include the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (a CTSA);Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne University and the Center for Pain Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Additional colleagues from the Duquesne University School of Education, the Liberal Arts College Department of Multimedia, and the Center for Health Care Ethics will participate. Colleagues from the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh will also contribute their expertise. (C) The production partnership includes our staff of multimedia experts and the Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University. An external advisory committee will provide oversight and guidance. Independent evaluators including Rockman et al will work with us to contribute formative and summative evaluations of audience knowledge and attitudes, as well as a small-scale randomized-control trial.
The films, games and eBooks that we produce will foster student interest and continued participation in reading and research regarding neuroscience and the biology of the brain. By letting young people and the public at- large have access to understandable, yet cutting edge-science, we will show them that they can fully grasp what may have seemed incomprehensible. The relevance of this increased understanding is that it will lead to an increase in confidence - confidence not only for understanding biomedical subject matter, but also confidence to talk with one's physician, confidence to be a health literacy advocate, and confidence to develop a career path in medicine and science.