Both Low-tech and High-tech Learning Tools Can Educate Teens

Educating teens with reading materials may work just as well as using movies and other audio-visual aids, according to a new study from Yale University.

Lead researcher Dr. Richard Antaya gave 101 teenagers educational materials in the form of either reading materials or computerized audio-visual presentations. Patients took tests after going over the materials and were re-tested one month later. While Dr. Antaya had posited that the audio-visual materials would be a better match in teaching the material to teens, both groups actually scored about the same.

This study appears in the Archives of Dermatology.

Most Libraries Feature Video Games, Tournaments for Teens

More public libraries all over the country are trying to lure teenagers by offering video games, according to the Young Adult Library Services Association. Next month, more than 1,500 libraries will participate in Teen Tech Week, which highlights non-print materials.

“The games are a way for us to get kids in the door,” said Paula Brehm-Heeger, president of the Association. “There’s a real demand from even the youngest teens to have libraries engage in these kinds of technology-driven programs.”

Scott Nicholson, a professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies, surveyed 400 libraries last year and found that 70 percent supported gaming, 80 percent allowed teens to use library computers to play the games, and 43 percent sponsored tournaments.

TV and Video Games Could Cause Attention and Learning Disorders

Too much time spent watching television and playing video games puts children at risk for attention and learning problems as well as academic failure, according to researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Other research has indicated that watching television may cause lower grades because it takes too much time away from homework and reading. However, this new study, published in the May 2007 issue of Pediatrics, concludes that excessive television watching and video game playing may be a contributing factor in whether a child develops learning and attention disorders.

“Whether teens had existing attention or learning problems or whether they don’t have them, they were at greater risk for later attention and learning problems (if they watched too much television),” according to Dr. Jeffrey G. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson and his team interviewed 678 families three times – when their children were ages 14, 16, and 22 years old. Those fourteen-year-olds who watched three or more hours of television daily were more likely to have attention disorders, be bored at school, have bad grades and drop out of high school.