February 4, 2013

News Digest: Testing school-student computerized lessons, ‘Gun Violence: A Public-Health Crisis’ forum tonight

Grade school, junior high students sought for study of computerized lessons
An interdisciplinary research team, led by Virginia Berninger of the University of Washington’s College of Education, is hoping to make classroom instruction more high-tech. The researchers are currently looking for Seattle-area, English-speaking children in grades six and nine to help test computerized lessons in reading, writing and oral language that can be delivered on iPads. In the fall they will seek volunteers in grades five and eight.

“The ultimate goal is to show that the computerized instruction is effective and transportable to schools to help classroom teachers,” Berninger said.

Participants will go to the UW Center for Oral and Written Language Learners for 18 sessions of reading and writing lessons administered on an iPad. If they wish, participants can give a small blood sample that will be tested for genetic variants related to language learning. Those who choose to be in the brain imaging part of the study, which uses magnetic resonance imaging, will receive copies of their own brain scans.

The project is funded by a five-year, $8.1 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Public Health co-hosts “Gun Violence: A Public-Health Crisis” tonight
The University of Washington School of Public Health and Seattle’s Town Hall are co-hosting a forum at 7:30, tonight (Feb. 4) at Town Hall to lay out a public-health approach to gun violence.

Panelists will trace the extent of the problem, explore evidence-based solutions, consider mental-health aspects and new alternatives, discuss new policies in Seattle-King County and Washington state, and consider what each of us can do.

“Gun violence is a fraught topic in our society, with much of the debate framed by ideology, fear and inflexibility,” said Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the School of Public Health, who will give the opening remarks. “A public health approach – as applied to challenges ranging from influenza to obesity, from polio to heart attacks, from smoking to traffic safety – offers a unique point of view, important insights and even guidelines for action.”

Among the other panelists is Dr. Frederick Rivara, UW professor of pediatrics and epidemiology, speaking on the research about guns and violence.

Cost is $5.

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