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Fostering Health Literacy and Social Media in a Higher Education Setting

Authors: Sandra Vamos & Paul Yeung

Abstract: As a result of technological advancements, many people access and assess health-related information via technological devices. Yet, not all health-related information available is accurate. This study adopted Flanagan′s Critical Incident Technique (CIT) to explore the kinds of incidents (i.e., learning and/or teaching-related examples) that allow Physical and Health Education Teacher Education (PHETE) candidates to engage in the promotion of health literacy (HL) through digital media during a course-based experiential learning opportunity in higher education. The study utilized a focus group interview (n=6) to explore what helps or hinders participants′ experiential learning and their perception of health education and health promotion efforts through the lens of HL and digital literacy. Altogether 100 critical incidents were recorded. The results showed that the top three ″helps″ are: ″writing health blogs″ (13.46%), ″communicating health topics to others″ (11.54%), and ″raising others′ health awareness″ (11.54%). Participants′ collaboration from inside and outside the course to plan and implement the PHETE Ambassador pizza party was the most commonly described as a helpful critical incident. Participants also reported the top two ″hinders″: ″starting from zero″ (23.53%) and ″administrative errors in list serve″ (17.65%). In terms of ″specific hinders″, participants noted: ″starting from zero″ (20.00%), ″unable to attend pre-established meetings″ (20.00%), and ″under time constraints″(20.00%). Through participants′ sharing, not only do they see the importance of social media and technology, but they also concur that HL forms an important bridge between the education and health fields.

Journal: The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education

Volume: 12

Pages: 1-13