Monday, June 01, 2015

Literacies for the digital age: Health literacy

This is the tenth, and final, in a series of blog posts highlighting the digital literacies our students will need to succeed. This post will provide you with some ideas on how to infuse health literacy skills into the curriculum.


The World Health Organization’s motto is “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” And, according to UNESCO, infusing “health learning in subjects across the curriculum should not be a substitute for a comprehensive, sequential course of health education, but doing so can significantly support the learning that takes place in a health class.”
The UNESCO toolkit publication contains mappings to curriculum activities that can help students learn and think about health-related issues. They include curriculum tie-ins for social studies, science and mathematics.

There are many online tools and apps for mobile devices that can support any one of these activities as well as activities in health education classes.
Keeping a private wellness journal can both help students deal with stressful events as well as help track their progress towards a goal– whether it be physical or intellectual. Penzu is an online private journaling program, with a mobile app for iOS and Android, too, that makes it easy for students to jot down their thoughts and action plans for personal wellness.
Once a student has set some wellness goals, they will need a place to record their quantitative information– whether it be calories consumed, steps taken, or minutes exercised. Zoho Creator is an online database that is easy to set up and easy to both enter and analyze the data.
Glencoe has a health textbook support page that includes some technology project lesson in the areas of health and fitness for students.
As far as providing students with sites to start with to gather data on global health issues, the US Department of Health and Human Services has a site which deals with the medical, political, and social aspects of health issues worldwide.
Looking at the content-based health activities suggested by UNESCO, in addition to the research skills students will be utilizing, there are many ways students can create a product as a formative or summative assessment using technology.
  • Digital story
  • Infographic
  • Video
  • Poster, handout, flyer
  • Timeline
  • Podcast
  • Animation
  • Screencast
  • Word cloud
  • Concept or mind map
  • Blog
  • Collage
  • Sketchnote
My online tools page includes Web 2.0 applications that can be used for these products. In addition, I have specific pages with ideas, tips, and tutorials for products such as these.
Do you teach health literacy in your classroom? Share your resources with us on Twitter! #kathyschrock