A few months ago I was approached by a new parent at our school who wanted to know if our school community had seen and discussed the documentary Screenagers by Dr. Delaney Ruston. Although Kim and I had discussed this movie privately, I wasn’t sure our school and community had the interest or resources to bring this event and its ideas to our campus.
I was pleased to discover that our school had community and faculty interest as well as the necessary resources to make this event happen. The screening itself was a success and I learned some great things in the process.
- Parents get things done: Our Parent Association was onboard with this screening almost immediately and provided all of the funding. They even opted to make the screening free to the community to maximize participation.
- Let others lead: Our Communications Officer Katharine Mudra took the lead in promoting Screenagers to our community. She leveraged all of her skills and expertice to get the word out via Twitter, Facebook and our own WordPress-based Community Portal.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel: The Screenagers “package” includes a nice collection of collateral materials for promoting the film and also facilitating discussions afterwards. I adapted the materials (pulling the lists of questions into Slides presentations) and found them to be well-suited to generating the discussions we hoped for.
- Open dialog is the goal: Parents loved the movie and brought many their observations and questions to the table when we discussed the movie both on the night of the screening and later at a Morning Connections event in our MS/HS Library. Students were apprehensive going into the week (“Here comes the bad news!”) but seemed happy that what we all wanted was balance (for all of us) and open dialog about how electronic media were impacting all of our lives.