Mean Girls - 2004

Mean Girls - 2004

As a team of amazing educators, researchers, technologists, writers and analysts from all walks of life, various parts of the world and different generations, we spend a great deal of time together, helping educators and administrators across the country make informed edtech decisions to improve student outcomes. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. In our daily kickoff meetings, collaborative project sessions and customer calls, someone inevitably says something like, “Anyone? Anyone?,” “Turn it up to 11,” “I will taunt you a second time,” or “A schooner is a sailboat,” prompting a sideline discussion and explanation - usually including some level of reenactment (with varying degrees of dramatization and accuracy).

The Princess Bride - 1987

The Princess Bride - 1987

To bridge some of these gaps, our fearless leader recommended that we define a Lea(R)n movie canon: films that everyone should watch to function as a relevant contributor in 2017. The movies should either be highly quotable or fundamentally informative and life altering, such that one better understands a greater context of pop cultural references and can effectively participate (or knowingly choose not to) when someone suggests that something is “so fetch” or that a “flux capacitor” be used. Each member of the team was tasked with contributing five titles to compile the list. But a data-driven team can’t depend on a simple list or yes/no show of hands (and no matter your political leaning, I think we are all openly questioning the need for data in decision making, voting procedures and the significance of those outcomes.) There are layers of consideration for something this important - we knew this would be printed, laminated AND posted as a weekend winter storm entertainment guideline. 

After careful consideration, the research team defined rules of engagement, randomized the proposed titles, chose an appropriate survey format and platform, and solicited responses from each team member. 

We determined the most appropriate method would be a content validity study based on an approach attributed to C.H. Lawshe (1975). Subject matter experts generated a list of candidates and then rated the extent to which each was necessary for inclusion. We calculated a content validity ratio as the first hurdle, and then did a rational review to determine the final list.The randomization and grouping are just survey design best practices.

Dazed and Confused - 1993

Dazed and Confused - 1993

All movies were then entered into the system, and everyone ranked the necessity of each movie across a relevance spectrum. Once all votes were in, the top 42 titles were locked in - everything above “the Billy Madison line” - and the remaining slots would be decided by defense presentations and group debate - including one-to-one deathmatch challenges of titles deemed unworthy of their spot in the list. 
 

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We enjoyed some healthy debate - and a few rounds of well-earned applause. Two members of our customer success team presented very compelling slideshows to advocate for “Fletch” and “This Is Spinal Tap” - both made the cut. As argument presentations and debates were held on a Wednesday, members of the communications team wore pink and fought for everyone who had been personally victimized by Regina George. Our head researcher tried to protect “The Departed,” which suffered defeat at the hands of Ferris, Cameron, Sloane and Mr. Rooney. “ET” rode his magic bike all over “Remember the Titans.” In the end, we had a lively discussion, a better understanding of the motivations for seeing (or not seeing) certain films and a Top 50 list of 53 movies that we feel team members need to see to achieve shared culturally relevant understanding in the Lea(R)n microcosm.

We can agree to disagree on topics ranging from Glen Coco to Iceman to Buzz Lightyear; we know Clarice can still hear the lambs screaming; the hills are alive with music and what it means be now, and always remain...a duckman.