Professors Buckleitner and Fishburn and a group of adventurous students from IMM 470 (The Methods of Fred Rogers) made a field trip to Fred Rogers’ childhood home in Latrobe, PA for a first-person look at the original Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. The visit was made with the cooperation with the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, where Professor Buckleitner serves as a Senior Fellow. After a tour of the Fred Rogers Archive by archivist Emily Uhrin, students had a chance to present their projects to the staff, and a lucky few were able to play some of the instruments used on the program.
Fred Rogers was a pioneer in using emerging technologies for social good. He leveraged old media (puppets, pianos, and props) with the power of new media (TV) to advocate for improving the quality of life for children. He once said, “I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there’s some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen.” Today’s media landscape is very different than it was in the days of black and white television, and far more powerful. Yet the principles he created are still valid in the YouTube age, serving as reminders that digital media (apps, video games, web delivered content, and videos) can still be used to improve honest human relationships. Designed in cooperation with the Fred Rogers Center in Latrobe, PA, this course taught students to critique, create, and publish a project in the spirit of the late Fred Rogers.