On my list of todo’s today is to figure out how to get a teddy bear into space with a sandwich box and a balloon.
The ‘launch date’ seems so far off. I plan on launching in mid-June with a mixed class of 30 students from St Martins and St Faiths school in North Lincolnshire. This school project has come about from a series of meetings and previous training sessions. Staff at the school are keen on developing a project that will (pardon the pun) be out of this world…
Hence the volunteering of a teddy bear, and the use of a sandwich box.
The biggest challenge for the school has been to try and organise the event, get suitable resources, and hold meetings to plan the event in detail. The biggest challenge for me is to make sure we can get old ted into space and back again without drowning, blowing up, or losing the poor guy to space.
Organising this kind of school project is tricky. There are a number of external agencies to contact and keep in the loop, as well as sponsors and publicity to generate interest in the community. I have come in on this project at the start, and already I have several email chains to deal with which are taking time to search through and respond to.
Setting up a project in MeisterTask is the first thing to tick off. My iPad is within reach. My laptop is somewhere in the workshop under a layer of dust or otherwise obscured by electronics, balloons, and tools. In creating the project I can quickly customise the layout, columns, and collaborators. By selecting the email addresses from the last email chain and copying into the Invite People feature, I have invited all contributors to my school project in a few taps of the screen…simple!
We previously had a bulleted list in a document of potential ‘things to do’. By selecting these and pasting them into a new task I have quickly generated a list of tasks within the project. Now everyone can see what is needed to be ticked off.
An added benefit within MeisterTask is the ability to assign tasks to people. No more conversations clarifying who needs to do what and why!
Because the school is near to an operational RAF base, we need to ask permission to fly. There is some obvious paperwork that needs completing beforehand, several forms and agreements…copying these into MeisterTask is simple. Most of these documents are attachments, but some are shared through Google Drive and Dropbox. With Dropbox and Drive integrations, attaching documents to a task is again just a matter of a few taps of the screen.
Within a few minutes of setting the project up, we are already having conversations and working through the tasks. New tasks and associations are easy to set up, notifying everyone as the tasks change, progress or are completed.
With any project like this, which require cross-departmental working and contacting external contractors, a central communication system is vital. By having all relevant team members connected with a MeisterTask project board, everyone is kept in the loop. Team communication doesn’t need to be spread across numerous email threads, pigeon holes, text messages and post-it notes. All information, documents and queries can be shared directly on the relevant tasks.
With a project management tool that’s available on laptop, desktop, web-browser or mobile, your team members can be located on-site or remotely. They can also choose to receive notifications as they like. Perhaps a pop-up on their phones or an email breakdown of the day’s events. Staff members can work how they work best and are free to interact how they see fit. Team members are guided by the system and don’t need to be at their classroom desktop.
This communication method helps to reduce the huge volume of emails school leaders deal with on a daily basis. If we just focus on emails relating to project management – the emails notifying changes, asking for ideas or for approval – the emails still take time to process. Not long for each one, granted, but the sum total of the minutes is significant.
By simply moving this type of email into a school project management tool, you will be surprised by how much time is freed up. In one primary school I worked in, we managed to save over 4 hours a week by simply changing attitudes to email use in school. One 30-minute session on using email led to 4 hours saved per team member. For a team of 7, this meant 28 hours a week or about 1000 staff hours per year. Big numbers, by just working a few little things out.
Using MeisterTask as a school project management tool for events like ted’s big trip just makes the whole process a great deal clearer and simpler.
- It allows all staff to be notified of changes and updates instantly
- Communication is simplified, and can be accessed via one platform, from anywhere
- Everyone can see what the priorities are, as and when deadlines change
The Space Exploration Challenge is a complex project with multiple moving parts, deadlines, and paperwork. It requires several conversations with many people and companies involved.
Using MeisterTask to plan this type of school activity allows teachers to concentrate on learning opportunities and the students involved. It also leaves me to spend more time designing an awesome Space Challenge!