I am trying a new Menlo-inspired Project Management Board. I recently finished reading Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan (our autographed copy from the Ann Arbor Tech Trek last spring). I found a lot of parallels between the Menlo high tech anthropologist position and my role as a technology integration specialist. I have to remain in touch with the classroom and the needs of students and teachers (our end users/ clients) and also be able to translate their needs to our technology department to be able to design the best teaching and learning experience.
My new project management process involves carrying around index cards! Every time I get a new project, I will fill out an index card. I write down who the project is for, a title for the project, necessary steps for completion, approximate completion time estimate and the date that the project was created.
I then arrange my projects based off of my time estimates for completion and continue to move them appropriately throughout the week if needed. I note if a project takes more or less time than I anticipated. I am hoping that this will help me to more efficiently manage my time so that I can only take on the amount of projects that I am able to fit in the course of a week. It has already helped with being more realistic about the time frames of projects that I take on.
Everyone is a Maker.
At Maker Camp, we explicitly introduced something we called a “Maker Mindset”. We decided that it was important to highlight different parts of a Maker Mindset every week of Maker Camp. Maker Mindset introduced and reinforced qualities and the kind of growth mindset that our students needed to recognize in themselves while making and creating.
Our first Maker Mindset introduced the belief that everyone can be a maker. We knew many of the students came to Maker Camp because they had an interest in making, but we worked on projects that involved a wide variety of topics and skills that could easily have become overwhelming, frustrating and lead to feelings of defeat. We wanted students to understand that they all brought unique qualities with them that made them each unique makers. Creativity, problem solving, techy skills that students commonly see themselves lacking can all be practiced and developed- they are not a prerequisite to making.
Making and creating- along with the ownership and pride in that experience- is inherently part of being human. We have been doing it since the beginning.
As a result, we included our “Super Maker” project to kick off Maker Camp. This project prompted students to create a popsicle stick superhero of themselves, write their name and some of their making strengths. We posted them on the wall and asked students to use the wall for collaboration and support. If you wanted to make a movie, but you did not consider yourself a very good artist- go to the Super Maker wall and find someone who lists drawing or animation as one of their strengths. Ask that person for help or if they would like to collaborate on a project. This was a great way to connect our campers and reinforce the Maker Mindset belief that everyone is a Maker.