Sunday, April 5, 2015

Building dynamic exhibition schedule.

School-wide exhibitions... that amazing experience of students presenting evidence of their progress to a diverse group of peers, family and mentors... is a transformative experience and is one of the few examples of truly authentic summative assessment in high school.

But... It can be an absolute nightmare to manage students when a school has exhibitions - the week-long presentations that are attended by parent, mentors and kids from throughout the school. How do we track what students are in which rooms for what times? How do you manage kids signing up for their own presentations... in a way that does not give the advisor the added job title of 'Master Scheduler' on top of his/her already full list of responsibilities.

Here is a way to use Google Sheets to streamline the logistics of pulling off school-wide presentations. I will admit that this may seem confusing if you are not comfortable with Google Sheets. I am very happy to work with you to set up a template specifically for your school! (You can even take all of the super-hero credit!)

For this process, we are going to create two types of documents, the 1st is a class-specific exhibition scheduling document. This document will pull the schedule form the school-wide document, and it will send the individual advisor schedule to the master schedule so the office and admin can have a central location to view the overall schedule.

The second is a school-wide exhibition schedule. This document will do three jobs. It will set the master schedule for exhibitions, it will allow advisors to place panelists and track attendance, and lastly, it will provide a simplified format for posting the daily schedule on a large projector or flat-screen monitor.

OK... so this stuff is tricky but getting these systems in place will make you a super-hero for any school the struggles to manage real exhibitions.

Step 1: Create advisory schedule documents.

Use this template.

You will copy this document FOR EACH ADVISORY. If you have 10 advisories, you should create 10 documents. This will be the place where advisors (or students) actually schedule for exhibitions. Share each document with editing privileges to each advisor. Note that the dates and times for this document will give you that "#REF!" or "N/A" indication because we have not told this spreadsheet where to look to get the master schedule.
As an advanced part of this step you can also Protect Range for the parts of the document (like the dates and times) that you do not want the advisor or student to alter.

As you can see form this document, once the advisor adds kids to the roster on the right hand, those names will appear as pull down options on the left side. This allows students to schedule themselves and for the advisor to have an automated accounting system to ensure that every kid get's scheduled.

Step 2: Create a master schedule document. 

Use this template.

The next sheet that you will see is the master data. This included the date and timing of exhibitions (EX) and Gateways (GW).  This data fills in the master schedule as well as the individual schedules for each advisor (more on that later). If you only need one set of times, you can clear out the GW cells. Fill in the dates and times for your exhibitions (you can change them whenever you want and it will sync up with the advisor schedules - no worries.) You might notice that the tabs for the days of the exhibitions will contain cells that say "#REF!" of "N/A". Don't worry about that for now. This master schedule is trying to look up advisor schedules but does not know where to look yet.

Step 3: Link 'em up!

Now we need to link the master schedule with all of the advisory schedules. On the advisor schedule there is a tab named "KEY DATA". In that tab cut and paste the Google Document Key from the Master Schedule. This will enable the advisor schedule to pull dates and times for exhibitions from one central location (The Master Document).

Next... take the document key from each Advisor Schedule and plug it into the "Data Collection" tab on the master schedule. This will tell the master schedule where to pull all of the schools' schedules from. You will need to do this for each advisory.

This all may seem confusing... especially if you have not worked a lot with Google Document... but I promise it will create a system for managing exhibitions that will be error-free, easy to manage and clear for students. Check out all three videos... but also feel free to get in touch with me if you would like me to set this up for your Big Picture School.


Just remember... if you encounter any problems or find me crazy-confusing... just email me and we can set up a Google Hangout session.


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Thank you for such a well written article. It’s full of insightful information and entertaining descriptions. Your point of view is the best among many. exhibition stand production companies

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