There are many project management tools such as Trello and Basecamp that are already out there, and they’re great. However, we found that there was still something missing and that none of the existing solutions really met the needs of our school districts.
When implementing personalized learning, districts found that it was hard to keep track of all of the documents, deadlines, and people involved. For a while, we used a combination of Google and emails, but it eventually became unwieldy and we knew we needed to figure out something better. And because we are designers, engineers and problem-solvers our team created our own solution: Touchpoint.Touchpoint is a tool that complements the on-the-ground support that our expert consultants provide to district and school leaders.
To give you an appreciation of how Touchpoint specifically fits the needs of our district partners (and our own consultants!), I've modeled what addressing different problems might look like in Touchpoint versus Basecamp and Trello.
1. Ability to see an overview of your personalized learning project plan
BASECAMP: Basecamp is great for companies that want to keep track of teams and individual projects, but it restricts school districts from changing the organizational structure away from the company-centric format shown. In Basecamp, it's also hard to see a step-by-step timeline of the experiences that are part of any project.
TOUCHPOINT: Touchpoint is designed to better illustrate the lifespan of the implementation, showing what needs to happen when, in order to stay on track. Education Elements will have pre-defined “modules” in Touchpoint that provide roadmaps for work in different areas. What's best is that our consultants customize a district's roadmap at the beginning of our partnerships, so all of the modules listed perfectly correspond to that district's initiative. See below!
2. Scheduling people to meetings and actions items to people
TRELLO: Trello focuses on separate tasks and projects that aren't always connected with a temporal storyline in mind. This makes it difficult to keep track of all the meetings and projects that district leaders have to juggle. For example, the screenshot below presents a bunch of tasks in Trello. With different due dates scattered throughout different schools, it becomes difficult to track all your projects.
TOUCHPOINT: Touchpoint's modules are ordered chronologically. Each module provides an overview for each meeting, allowing users to see when their meetings are scheduled and assign pre- and post-work for attendees of each meeting. Below is an example of a module for a meeting, with a meeting time, participants, and pre- and post-work.
3. Finding and organizing relevant resources
TRELLO: In Trello, resources are attached to a card, i.e., a particular project or task. While this is great for keeping resources and tasks closely connected, there’s currently no central place to find or search through all resources that have been added.
BASECAMP: Similar to Trello, resources in Basecamp are also associated with a particular project or task. There’s currently no central place to find all resources that have been added for people to search from.
TOUCHPOINT: The resource bank is a key feature of Touchpoint. It allows users to search and filter through all the resources added for your school district, either from our consultants or your district team. The screenshot below shows all the resources that have the word ‘Agenda’ in their title.
Don't get us wrong — we think Basecamp and Trello are great tools. We even use Trello to manage many of our own internal meetings and projects. However, when it comes to supporting public education leaders in implementing complex personalized learning initiatives, we think Touchpoint provides an unparalleled district-centric experience.