What would you do?
I recently heard a story from an old colleague, who last July was on a standard summer term school trips to a theme park. Hundreds of students on multiple coaches and my old colleague Lorna (fake name) was in charge of one of the buses. The message to students was simple. “Meet here by the entrance at 3pm for the bus home, here is a phone number if you need us. See you in 5 hours!”
Well 3pm arrives and 48 of the 50 students are there to meet the coach. Lorna starts warming up her “i’m very disappointed” voice, ready to meet the tardy twosome, but 3:30 arrives and still no signs.
Now TripAid is not designed to be an electronic tag designed to imprison students, so if students want to run away, nothing can stop them doing that (just by turning off location sharing or shutting the app down on their phone means they can still be messaged, but not located), but if TripAid was used on this trip, Lorna could have been locating them and sending another teacher, messaging the students or alerting theme park employees of the students location and instructing them to send the students back and refuse them on any rides.
Instead Lorna had no choice but to sit and wait…. and wait…...and wait. The other students on that coach had to sit and wait…..and wait….. And wait. 5:30pm is when these rogue students finally walked up. Two and a half hours they made the coach wait before they turned up, apparently without any consideration of their fellow 48 students on the coach, or the 48 parents waiting to pick them up. They just decided that they wanted to go on more rides so everyone else can wait. What struck me about this story more than anything else is the powerlessness that Lorna felt, as she could do nothing but sit and wait. Lorna wasn’t particularly stressed about it, she could safely assume that they students were not in danger, as they were in an enclosed theme park, but if that had been a city, or museum in a town where they may decide to wander out, Lorna may have had a much longer and more stressful 150mins wondering where they could be.