Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I don't usually plug products in the blog however this one is worth checking out. The FTC team at Pope John XXIII Regional High School wrote and published a book about FTC. Inside are tips on building, programming, and competing in FTC.
They created this book on their own, with no financial support from FIRST. It's a great example of how the FIRST community comes together to create wonderful things.
You'd have to get overnight shipping to arrive by Christmas, however you might make an FTC team's day if you got them one.
Here's the Amazon link
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Week two of the FTC championship season is underway. This is a shot at the software inspection station here at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata.
Event mornings are always the same, anywhere in FTC nation. Teams streaming in rushing to pass inspection. Volunteers scrambling to get them through.
The single most important determining factor to success? Read the game manual - as in life being prepared is key.
I am convinced the eventual winners (in competition and awards) can almost always be predicted at the inspection tables. Teams who have their stuff together succeed.
(BTW the team pictured had their stuff together)
Thursday, December 9, 2010
After a whirlwind first weekend we are locked and loaded for week two.
A couple weeks ago I posted about scouting strategy with regard to choosing your elimination match partners and succeeding in events.
Earlier this season we hosted and recorded a conference call on this topic. If you, or your team members are interested in ideas on strategy check out this link.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Our goal is to change the culture by inspiring technology leaders of tomorrow. You've seen this, and hopefully hear this quite often when talking about and experiencing FIRST.
The early vision of FIRST, which continues today, is to celebrate technology based competition in ways similar to other sports. Part of that vision was to leave behind some of the less desirable aspects of competitive sport.
We've all seen examples in other sports of parents too involved, singular focus on winning, and arguing about rules and "the other teams," as part of our individual experiences.
In the worst cases that has turned off participants in traditional sports, and that's a shame.
Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition are terms trademarked by FIRST designed to encapsulate the behavior we expect at FIRST events and within the FIRST community. The rules of the game from the scoring system to specifics on offense and defense all seek to reinforce these ethos in a competitive environment.
We can never lose sight of these goals. If we do, we become like any other gathering involving competition, where these values may not be as important.
Why this note now?
We're at the very beginning of our Championship season. We are growing incredibly fast. That means many of the FTC participants are new and may not have these specific values instilled in their approach to the competition.
That makes it incumbent on those who have been in the program to promote these values and live by them. Doing so perpetuates the vision of FIRST, allows others to benefit in their own lives from adopting them, and shows those promoting them that their efforts are making a difference.
We are all part of a larger effort, one that goes well beyond building and competing with robots, and one we should all be proud to perpetuate.
Friday, December 3, 2010
This weekend is the first for FTC Regional Championships. Qualifying events have been ongoing for about a month now but this weekend is the first chance for teams to earn spots at World Championships in St. Louis.
As I write this Clarkson University is holding their FTC Regional Championship. Tomorrow Southwest Oklahoma State University will hold their Regional Championship.
Qualifying events are being held in Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Florida and Georgia, whew!
Good luck to teams that are competing. If you're not competing get to work! You'll need to sharpen those skills to compete with these guys in the future.