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Go to Post I will never forget Dean's opening lines: "I want you to know that I am here under protest. I believe that everything you are doing here is repugnant and ethically wrong. And now I am going to tell you why..." And for the next 35 minutes, that is exactly what he did. - dlavery [more]
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  #91   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2008, 07:27 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

When I started FIRST freshman year, I had a very one-sided view on how a FIRST team should be set up. My team's robot was student built, and I'm competing with it, so shouldn't my competitors be student built robots as well?

Needless to say, I didn't get it, as is evident by the 80-something posts before me, and countless other forums about this very topic.

As a freshman in college, I see the merit to both approaches to student inspiration, and every mix in the middle. Unfortunately, I think the side that favors student run teams has been blatantly attacked, and I think it has been overlooked by the CD community at large. Dave Lavery said (correct me if I am misquoting) that teams run by students with robots built by students are "missing the point". So how can the many members of CD, whom I have nothing but respect for, find it so easy to invalidate DanTod's posts when during the Kickoff, which I assume a majority of people here (including myself) watched, the very same thing happened, just to the other "side" of the argument?

I'm going to say how I, personally, myself, felt about what Dave said during the Kickoff. I was frustrated, angry and disappointed. After 4 years of being on a student run, student built team, putting in hours upon hours of hard work into our teams robot year after year, being told that the entire time I was "missing the point"?

To make it very clear though, I have the utmost respect for Dave Lavery, and every other student, mentor, parent, volunteer and sponsor that make FIRST possible. It really is the greatest thing happened to me in high school and I am nothing but in debt the great organization FIRST is.

Mike C.
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  #92   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2008, 07:40 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

I just hope that the people who post in contradiction to this thread understand that everyone is allowed their opinion. I happen to agree with him. I believe that adult interaction with the robot is way above what should be allowed. I don't think this is the students fault, the team structures fault, or even the adults fault! People naturally want to be involved. The thing is that adult who want to get involved get involved because quite simply they are the adults. It takes incredible restraint for an engineering adult to not take control of engineering, something that he/she must do, in my opinion. The one time I really understood the importance of this was this season. I was working with our engineering mentor on our elevator's spool when we decided to make a food run, of which I went with. When i got back a half hour later and found him sitting in a chair doing nothing. At first I wondered why he hadn't finished it without me, then I realized that He wasn't really working on the spool, he was working on me. Thats when I realized how much the teams with (sorry to be frank) irresponsible adults, are losing. I walk by pits, and see adults bouncing ideas off each other, making calls, being innovative, and acting on those decisions over and over again. I think this is a real hit to the purpose of FIRST and something that students really should sit down and talk to with their mentors. Remember! They work for you, not the other way around!
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:44 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex114 View Post
When I started FIRST freshman year, I had a very one-sided view on how a FIRST team should be set up. My team's robot was student built, and I'm competing with it, so shouldn't my competitors be student built robots as well?

Needless to say, I didn't get it, as is evident by the 80-something posts before me, and countless other forums about this very topic.

As a freshman in college, I see the merit to both approaches to student inspiration, and every mix in the middle. Unfortunately, I think the side that favors student run teams has been blatantly attacked, and I think it has been overlooked by the CD community at large. Dave Lavery said (correct me if I am misquoting) that teams run by students with robots built by students are "missing the point". So how can the many members of CD, whom I have nothing but respect for, find it so easy to invalidate DanTod's posts when during the Kickoff, which I assume a majority of people here (including myself) watched, the very same thing happened, just to the other "side" of the argument?

I'm going to say how I, personally, myself, felt about what Dave said during the Kickoff. I was frustrated, angry and disappointed. After 4 years of being on a student run, student built team, putting in hours upon hours of hard work into our teams robot year after year, being told that the entire time I was "missing the point"?

To make it very clear though, I have the utmost respect for Dave Lavery, and every other student, mentor, parent, volunteer and sponsor that make FIRST possible. It really is the greatest thing happened to me in high school and I am nothing but in debt the great organization FIRST is.

Mike C.
I thought the exact same thing when I heard that at kickoff (I think it was Woody btw). I think student run teams are getting the point! FIRST is here in order to train our youth on how to run and advance the engineering world, when we run the world there will be no elders doing things for us. So I say make tools off limits for adults, and make the design phase student only. Please understand the difference between engineering and designing. Where Designing is deciding to use Akerman steering, and a launching robot. Engineering is what materials and methods to do these things.
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"Everything we produce is made of: Duct Tape, zip ties, and hope" - Christian Allinson 1458

Anyone can watch Westcoast Choppers and see adults build things, but FIRST is great because it encourages kids to do the building and adults to do the watching.

GO DANVILLANS!!
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:47 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody1458 View Post
I just hope that the people who post in contradiction to this thread understand that everyone is allowed their opinion.
Exactly, the only reason I keep posting at all is because people seem to keep attacking my opinion and the fact that I decided to state it, im not trying to start and argument and im not going to get involved in one.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:50 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

The reality of the situation is that FIRST as an organization has taken sides on this issue.

Dave Lavery's comments during kickoffs are the most recent example. He completely alienated over half of FIRST by saying that. I understand the lesson that Woody and Dean originally wanted to teach, but thousands of other lessons have emerged beyond their dreams.

To categorically say that some of the unique things kids learn on student-dominated teams are any less important to inspiring students is, frankly, insulting.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:50 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

The original post was about super teams that are just here to
win.

I can tell you that the best feeling we had at Cleveland was that
our partner team 2048 won right along with us despite they were only
a 2nd year team working with very few mentors.

Its the best when we all win.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:51 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody1458 View Post
I thought the exact same thing when I heard that at kickoff (I think it was Woody btw). I think student run teams are getting the point! FIRST is here in order to train our youth on how to run and advance the engineering world, when we run the world there will be no elders doing things for us. So I say make tools off limits for adults, and make the design phase student only. Please understand the difference between engineering and designing. Where Designing is deciding to use Akerman steering, and a launching robot. Engineering is what materials and methods to do these things.
It was Dave.

Design is a fundamental component of engineering.

Again, everyone is talking about the competition. While people are quick to point out that it's not about the robots to the teams who are ultra competitive, it's interesting that the same situation is happening here.

To you I also say it is not about the robot. Thus if it is not about the robot, it doesn't matter how other teams conduct their business, so long as they do it within the rules, and they find it inspiring.

If it was about the robots, and FIRST was all about making a competition for high school students to determine which students could make the best robot then yes, adult involvement would be something to worry about. We have clearly established that it is NOT about the robots though.

I'd like to point out a few years ago that Dean flat out said "FIRST is not fair". It's up to the teams who feel that way to do something to better themselves, or take their time and money elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abwehr View Post
The reality of the situation is that FIRST as an organization has taken sides on this issue.

Dave Lavery's comments during kickoffs are the most recent example. He completely alienated over half of FIRST by saying that. I understand the lesson that Woody and Dean originally wanted to teach, but thousands of other lessons have emerged beyond their dreams.

To categorically say that some of the unique things kids learn on student-dominated teams are any less important to inspiring students is, frankly, insulting.
I'd like to see the numbers backing your statement that half of FIRST was alienated. I for one applaud Dave's statement, and I have seen both sides of the equation.

For the record, if you were to go back and watch the video again, I believe Dave said something to the effect of "Hey, it's awesome that these students are capable of doing what they do--but imagine how much more they'd be able to do, and how much more they'd learn if they worked with professional engineers who have mountains of knowledge to share.

To categorically say that Dave's claims are inaccurate is exactly what you just said you were against.
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Last edited by Cory : 04-03-2008 at 07:56 PM.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:57 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex114 View Post
I'm going to say how I, personally, myself, felt about what Dave said during the Kickoff. I was frustrated, angry and disappointed. After 4 years of being on a student run, student built team, putting in hours upon hours of hard work into our teams robot year after year, being told that the entire time I was "missing the point"?
Quote:
FIRST is here in order to train our youth on how to run and advance the engineering world.
From the FIRST website, http://usfirst.org/who/default.aspx?id=34:

Quote:
Mission

Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.
The point of FRC is to expose students to science and technology professionals. That is what differentiates it from other programs like it. I believe two years ago at kickoff, someone said something along the lines of "There are hundreds of high school programs out there that stick students in a corner and tell them to build a robot. There is only one that sticks students AND adult mentors in a corner to build a robot, and that is FRC." (forgive me, I'm paraphrasing from a vague memory here.)

You had a great experience, you were inspired, I'm sure Mr. Lavery was not trying to take that away from you. Instead, what I think he was trying to say was that sure, you can do cool things as a student built, run etc team, but what you can learn from working with mentors is so much more, and is what this program is about, as it is clearly stated in all their promotional materials and in everything they as an organization do.

The people at FIRST are those who determine what the program is supposed to be about. They have made it crystal clear that FRC teams are supposed to have students and mentors working together to build a robot. Unless the message we are given from on high changes, I see no reason for teams with mentors to stop what they're doing.

If you disagree with this philosophy, FRC is obviously not the competition for you. There are plenty of other competitions out there that share your philosophy. It has been made clear that FRC is not one of them.
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Last edited by Kate00 : 04-03-2008 at 08:00 PM.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 07:57 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abwehr View Post
While I agree with most of your points, I think you do need to consider what a "superpower" team looks like from the outside looking in.

Essentially, all teams start the season with the same basic resources - a kit of parts, a game description, and six weeks.

Now imagine you're a kid on a small team with a limited budget and mentor resources. You work for 8 hours after school each day, plus weekends, and finally show up at competition with something made of your own blood, sweat, and tears. It probably is a little homemade looking, maybe it works okay most of the time, but it is your own small victory after six weeks of hell.

Then you look in the pit next to you and see a robot that looks like it was ordered out of a catalog.

As an adult, how would that make you feel? I sure would be jealous!

Now, as a high school aged-student, how would that make you feel? Are you telling me that a 16-18 year old has the emotional maturity to not feel bad - even a little - about his own showing when kids the same age are sitting next to a future FIRST championship winner?

Life isn't fair, and FIRST isn't either. That's a hard lesson for a kid to learn.
I was never actually jealous of any of the fancy engineering teams. The only time I was jealous was the year I left college and saw the new kit. The gearboxes were made out of metal.
Quote:
I thought the exact same thing when I heard that at kickoff (I think it was Woody btw). I think student run teams are getting the point! FIRST is here in order to train our youth on how to run and advance the engineering world, when we run the world there will be no elders doing things for us. So I say make tools off limits for adults, and make the design phase student only. Please understand the difference between engineering and designing. Where Designing is deciding to use Akerman steering, and a launching robot. Engineering is what materials and methods to do these things.
Unfortunately, that's not how real life works. In real life you are forced to work with the elders because it's the law. You legally can not call yourself an engineer unless you A) Pass a test and B) Work underneath someone who is an engineer which would be your elder by a number of years.
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Last edited by Adam Y. : 04-03-2008 at 08:05 PM.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 08:03 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

If we think about this in a glass half full way - let's look at the spectacular growth of FIRST in less than 20 years in several programs, with more growth on the way. The growth is being managed now by mentors who are committed to the program(s) and the students. These mentors range from engineers to college students to teachers to NEMs. I felt the comments made at the Kick Off addressed the intrinsic need to retain the engineers we have and to recruit more engineers into the program(s). I support this stance because I see teams/FIRST weakened over time by lack of the sound foundation that engineers bring to the program if we don't continue to recruit them as we grow. Teachers, NEMs, college students can keep the program(s) going and do excellent jobs but the engineers are vital to the program, the mission, the goals - short term and long term.
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Unread 04-03-2008, 08:03 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory View Post
I'd like to point out a few years ago that Dean flat out said "FIRST is not fair". It's up to the teams who feel that way to do something to better themselves, or take their time and money elsewhere.
Something I was trying to describe in my posts was that its not that robot dominance that I care about, its that fact that students are very often cheated out of the experience the deserve by overanxious adults. I don't blame these adults however. It is an undeniable fact that people want to get involved. Its the whole boy/girl argument on a large scale. These adults are scary to kids. Very often the engineering mentors, from what I hear, are not parents or teachers. They are possibly alumni or sponsor employees. These folks how really have no long term experience with teaching kids don't understand what it takes to push us to our full capabilities. They just do it themselves. While they are happy to take a kid along for the ride, I seldom see adults make an extra effort to involve the kids. It especially never happens when the condition of the robot is at stake. I think it is totally appropriate for an adult to do it the students way even if its the wrong way. Because the fact is that you never understand that something doesn't work until you see why it doesn't work. Being told that a way is wrong make have them do it the right way once, but later in life when something like a job is a stake that will never have seen the "wrong" way fail so they will do it that way and face the consequences. Im not trying to say that there is only one way a team can be run, but I think FIRST is neither the place nor the time for adult control.
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Anyone can watch Westcoast Choppers and see adults build things, but FIRST is great because it encourages kids to do the building and adults to do the watching.

GO DANVILLANS!!
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Unread 04-03-2008, 08:05 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

I am one that agrees with Dave. Dave said that teams run without working WITH Engineers are losing out. He did not say that they can't learn but that they are not getting full benefit of the program. He did not say that the Engineers had to fully design and or build the robot but that the TEAM would work hand in hand to create and build a robot.

Quite frankly, if the teams don't want the mentors then just ask them to leave. When they do and take their sponsorship money with them you will just need to work a bit harder at fund raising. When they do go I don't want to hear the "they have all these engineers designing and building their robot" comments about teams that do embrace their mentors. I don't want to hear that team XXXX only wins because of money or engineers.

I am one that believes in a partnership, students and mentors, not students telling mentors what their roles are. When I am at work I work with others as a team. I have 33 years and some have 10. That does not mean that I get my way or that the thoughts and ideas of the others are shot down. To get the best results we need to work as a team and when we do, EVERYONE wins.

One other thing, mentors do not want to see the team fail. Not because something can't be learned but because failure can cause a negative view. Not just with students on the team but with parents, possible team members and sponsors. All of those mentioned are important to the success of the team.
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Y. View Post
In real life you are forced to work with the elders because it's the law. You legally can not call yourself an engineer unless you A) Pass a test and B) Work underneath someone who is an engineer which would be your elder by a number of years.
What I was saying there is that what FIRST is preparing us for is BEING the elders.
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Anyone can watch Westcoast Choppers and see adults build things, but FIRST is great because it encourages kids to do the building and adults to do the watching.

GO DANVILLANS!!
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Unread 04-03-2008, 08:11 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
Quite frankly, if the teams don't want the mentors then just ask them to leave.
This is one of the problems I am trying to bring up. That to students (speaking as one) its not that easy. They are adults, thats like going to work and asking your boss to leave because he is making it too hard for you too work. I know that this situation is nothing like that, but as a student it is. We are raised as kids to listen to our coaches, to listen to our teachers, and such(not that this is a bad thing, just that thats how other things kids are familiar to work). That if their is a problem we must change, we must leave. Im saying that in FIRST it should be the other way around.
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"Everything we produce is made of: Duct Tape, zip ties, and hope" - Christian Allinson 1458

Anyone can watch Westcoast Choppers and see adults build things, but FIRST is great because it encourages kids to do the building and adults to do the watching.

GO DANVILLANS!!
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Unread 04-03-2008, 08:11 PM
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Re: GP? I think not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abwehr View Post
The reality of the situation is that FIRST as an organization has taken sides on this issue.

Dave Lavery's comments during kickoffs are the most recent example. He completely alienated over half of FIRST by saying that. I understand the lesson that Woody and Dean originally wanted to teach, but thousands of other lessons have emerged beyond their dreams.

To categorically say that some of the unique things kids learn on student-dominated teams are any less important to inspiring students is, frankly, insulting.
You need to be careful about taking quotes out of context. During Dave's speech at kickoff, he was re-iterating the value of having mentors involved with a FIRST team. He was stressing the fact that FIRST is not just about students learning engineering principles, we have a much bigger mission here. "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."

I really believe that every FIRST team needs to examine this mission statement in detail. We're talking about changing the world! There's no way we're going to create an international culture change without involving strong adult role models. By working day in and day out with talented mentors, students learn the value of their professions and aspire to be like these amazing men and women. You can't teach someone to be an engineer in 6 weeks, but you sure can inspire them and instill the desire in them to become one. That's what FIRST is all about. Remember, go back to the mission statement.

Yes, there's plenty to be gained by being on a 100% student run team. But, there are plenty of avenues for those types of lessons. What makes FIRST unique from virtually every other extra-curricular program out there is the mentor involvement. If you choose to run your team with only students, more power to you, but you are missing out on one of the most unique opportunities you will ever have. This is the point that Dave was making.
__________________
:: Karthik Kanagasabapathy ::
"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" -- R.W. Emerson
"What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen" -- R.W. Emerson
My TEDx Talk - The Subtle Secrets of Success
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