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Unread 05-17-2018, 10:25 AM
evandunk evandunk is offline
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Video Mentoring

Hi Everyone,

I work for a funder of FIRST programs. I am trying to gather data on video mentoring that occurs within the FIRST community. I am especially interested in video mentoring for FRC and FTC. Anyone who has done video mentoring or has been the recipient of video mentoring would you be willing to let me know. We would like to know how successful or problematic it has been and any
recommendations for scaling up video mentoring.

Thank You
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Unread 05-17-2018, 10:52 AM
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Re: Video Mentoring

To clarify, by video mentoring do you mean mentoring the creation of videos (For chairmans, release video, etc) or mentoring via video conference or pre-recorded videos?
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Unread 05-17-2018, 12:34 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

Interesting you should bring this up. This is a topic I've been mulling over for a number of months now. Specifically, I've been thinking about how to increase the audience an individual mentor (or group of mentors) can reach.

As a photographer, I've observed the way the photography community uses Youtube to spread tips, techniques, equipment reviews, and even just commentary with a global reach. As a result, anyone who is willing to take the time to watch Youtube videos has an unlimited pool of knowledge to draw from if they want to be a better photographer. I want to use that same model to share the knowledge our team has accumulated with teams who haven't been around long enough to learn those same lessons, or who don't have mentors with the same industry and FRC experience that we do.

Over the years, we have experimented with various ways to share that knowledge. We have presented at the FRC workshops in Richmond. We have hosted an FRC summit for teams in our area to share their knowledge. These efforts are all limited in scope to the participants who physically participate. We have recorded some of these presentations and put them online. When we do that, we create a resource that can be referenced by whoever needs it, whenever they need it. That is the recipe for effective long term knowledge transfer.

When I was growing up, the mantra was "If it's not written down, it never happened." That accurately conveyed the idea that lessons learned by an individual need to be shared for them to be beneficial to society. Today's version of that saying is "If it's not on Youtube, it never happened." Youtube videos have replaced magazines and books as the medium of knowledge transfer for today's young (and not so young) people.

So, returning to the topic you brought up, I see video mentoring, unless it is openly broadcast and also archived for viewing on demand, as inherently limited in audience. Mentoring via livestream is also resource intensive, requiring expensive live broadcasting equipment, and a communications link. These obstacles can be solved with money. In lieu of that, our team as begun producing instructional videos. These have two audiences. The first is our own new team members who we need to train. The second is any other people in the FRC community who want to know how and why we do what we do. This is an ongoing project, and the first two episodes have been posted to our Youtube channel. We're putting out new episodes at a rate of about one a week. (Filming is quicker than editing.)
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Last edited by ToddF : 05-17-2018 at 12:37 PM.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 12:36 PM
GreyingJay GreyingJay is offline
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Re: Video Mentoring

^ I could see the usefulness of short video tutorials on specific topics.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 01:18 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. We are referring to real time- video mentoring for technical components such as programming, design, etc.. I am not referring to training videos at this point (though that could be an interesting component in the future).

Thanks

Last edited by evandunk : 05-17-2018 at 01:26 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Unread 05-17-2018, 02:41 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

I did some pair programming sessions over video with my former team in MN from Seattle this past season. The coding portion can work pretty well, in fact, with tools like Slack which let me interact with the screen as they work, I almost prefer it too the awkwardly standing over the shoulder in person experience.

The two primary challenges I noticed where:
1) The latency involved in debugging issues with the robot. It's hard for me as the teacher to see things like "two of the three cim motors on one side of the drivetrain are not wired."

2) The lack of physical feedback makes it hard to know if the I am being clear in what I am saying and that the student is following.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about our setup or anything like that. I am curious to know who else out there is video mentoring and the tools they use to help them overcome some of the challenges.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 03:09 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

I'm going to be giving a programming class next month. I'm looking at setting up Open Broadcaster, so I can record the slide deck and presenter (picture in picture). Then have a additional camera to switch to when using the white board. I just hope to have time so I can get it setup.

I like the format Derbycon (Computer Security conference) uses for their videos.

Brian
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Unread 05-18-2018, 09:47 AM
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Re: Video Mentoring

Thank you. I will keep you posted as to what we learn.
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Unread 05-19-2018, 03:30 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

We've been working on doing this on a large scale. Only a few months old, now that the season is winding down we will be concentrating on developing the many videos, documents, and links to complete the RobotsExplained website.


https://www.robotsexplained.com/
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Unread 05-20-2018, 01:06 AM
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Re: Video Mentoring

I would love to hear about people's experiences with remote mentoring. Specifically, how one might deliver effective CAD and code review and advice (video chat, screen sharing?).

As someone heading off to college in another state next year, I am trying to figure out the best way to continue interacting with my team. While I don't want to get too sucked into build season while learning to navigate college, sending long text-based messages with advice just doesn't feel the same as talking in real time.
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Unread 06-12-2018, 11:32 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

We used video mentoring for my team in Mountain Home, AR while I was at school at MIT near Boston, MA. It worked great and we successfully built our design and had a great time.
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Unread 06-13-2018, 10:18 AM
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Re: Video Mentoring

Because of the composition of our HS, (we're a regional school, some students travel over 90min each way to/from school), it's difficult for some students to stay after school on a regular basis, especially pre-season. (It's a bit easier "sell" to the parents to have to come get them during the build season.)

As far as programming goes, that does present a problem of trying to teach the students.... For some it's their first language, 2nd for others (school teaches Python), while some are leaning Java concurrent w/ the CompSci Python class.

For the last 2 seasons I have held training sessions once or twice per week nightly online via Google Hangouts. (Will be Meet this year.) I have a slide deck, as well as screenshare of the IDE from my desktop to get them the fundamentals. We do this from September thru November for our off-season event and then begin looking at what we want to do to advance our code base for the next season. Sometimes it's a project not directly on the robot (CV or scouting), but I leave it open for the students to have a say in deciding.

I've also used it to help debug and real-time review code/ideas/problems on the student's machines as they can screenshare back so I can see what they are doing right/wrong.

Would I rather have 5-6 students in a room together, you betcha, but given our constraints we've found this to be an effective substitute, albeit not quite as time efficient.
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Unread 06-14-2018, 11:25 AM
QuatroDoesGood QuatroDoesGood is offline
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Re: Video Mentoring

Last summer I did some video mentoring as a FIRST Global Adviser. I helped to give Mechanical related design advice to Team South Africa. It actually went a lot smoother than one would expect. Although it was difficult to tell what was on the camera exactly due to resolution issues, if they sent CADs of what they were talking about it was fine. When we were discussing design, we used a combination of screen share and Microsoft paint to translate ideas as if we were drawing on a whiteboard. Timezones were troublesome, I had to start the calls at 7 in the morning some days, but that was mainly a symptom of video calling internationally.
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Unread 06-14-2018, 01:54 PM
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Re: Video Mentoring

I do this with 225. Works great for CAD/early design. We have another alumni (Andrew Lobos) who mentors controls remotely as well. It's a great solution if it's difficult to find on-site FIRST knowledge.

We don't do "video mentoring" exactly, but we do have lots of phone calls, video sharing, Webex, etc.
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