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Unread 03-21-2013, 07:04 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

And I thank you for that.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 07:50 PM
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Talking Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Tem1514 Mentor View Post
But really hasn't the meaning already been found, and that is

wait for it;






42


Sorry but I just had to.
And we're now engaged in rebuilding the computer so that we can find the question.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 09:13 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by JM033 View Post
I agree with you that one shouldn't shouldn't judge a team based on a few members convos etc, but, if you were in my position and asked a similar question to the same team, and had the same response. -Wouldn't you just wonder like I did?
Wonder? Absolutely. But I don't think it's fair to make any accusations.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 11:38 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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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.
FIRST should hang this over the door at every event. I learned WAY more as a student working with mentors who managed millions of dollars, wired Apollo capsules, ran real machine tools on the floor, drafted parts for durable goods, and designed hydro-electric turbines than I ever would have learned futzing with an Arduino on my own in my room.

I've had many people tell me over the years, "There's no way high school students did all that!" When I was a student I always tried to refute it. Now I reply with an enthusiastic, "YES! That's the point!!"

If you (the generic reader) go out and get an engineering degree, do you think you'll walk in your first day at Acme Corp. and be the chief engineer of everything in Wile E. Coyote's toolbox? Absolutely not! You'll be astounded by how much everyone else in the room knows, because there's a whole bunch you learn in 30 years of working that they can't quite cram into 4 years of schools.

If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room!

EDIT:
I also think it's worth noting I learned a ton from NEMOS, like the commercial fisherman, pilots (for boats), post office managers, stay-at-home moms, secretaries, etc. It really does take a village.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 11:55 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Justin Montois View Post
Winning is important.
Learning is important.
Inspiring students is important.
Teaching Students is important.

Figuring out how to do all of these at the same time, in my opinion, is the meaning of FIRST.
I think you're missing a major one here. Losing is important. In some cases, more so than winning.
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Unread 03-22-2013, 03:44 AM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by JackS View Post
I think you're missing a major one here. Losing is important. In some cases, more so than winning.
I second this idea.

Losing, like criticism, is the only thing that makes you improve.

Winning just makes your ego smile.

That is why FIRST, borrowing from the sports model, is so effective.
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Unread 03-22-2013, 08:32 AM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

Colleges do a very good job of producing scientists, programmers, engineers, and mathematicians. Let them do that.

In FIRST we inspire. We produce science, programming, engineering, and math students.
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Unread 03-22-2013, 08:49 AM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

Wow, I did not think this would be a huge thread. I have thought about this whole idea for a while and I agree that mentoring is a huge part of first. Mentors are great because they give knowledge to students. If i have know idea whats going on, who do i ask? A mentor, I agree that there are also some things that i just couldnt do. Everyone has a right to run a team how they want as long as the kids come out inspired, and excited about their future, and have learned something. I also believe that students should have a large involvement in what is going on in their team, and how you do that is up to you/your team
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Unread 03-22-2013, 11:43 AM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by George1902 View Post
Colleges do a very good job of producing scientists, programmers, engineers, and mathematicians.
I disagree. They do a good job of producing people with science, programming, engineering, and mathematics degrees.

The practical experience that students learn by working with the mentors on a real life problem -- with real life constraints -- helps produce people who are good at those professions.


To another point discussed here: Losing is inspiring to some. Winning is inspiring to others. A good coach can make either inspiring to his/her team.
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Unread 03-22-2013, 01:42 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

In our team students do most of the things. Mentors do purchasing, scheduling and paper work and software setup on laptop/netbook. Students come up with design, have sub-teams review with mentor and other sub-team. Discuss alternate approach, decide on what we can do in 6 weeks, decide on nice to have features. Get to work, fabricate and assemble, we have basic tools, does not require much training. When mentor sees something may not work, he will gather the team discuss the potential problem and guide in possible solution. If he has no answer, we sleep on it for a later day. Our aim is not to win and go to championship, if we can design and build something is ready to compete, we will be proud. We win some matches and lose some...its life. When we get award, we thank judges for recognizing our efforts. We too come from FLL background our mentors then guided us to do everything, the followed FLL by book. No complaints. This is who we are.
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Unread 03-22-2013, 02:15 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

To quote JVN at a workshop, "There are years when I've designed the entire robot, and years when I've never touched the CAD mouse. It all depends on what the students are capable of, and how far they want to take their skills." (probably some exaggeration here, but you get the point). Our team has two people who can write code, one being me and the other being a mentor. Outside of competition, the programming work is a joint effort, but during competition, I work in the stands to help with scouting. This means that during competition, all programming changes are made by our mentor. This does not reflect who does what amount of work throughout the entire season, but works best for our team. Make sure to understand a team's situation before you make assumptions about them.

Another platitude: a mentor should be a coworker, not a help desk.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 08:04 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by WMFlip16 View Post
Hello,

I am a junior on team 2137 and have been involved in FIRST since I was on an FLL team in 2008. We recently had our first competition of the year at Waterford and did ok. On our second day of the competetion, me and my dad went in early because i had some work to do with my code. We moved into the cafeteria and I started debugging the code and adjusting things. After a while, some mentors came in and sat down at a table and began talking. They talked of things that needed to change, which I have no problem with, and how they could improve it. The part that i had a problem with was when a mentor started talking about what HE had changed, and what HE had did, which bugged me. It also bugged me that the team won an award for their programming.

This brings up a question.
Is this your team? Is winning more important than learning? Is it really helping inspire or teach students? So please mentors, let us do all the work, Its better that way. Maybe you too can win the award titled "I dont do anything" like our programming mentor did.

Sincerely, A Peeved Programmer
What others have said is true: you don't really know the whole story.

I actually thought you were talking about my team and me specifically as a mentor until I saw that you weren't at the Arizona Regional.

During the competition, our lead programmer, who was also responsible for the chairman's award video, had to take a break to finish the video (no minute like the last minute! We do it Plasma Style!) In the meantime, the pit crew was having troubles getting the robot working on the practice field.

So, as the programming mentor, I filled in for our programmer and helped the pit crew, and also finished some outstanding code/sensor calibrations so that our robot could aim. When I needed a lunch break and the pit crew seemed about done, I came back to the cafeteria and told the programmer what I had done while he was busy.

Then we won the programming (Innovation in Control) award for the work that the students had done.

In summary: you have to spend an entire build season with a team before you can assume that their mentors are doing all of the work.
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Unread 04-04-2013, 10:56 AM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Calvin Hartley View Post
I'd like to expound on this, as I can relate. Heavily. I participated in FLL for 6 years before joining my FRC team. Not only that, but my FLL team was very successful. We got better and better over the years too. By our last season we decided to go to the World Festival. So we did, we won the State Championship and got to go to Worlds. All this to say that our coaches and mentors did nothing. After this I jumped into FRC. I tried to keep an open mind and not compare it to FLL, but even that as hard. There were times I would get frustrated with how much the mentors did. By now I've gotten used to it (mostly).

I think the key is to understand the difference between the programs. FLL is "designed to get kids excited about engineering and technology*". The tools FLL uses are also built for kids to use. I think at their age, if they weren't doing the work they probably wouldn't get much out of it. I know I wouldn't have. FRC is vastly different, it has much more advanced machines, older students, and a far different mentor-student interaction. FRC's goal is to inspire, regardless of how the inspiration comes about. They strive to inspire "by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs.**" If an FRC mentor has to make a part to inspire a student, that's fine. If the student can then make a part himself, that's great!

To summarize, I think FLL is to get kids excited. "This is fun!!" FRC is to get them inspired. "Look at what we/I can do."

Well I hope this post makes some sense, it's all just my thoughts and opinions. Hope it helps.
-Calvin

*From the FLL website.

**From the FRC website.

Calvin, I believe you have hit the nail on the head. It is this inconsistency between the FLL program and FRC program, that leads to this frustration. I am the OP's dad and programming mentor. We too had a improving run in FLL runs, and in 2008 placed 2nd in Michigan, and represented MI at the US open in Dayton. Not only is there a difference in who is to do the work, in FLL there is no Teleop either, so programming is much more important aspect of robot performance in FLL than FRC. There was just a post on CD about teams that don't use sensors, and are very successful at the FRC level.

The OP was blessed his freshmen year, with programming seniors that refused to touch the programming laptop, and made him do everything in labview. They were programming, he was learning labview. The second year, he was able to pick up and run with the ball without much mentoring, except for defining what we needed to work on during build, Beescript Autonomous, Holding on the bridge with encoders, ball shooter speed control with pid, drive straight with gyro feedback, encoder distance control..

So yes, "I don't do anything", but that is really only a statement based on today. Today I have a strong programmer on the team, that takes ownership of his work, is very happy to have the weight of competition on his shoulders, and is inspired.

Tomorrow, when I don't have that, I might have to do some work. But whoever the programmer or programmers is then, will understand the code, debug the code, and understand the limitations of the control system, before it goes on his, or her bot. If we only drive, that's ok, if we don't use sensors, thats ok, many teams are competitive doing that too. In fact TORC made it to nationals without encoders and gyro's the Breakaway year.

As pointed out many times in these posts, the yardstick is to inspire, so if a team inspires, I am good with it. You can't really measure inspiration of the team members, from an overheard mentor conversation.

I know, I would hate to be judged by some of the mentor conversations I have had in the past...
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Unread 04-04-2013, 03:24 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

Man-o-man....I'm not getting involved here. Last time I was in this discussion, my "reputation" was blasted off the board. (hence the little red dots by my name) All I will say is as a mentor I would MUCH rather teach a student than "inspire" a student. I've seen extreme cases of both scenarios. I've seen teams with NO leadership, and I've seen teams where the students are not even in the pits. But hey...whatever floats your boat. I'm not going to get flamed again for this argument.

I believe that if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.
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Unread 04-04-2013, 03:54 PM
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Re: The Meaning of FIRST

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Originally Posted by sabruce01 View Post
Man-o-man....I'm not getting involved here. Last time I was in this discussion, my "reputation" was blasted off the board. (hence the little red dots by my name) All I will say is as a mentor I would MUCH rather teach a student than "inspire" a student. I've seen extreme cases of both scenarios. I've seen teams with NO leadership, and I've seen teams where the students are not even in the pits. But hey...whatever floats your boat. I'm not going to get flamed again for this argument.

I believe that if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.
One of the only ways to get a lot of reds by your name here is to have the "wrong" opinion on this subject. Sort of frustrating how much of an echo chamber it becomes at times.

(Note: I'm not saying I didn't deserve the negative I got for my earlier post here. I did. No matter which side you're on, you should be respectful to people with the opposite argument and not stray into personal attacks.)
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