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Unread 02-21-2011, 10:39 PM
Andrew Schreiber Andrew Schreiber is offline
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Re: Mentors on drive team

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Originally Posted by Jstack14 View Post
To me, mentors should not be on the drive team. FIRST is about the students. Yes we need mentors to learn, however many teams take this to far. The driving should be all about the students. The strategy should be the students. Sure the mentors should give their advice before competition and the students should take it in, but it should be the STUDENTS hchoice. If mentors become overinvolved failures aren't as impactful. As a member of a strictly student build studnet run team, i have learned som uch from our shortcomings and successes. Our mentors give us input AFTER we come up with our ideas, but before we do something dumb. They give suggestions fo our designs after we try to troubleshoot them completley. Mentors should be just hat, a guide, a teacher. Teachers don't let their students completly fail, however they do let them explore and learn for them self first.


FIRST is not about the students. It is about changing the culture. We mentors are not educators first we are inspirations first (someone find me a way of saying that so I don't sound quite so conceited?) and educators second.

I have talked to students on hundreds of teams (I talk to ~1000 students each year at the CMP event alone) and most of these students don't make a distinction between student built and mentor/student built. They don't make a distinction between who designed it or who is drive coaching. They are just totally geeked to be seeing people from all across the globe who share their passion. FIRST isn't about building robots it is about giving students the courage to follow their passions. If that passion is designing and building robots, cool. If it is fashion design, cool. I outright tell my students that I don't care if they have no interest in the robot, you are welcome on this team. I will find a way to use your skills and your passions. And if you don't know what you want I will help you find what you are passionate about.

You will spend the next 8 years of your life learning the why and the how; Let your mentors show you the wow. Let them show you why engineering is so freaking awesome.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 11:03 PM
davidthefat davidthefat is offline
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Re: Mentors on drive team

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
FIRST is not about the students. It is about changing the culture. We mentors are not educators first we are inspirations first (someone find me a way of saying that so I don't sound quite so conceited?) and educators second.

I have talked to students on hundreds of teams (I talk to ~1000 students each year at the CMP event alone) and most of these students don't make a distinction between student built and mentor/student built. They don't make a distinction between who designed it or who is drive coaching. They are just totally geeked to be seeing people from all across the globe who share their passion. FIRST isn't about building robots it is about giving students the courage to follow their passions. If that passion is designing and building robots, cool. If it is fashion design, cool. I outright tell my students that I don't care if they have no interest in the robot, you are welcome on this team. I will find a way to use your skills and your passions. And if you don't know what you want I will help you find what you are passionate about.

You will spend the next 8 years of your life learning the why and the how; Let your mentors show you the wow. Let them show you why engineering is so freaking awesome.
Too bad you live all the way in Michigan... You seem like a very interesting person to talk to.


edit: I ask why not and how before why.
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Last edited by davidthefat : 02-21-2011 at 11:08 PM.
  #108   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-21-2011, 11:15 PM
Andrew Schreiber Andrew Schreiber is offline
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Re: Mentors on drive team

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Originally Posted by davidthefat View Post
Too bad you live all the way in Michigan... You seem like a very interesting person to talk to.


edit: I ask why not and how before why.
Qualify for St Loius, I'll be representing Kettering University for, probably, the last time ever.
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Unread 02-22-2011, 01:07 AM
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Re: Mentors on drive team

As a driver myself and with the experience of having both a mentor and student as the Drive Coach, my opinion is that a mentor should fill the position for many reasons.

1. Yes, we students tend to tunnel vision on a single aspect of the game. We tend to forget limitations, penalties, and consequences. We need a clear and open mind to communicate these to us.
2. Isn't it the responsibility of the mentors to guide the students? Would that not also apply during matches?
3. As for the "mentor hands off" policy, the suggestions a mentor Drive Coach makes are just that - suggestions. There were many times I didn't follow these, and more times then not our team suffered.
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Unread 02-22-2011, 09:08 AM
GW Kalrod GW Kalrod is offline
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Re: Mentors on drive team

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
FIRST is not about the students. It is about changing the culture. We mentors are not educators first we are inspirations first (someone find me a way of saying that so I don't sound quite so conceited?) and educators second.

I have talked to students on hundreds of teams (I talk to ~1000 students each year at the CMP event alone) and most of these students don't make a distinction between student built and mentor/student built. They don't make a distinction between who designed it or who is drive coaching. They are just totally geeked to be seeing people from all across the globe who share their passion. FIRST isn't about building robots it is about giving students the courage to follow their passions. If that passion is designing and building robots, cool. If it is fashion design, cool. I outright tell my students that I don't care if they have no interest in the robot, you are welcome on this team. I will find a way to use your skills and your passions. And if you don't know what you want I will help you find what you are passionate about.

You will spend the next 8 years of your life learning the why and the how; Let your mentors show you the wow. Let them show you why engineering is so freaking awesome.
I'm really going to have to disagree with you here. I know we all hope that somebody we'll get the same attention as a professional sport or something, but in all honesty, it simply is not likely. It is far more practical, and plain from the mission statement of FIRST, "Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders" that FIRST is almost completely about the students.

You make a reference to "student built" and designed robots and "mentor/student built" robots. No robot is purely student built, simply because students are not allowed to run a team by themselves. The distinction should instead by made between, "mentor/student built" robots, which are great, and "mentor built" robots, which are not. I think many students, myself included, find an issue when we see 3 mentors working on a robot in the pit, while students are nowhere to be found. To be clear, I'd rather not have a working robot then to have a robot that is only working due to mentors' work.

Look, we already know the mentors can build a robot, many are professional engineers. The goal of mentors should not be to simply create a robot in order to inspire students. Rather, their goal should be to help students discover that they have the ability to think creatively and solve problems by helping those students work through an incredibly difficult 6 week challenge. Not, by doing it for them.

FIRST may not be "about" building robots, but when mentors build the majority a team's robot, they are not "giving students the courage to follow their passions."
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  #111   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-22-2011, 09:20 AM
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Re: Mentors on drive team

The best thing about this subject is you can choose what is best for your team. There is no correct answer. If a student only drive team works for you, great. If you want a mentor on your drive team great. Do what is best for you team.
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  #112   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-22-2011, 08:21 PM
Jstack14 Jstack14 is offline
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Re: Mentors on drive team

To me, First is all about the students. Yes FIRST tries to inspire others to follow stem carrers and change the culture, but it has to start with its team's. The experince i have gained from a strictly student built team (granted mentors guide us but we do all of the building and design) is invalueable. I feel like many teams miss this opurtunity. There is nothing compareable with the "WOW" factro of seeing the robot YOU built work. Nothing. It's one thing to have a robot that is incredible represent your team, but to me, having a robot that is sub par that you built is far superior. Knowing YOU can create something that achieves a hard task (even if it isn't hte best at it) truly inspires students to be an engineer. We see engineeres creations all over, FIRST is our chance to do it ourself.

I have no problems with menotors guiding and working along side students, but a ocmmon situation i have noticed on teams is that the mentors show the students "this is how you should do it" whereas the students should be seeking out the mentors and asking, would this work. FIRST should be about students giving it their best shot, then the mentors guiding them if they are way off base, or the mentors giving suggestions on how to imporve or alter the design proposed y the students. That design and engineering process was pivital to my first experince.

Another big problem, as osmeone else mentioned, is when menotrs are all in the pits with none or few students. If you come by my teams pit you will see 4 or 5 students hard at work with a mentor or coach watching over them, being that watchful eye making sure everything is safe. Our students are impressive because we know the robot through and through, top to bottom, and it is truly ours. We can claim it and take pride in its accomplishments. I just feel sorry for those students who don't get the oppurtunity to truly create a robot themself, while being GUIDED, by mentors.

And you are right, we will spend 8 years learning how and why, and we will spend our whole live seeing others creations. FIRST gives us the chance to take the how and why we have learned thus far and apply it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
FIRST is not about the students. It is about changing the culture. We mentors are not educators first we are inspirations first (someone find me a way of saying that so I don't sound quite so conceited?) and educators second.

I have talked to students on hundreds of teams (I talk to ~1000 students each year at the CMP event alone) and most of these students don't make a distinction between student built and mentor/student built. They don't make a distinction between who designed it or who is drive coaching. They are just totally geeked to be seeing people from all across the globe who share their passion. FIRST isn't about building robots it is about giving students the courage to follow their passions. If that passion is designing and building robots, cool. If it is fashion design, cool. I outright tell my students that I don't care if they have no interest in the robot, you are welcome on this team. I will find a way to use your skills and your passions. And if you don't know what you want I will help you find what you are passionate about.

You will spend the next 8 years of your life learning the why and the how; Let your mentors show you the wow. Let them show you why engineering is so freaking awesome.
  #113   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-23-2011, 10:55 AM
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Re: Mentors on drive team

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Qualify for St Loius, I'll be representing Kettering University for, probably, the last time ever.
It's good i live in michigan maybe ill meet you. And maybe at st. louis.
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  #114   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-23-2011, 09:57 PM
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Re: Mentors on drive team

I think we're losing sight a little on what the role of the coach is, and how different driving the robot is from a lot of the rest of the FIRST processes.

As a slight case and point, I managed to get my permit today, and my father took me out to one of the quieter places of our area to give me a little experience about what you need to do to drive and park. Let me tell ya, while most of you probably already know, driving is something different. Unlike things like the build process, or even Chairman's, it's all about split second decisions. It opened my eyes to how knowledgeable and experienced my father is in terms of driving, and how absolutely intense it is. With my dad's help, I was able to pick up on a few things, but there were some things that he had to let me know or tell me to do, because I wouldn't have had a chance to do it on my own, as there's simply too much sensory input for a beginner to take.

In relation, while I haven't been a driver for the team, I can understand that it pretty much works the same: you have 2 minutes to pretty much make a hundred split decisions on how you should work the robot, and where you don't catch things, the coach picks up. He is there to help the driver realize things that he can't, and what he catches will likely come from experience, that experience being a whole lot different than what we builders, programmers, CADers and all are used to.

For this and other reasons, we choose our coach himself to be the drive coach, because not only is he an experienced engineer, but he's been doing this since his time in Indiana, and has the most experience on our team in terms of making these split second decisions.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that another team's most experienced driver/driver coach will be a mentor; sometimes it may be a student, or even an Alumni, if I'm not mistaken. It may even be more than one person, or, in on rookie teams, be whoever happens to get the most practice. In any case, they should at least get some practice in giving this advice.

In summary, who the drive coach is, in my opinion of course, shouldn't be dependent on whether or not they are a student or a mentor, but how much experience and split second advice they can provide to these drivers to make them get the most out of their experience. That way, both the team and the drivers are getting the most out of their time and effort.
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Unread 02-24-2011, 06:42 AM
Jstack14 Jstack14 is offline
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Re: Mentors on drive team

Ok on the topic of coaches...

Our team has a fully student drive team. Our coach is a student and our reason for this is two fold. One we want to give as many students the oppurtunity to have that experince. It is incredible to drive something you built and see how it stacks up. We also have noticed our student coaches catch the same amount of stuff as the mentors do. We require anyone who wants to be the coach to read the rule book through and take a test that has the important rules for the game. Untill they have a 100% they can't be the coach. The second reason i think students make a good coach is experince for following years. Drivers are best when htey are experinced. We want all 4 drive team members to be as experinced as possible with FRC competition so we always have atleast 1 or more (this year 3) undercalssmen as drivers/coach/human player. Your mentor won't always be ocming back but most of the time a dedicated student will. Also being on the drive team is so inspirational and that is what FIRST is about...
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