-- tackling the "knowledge gap"

A few weeks ago, Team 694 inaugurated the FIRSTthoughts Project, an initiative tackling disparity between new and experienced teams in the FIRST community. This project is meant to inspire and enable all FIRST teams to share some of their knowledge with teams around the world - for years to come.

At Hartford, we held an “idea drive,” asking teams to donate ideas that have guided them throughout their team’s history. We were really excited by the response that we got: over 30 teams, including both Connecticut powerhouses and rookies, came together to create short, 2-minute videos sharing advice with other teams.

This project can go even further. We would like to ask FIRST teams, alumni, mentors and sponsors to contribute their knowledge to the archive. The process is easy: make a short video of yourself or team members, upload it to YouTube, and post the video URL to… you’re done! Topics for videos can include anything from a battle plan for fundraising to your team’s nifty trick for fixing leaky pneumatics.

This is a very cool idea. Any way to help organize the videos? Maybe a way to add tags?

Tagging actually does exist – if you scroll down, you’ll see that one of the videos has some tags. We’re working on editing the existing videos so that they have tags too.

We’re also thinking about ways to better organize the videos, even with those tags. For example, some of the advice is “obvious” to experienced teams, but mind-blowing to newer ones. As we aggregate more ideas, hopefully the way to organize them will become clearer.

More suggestions for improving the site would be great!

Already subscribed to your YouTube channel, but assuming other people will be uploading videos as well, will there be any kind of aggregate RSS feed that I can follow?

Amazing idea, thanks for putting this out there.

Great idea! I’ll pass your suggestion on to our lead site developer.

As an update to RyanCahoon’s feature request, there is now a basic RSS feed up at Only videos that we produce at events get posted to the Youtube channel (and not videos produced by other teams), so the rss feed is probably your best bet for catching all of the videos that get posted.

Are there any plans to integrate with the WPI think tank?

The WPI think tank is a great, if underused, resource. We’re tackling the accessibility barriers that it has faced in getting that sort of knowledge out into the FIRST world. By stripping each post down to the basics (a short video containing one idea), we hope that the FIRSTthoughts Project will be a little easier to use.