For the last 16 seasons I’ve been telling my teams, my students, their parents and anyone else that would listen that FIRST is about more than the robots and I believe it.
I’m sure I’m just as frustrated about the premature end to this season as the rest of us. Honestly, I’m pretty depressed, but my team at least had a chance to compete during Week 2 before it all fell apart, and I know that’s way more than most of us are going to get this year, so I’m not going to complain about it or dwell on it anymore.
I’ve dedicated most of my professional life to FIRST and the many hundreds of kids I’ve had the opportunity to work with and it wasn’t because of robots. I found in FIRST a way to contribute to the development of a generation of problem solvers.
Well, it appears that there is a problem to solve. It might not be as fun as Infinite Recharge, but it’s at least as worthwhile.
There are around 3900 drive stations that aren’t going to be used as planned. Ours (and all the rest of our machines) will be running BOINC and the Rosetta@home project to help identify proteins relevant to the coronavirus.
How much computational power can our community contribute? What other projects are out there? We might take those Raspberry Pi’s that aren’t doing any vision processing and convert them to a cluster for distributive citizen science projects (vision processing wasn’t working too well anyway).
Our school is closed through April 3rd. Online classes will begin a week from tomorrow after our extended Spring Break ends. My Upper and Middle School Robotics and Engineering classes will be Shifting Gears and learning to play Foldit online where you can contribute to research for potential antivirals to combat coronavirus:
We will also be taking advantage of the opportunity provided by this forced time-out from robotics to learn to use Geographic Information Systems and the resources that ESRI has provided for COVID-19:
Schools can get free Esri and ArcGIS accounts for their students including ArcGIS Desktop.
When our online classes commence, Team 5804 will reboot our 2020 Season. Job 1 is to co-create our Coronavirus curriculum.
How are you going to Shift Gears?
The season isn’t over, it’s just different.