I decided to start a new thread instead of hijacking other threads. There are people who thinks that FIRST is not about robot, and people/teams who want to make robots more competitive are missing the point. The person I mostly want to have this conversation with is Blake but others are welcome to chime in and have this discussion. Blake, you know we are miles apart in our opinion on a number of issues based on our past discussions. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for you and your opinion. In fact if we ever have a chance to meet, I want to sit down with you and listen to more of what you have to say. I am sure I can learn something from you.
You said in the other thread that “The on-the-field performance of teams/robots is not the central focus of the FRC program described on FIRST’s website, nor is it the thread tying together the many descriptions offered by FRC’s founders and current leaders.” Let’s examine that more closely.
This is a link to a quote from Dean Kamen and is on the FIRST website. http://www.firstinspires.org/sites/default/files/uploads/dean-quote_1.png
He said FIRST is more than robots. I think most people agree. He never said FIRST is not about robots. The program is FIRST Robotics Competition, not FIRST Robotics Science Fair and Exhibition.
The mission of FIRST 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.
Engage kids in kindergarten through high school in exciting, Mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders, as well as well-rounded contributors to society.
I highlighted what I think are key words. As the lead engineering mentor of my previous team, what was I supposed to do? Do you not want me to teach my kids all the engineering skills they need to make their robot more successful on the field? Should I only teach them but tell them not to implement it because FIRST is not all about robots? Should I not teach them how to make their robot work as they have dreamed it would? Should they not have a robot they would get excited about because it performed well on the field? I am confused.
Blake, why does on the field success and off the field success have to be exclusive. Look at the HOF teams. (I don’t know all the teams so I am only listing teams I know. I apologize not mentioning some teams.) Look at 27, 1114, 359, 341, 111, 67 and 254. They always have competitive robots too. In Michigan, there are also teams like 33, 68, 503, 1023, 2337 and others who won Chairman’s at MSC and have competitive robots every year. They are all an inspiration to me and my former team. My former team didn’t do too bad either, winning the last 4 district events as 1st pick or Alliance Captain #1. They also won Chairman’s at MSC last season.
Blake, I hope you will stop advocating that one is more important than the other. I think they are both important. I wanted my students to have the total FIRST experience and not just the robot. It does not have to be exclusive. It just takes more work. Doing one and saying the other is not important is an excuse and a disservice to the students you are trying to inspire.