Reflections on the Coaches’ Workshop

The CW is always a tricky thing to prepare for since the audience is so varied.  There are new people and experienced people.  There are school teachers and parents, as well as technical people and those that are not technical.  Meeting the needs of such a diverse group can be challenging.
I must admit that I also have my own interests and agenda that tends to shape the day’s topics too.  
For the past two years, attendees have asked for more programming time.  I think because programming is the part most coaches are least familiar with. This year I decided to do more programming.  Programming is one of our main strengths, so we were excited to talk about it.  I really would like to see more people understand the NXT and how to use it more fully.   Working with the NXT would be more enjoyable, if they could make it do more.  But so much talk about programming especially at the end of the day, left me wondering if we presented a balanced view of FLL.
Looking back now, perhaps we should have had a review or summary at the end of the workshop.  So in this blog I will say the things I should have said in my summary of the day…
Remember, the robot is only 25%, so programming is only a small part of FLL.  Teams need to read the challenge documents carefully, evaluate the missions, and choose which ones they want to do.  Beginners will use the MOVE block for most of their programs, and maybe the WAIT block too.  But a lot of their time will be in learning to work together as a team, making decisions, enjoying learning new things and solving problems.  They will be researching Food Safety, identifying problems, having discussions, coming up with creative solutions.  They will take what they’ve learned and share it with others.   This way of learning is FUN! 
Also, each group will have a different story, since there is room within the challenge to define it to suit the team’s skills, interests, and experience.  There is not one right way of doing FLL.  Each team will find their own way that is uniquely theirs.  The season is defined  by the decisions the team makes. Do what you can do, and come to the tournament prepared to share and celebrate your learnings and accomplishments.
For some groups the robot will be the favorite part, for others it will be the project they enjoy most. Many will say it was the tournament that was most fun.   FLL is a fun learning experience and there is something in it for everyone.
If you need help check the listserv and the forums.  Post a question to the group.  You can also contact us at info@robodesigners.com .  
Thank you for coaching.  I’m looking forward to hearing your team’s story of this year’s FLL season.  
Cari
Posted in News, Outreach, Workshop

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