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rules. does this really apply? how is it enforced?

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  • #16
    Foster, I appreciate the input. and I agree with 100% of what you said. However, I believe you and others have missed my point. While there is a fine line between giving direction and not, there is stark difference in doing the work for someone and mentoring them. I definitely mentor the teams I work with and do not do the work for them. Never have I let them sit there and flounder around. I have also never assembled one single part or programmed their robot for them. I have taught them how a latch works, or how to build a sequencer in their code, abso freaking lutely. Also, In no way can I go to another school and put oven mitts on a bunch of teachers/parents/mentors, it wouldn't go over so well. The original questions still stand, does this rule apply? how is it enforced?

    The answers I have received are "no it's not, it doesn't really matter, it can't be enforced, no it won't be, and I'm done with this rule". Which is fine. Also, based on the feedback, the experienced mentors here are ok with a child having a college level topic programmed into their robot that they can not explain in any form or fashion. Which is also fine. I just wanted to know what the community thinks. So when my child's teacher smacks me with a ruler (figuratively) for simply searching the RobotC web help file and pointing out a solution (e.g. an instruction to zero the motor) to my child I will send her to this forum post and let her read all of your feedback.

    To explain the 15 tickets to state, let's say said school has 5 teams which all go to the same 5 competitions, 2 of their teams win the teamwork challenge at all 5, one of their teams also win the excellence award at all 5. These awards are spread across all 5 teams at the 5 competitions. That is 15 tickets to state they have won, yes, they only have 5 robots going to state. Again the question remains, what is the point in this? And don't give me the hone and improve your skills line, if they wanted to hone and improve their skills they would design and build their own robots...and if you needed to hone and improve your driving skills then first of all drive (instead of running a program during the driving skill) and second do you really need to improve if you're putting up double the score of your closest competitor at a given competition.

    I'm glad you hate these discussions.I would rather not have them as well. Fostet et al., since you all are such seasoned vets at this robotics thing and can run circles around me with your experience, you should speak with Vex and have this so despised "student led" rule revised, reworded, and reworked such that it is reasonable, enforceable and fosters a learning environment (and I won't get my hand smacked with a ruler).

    You all have helped me well, next year will be much more hands on.
    Last edited by driveguy; 02-13-2018, 09:51 AM.


    • #17
      Driveguy, your thread seems to have diverged into two separate discussions, and one of them (why do teams continue competing in qualifying events after qualifying for regional championships?) is being paralleled in the VEX World Coaches Association group on Facebook. It's a polarizing subject that coaches feel strongly about, one way or the other, and I believe a lot of the opinions begin and end with the teams' goals for the season.

      My team, for example, feels like after being interviewed by judges multiple times at Worlds last year they might have been close to winning a judged award. Their goal for this season is to not only return to Worlds but to be a contender for Judged awards, including Excellence. To do that (as you likely already know) they have to be contenders in every facet of the larger competition.

      Their STEM project, engineering notebook, and interview must be exceptional, and they're continuing to work on those.

      They have to rise to the top in Teamwork once at Worlds, which requires that they have considerable experience in creating and adapting driving strategies with other teams. This experience comes from tournaments, the more the better.

      Lastly, and speaking directly to your "do you really need to improve if you're putting up double the score of your closest competitor at a given competition" question above, they must rise to the top of the *global* skills heap. Being the best in your region is not enough if you're shooting to be the best in the world. Period. Given that each of these teams is starting from the same place (mentor involvement aside for the moment), any team with the time and the drive should be encouraged to shoot for being the best, if that's their goal.

      Each of the points above still apply if a team is only shooting to be the best in their region, and win State/Regional Excellence. Qualifying for Regionals early in the season, then not competing for awards again until Regionals deprives teams of opportunities to re-engineer, improve, and test improvements to their robot in competition. It also means they're no longer creating and adapting driving strategies with other teams.

      Now back to your original topic. I agree with your frustration about the differences amongst teams and regions regarding adult mentors vs adult workers, and I believe that all of us in this thread have the same goal of wanting kids to love VEX IQ. RECF appears to work every year to find a happy balance between not enough rules and too many, and I hope that this rule and others will continue to be adjusted in language and tone to strike the right balance. For now, it's up to each of us to do what we believe is right. I love that your child is both being taught and being allowed to lead the engineering process, and it sounds like your interpretation of that rule matches mine exactly.
      Last edited by mlonsinger; 02-13-2018, 10:32 AM.


      • #18
        While this has somewhat taken two different directions, the intent in the conversation all boils back to one root-cause, adult built robots. Adults doing work for students and them presenting it as their own. Students having college level work in their robots that they can not explain in any form or fashion.

        Maybe the rules need to be adjusted such that if you already have a ticket to state/regional, whatever the applicable term may be, that the next runner up gets the ticket if you win yet again. So if one of the two final winners in teamwork already have a ticket and they win then the next highest seeded team in the runner up in finals gets the ticket, if both final winners have a ticket then both runner up teams in the finals gets the tickets. Just offering a compromise solution that would, to me, promote education, not discourage teams who do not have as much adult hands on, and once those that do have adult hands on win they can keep competing and "honing" their "skills"... and leave opportunity for others. Same could be said for excellence award. Now if this is not a good idea I'd be open to hearing criticism of it. I'll stand by my statements and feelings that as it is, it does not foster an environment that is educational or encouraging to the students.

        I do believe that there should be balance between rules and common sense. However, if this topic comes up from time to time and if we hate this subject, then why not make it less gray? Some students themselves take this to the extreme, I've seen students fuss at a mentor for picking up a robot from the floor and putting it on the table saying "you can't touch the robot". And as boiler girl states, she's taken pictures of an adult programming away with no student in site. So my suggestion would make some clear cut examples of what is and what isn't acceptable behavior, that way both the students and the adults have a balanced picture of how things should work... vs. the current generalities that are made in the rules... and as we can see with generalities we are left to people's preferences and opinions, and we all know that never works out.. if it did we wouldn't be coming back to this topic time and time again (albeit this is my first time in the conversation). If we hate the topic so much then let's fix it.

        Here's to more hands on next season.
        Last edited by driveguy; 02-13-2018, 11:21 AM.


        • #19
          I agree that clarification of this rule would help the organization. I haven't attended the EP Summit in previous years, as it's really stinkin' far away from me. That said, I've now heard that there may be some dial-in options that I plan to seek out for the next one. Concrete examples of what's acceptable and what's not would go a long way toward helping mentors make good decisions. Yes, let's fix it, and on a global level.

          Currently, the only on-book penalty I can find for violations is that violators should not be considered for judged awards--which does nothing to address adult-heavy robots in Teamwork and skills. A rule that's more consistent could help ensure that mentors' level of hands-on-help is more consistent, and improve the experience for the kids. (edited--seems there is an option for refs to DQ violators, according to the VEX reply in the "official answers" sub-forum--time for me to go re-read the game manual again!)

          Thanks, Driveguy, and I hope to "see" you at the next EP Summit!
          Last edited by mlonsinger; 02-13-2018, 11:26 AM.


          • #20
            driveguy and @mionsinger -- It may be worth while to split this threat into the "teams that win and take teams" - "teams that push school teams into winning" and "dad-bots" into different threads.

            So I'm going to stay on the "dad-bot" thread here.

            I really can't help. Locally I tamp it down. I tell ALL my parent the oven mitt story, it makes a difference. Feel free to socialize it with your teams. Hit the Dollar Store and buy a pair as props. I know you can't zip tie mitts to people, but I'm happy to be the role model (?!?) for the crazy EP in Delaware that does that.

            A lot of my life is driven by "and thats why we can't have nice things". LLBean recently announced that they would not honor lifetime replacements due to people abusing the system. I bought duck shoes and at year two they failed, I got new ones. The current pair is at year 20 and I wouldn't send them back.

            Robots is the same thing. A few dozen parents mess things up, but out of 20K robots, they are the minority. But let's use them. Don't take pictures of the parent coding. Go to them and say "Hey, you are writing code, can you help my team?" 50% of the parents don't know that what they are doing is wrong, but all of them are willing to help.

            You are all mentors, you are 100% into making things that seem like disasters become positive learning experiences.

            "Life isn't fair, the Fair comes to town in August" is a phrase I often use. Don't be driven down. We all work and live in a world that isn't fair. We teach roboteers lots of things, here is another.

            Next Paul Copioli is the guy that runs VEX Robotics. They make the parts / software / etc. that we all love. Dan Mantz runs RECF, they run the event part. Paul steps up alot since he is 110% invested in us, he's a long time FRC mentor and he gets the "mentor shaming". Direct your competition changes to Dan, as the CEO, of RECF he can make the changes you want. He's also 110% invested, so your emails to him will also get a response.

            Dan has a hard job, he's running NASCAR but not 60 teams, but 20,000 teams. It's a lot to wrangle, hard to do with lots of issues to manage. Help him help you.

            Lastly, step up, be an Event Partner. It's not has hard as it looks. Roboteers and Parents are excited, the Tournament Manager software will run the scoring side of your event. You can do 16 team events in your school cafeteria. Or has the Kiwi's have proven, in a big back yard with a few BBQ's and some fields.

            I started 10+ years ago with 4 roboteers and 1 event 2 hours away. Next year we had two dozen robots and 6 events. Events are so easy. Some people think you need indoor fireworks, bands, and cheerleaders. You need a place for 16 teams to build (16 tables), a field (on the floor) and a laptop. Math time: 16*6 (16 teams with 4 roboteers and 2 parents) is 96 people. You had that many for Thanksgiving, and with robots you don't need to deal with weird uncle Frank. --- Go Do An Event!!
            Last edited by Foster; 02-13-2018, 02:28 PM.


            • #21
              While the topics could stand alone, again the issue I'm seeing all goes back to adult built robots. In my opinion, while it appears to be two topics, I'm talking about the same thing. It is my opinion if the robots weren't adult built the school wouldn't win 5 for 5 at double the score of their closest opponents...but since they are adult built and since the consensus is from experienced mentors here that it's ok if they are adult built then the next best thing to make this educational AND enjoyable for the students is to make the adult built robot effect have a minimal impact as possible. That's all I'm suggesting.

              That said, post-season, I will be reaching out to Dan to discuss this issue and what should or can be done. I am all about providing real solutions to problems vs. just complaining. I'd rather solve problems than complain any reason I'm an engineer.

              As far as going to the EP Summit physically or remotely, I didn't know such a thing existed, but will definitely look into it, especially if it is in Louisville again this year. That said, I'm not an EP, but I have helped run an event for the last two seasons, and will be stepping up to have a more active role to assist the lead of that event in this next year.

              Good luck to all.


              • #22
                We are back on the cusp, is what I do a "dad-built" or "foster mentored". Mentoring is what you want, just extend it to other teams.

                Your idea to reach out to dan t the EP summit is good. Remember these are staged events, get your vote heard before the pomp starts.