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November 2008

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From:
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Mon, 10 Nov 2008 13:05:45 -0500
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There have been some great responses to George's note about the 
apparent robo-centric emphasis. I agree that this is more illusion 
than fact, and applaud the great work done by the project and 
teamwork judges and by the tournament officials who have the hard job 
of selecting among many deserving teams to win awards and advance to 
State.

I do think this conversation illustrates a downside of having the 
project get such limited visibility at the tournament. The project 
presentation is done behind closed doors, with only coaches and a 
camera to witness. Unless a team brings a display of some sort to the 
tournament, and unless other teams find the time to look at said 
display, there's little opportunity to share results amidst all the 
excited rushing about. We've been to two regional tournaments and 
came away with scant insight into what any other teams had done for 
their projects, and no sense that anyone other than two judges 
learned what our team had done. Although early in the season the kids 
are  reluctant to spend time on the research instead of the robot, by 
the time they create their presentation they're jazzed about it, so 
it's a bit of a shame not to have that enthusiasm compete at least a 
bit with the roar of the robots.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll maintain that it's 
worthwhile to search for more ways to celebrate the projects, for 
example by adding a celebratory element to the closing ceremony above 
and beyond presenting awards. Even a one--minute synopsis of each 
winning project, delivered by the announcer or a team member, might 
be nice. It's been noted that everyone is tired at the end of the 
day, and understandably loath to add more time to the closing 
ceremony. But if there are tournaments that add more project-focused 
material to the closing, I'd be curious to learn what was done and 
how it went over.

Cheers,
Mike

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