Ask An Expert: Informational Calls for Teams, Mentors and Coaches

Every year, our FIRST Senior Mentors host informational calls for rookie and veteran teams, mentors and coaches. These are invaluable for those who are new to FIRST and also for those who need to brush up on their skills. Typically, these calls begin in late August and continue through February of the following year, and in the end, cover roughly 25 topics, cross-program.

Here are some sample topics from previous years:

  • FLL:  Coach 101-The Robot Game-Core Values-Judging
  • FTC: Mentor 101-Samantha-Team Strategy
  • FRC: Choosing a Competition-Chairman's Award-Robot Transporation List

Please review our call schedule below for the 2013-2014 season. There are still many calls available, and all of the call recordings are posted to our site within 1-2 days after the call.

For all calls dial: 1-866-951-11511-866-951-1151, Conference room # 9533018


FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Call Schedule

Topic/Outline

Date/Time

Audio Recording

pdficon  Where Do I Start? Coach Orientation August 12, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  FLL Parents: What to Expect August 19, 2013 - 7pm ET  
pdficon  Coaching a Team August 20, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  EV3/NXT - Technical Support Process September 10, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  The Robot Game (runs 2 hours) September 12, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording (start at ~2:15)
pdficon  The Project September 17, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  Basic Programming - NXT
(right click Save As & save to desktop)
pdficon  Agenda - NXT Programming
September 18, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  Core Values/Teamwork September 19, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  Robot Design September 26, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  Basic Programming - EV3 September 30, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  Judging: A Perspective for the Coach October 22, 2013 - 7pm ET
(rescheduled)
Recording
pdficon  Preparing for an FLL Event October 24, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording
pdficon  FLL Global Innovation agenda
FLL Global Innovation ppt
November 12, 2013 - 7pm ET Recording

Where do I start? Coach Orientation

Date: August 12, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Ashley Sleath
Host: Mary Johnson
Overview: Review the materials that every team receives – Coaches’ Handbook, Project DVD, FIRST Compilation DVD, Robot Set, Field Setup Kit, Field
Building instructions. Ideas on how to start team building in the first weeks. Important dates should be reviewed (Challenge Release date, signing up for a Tournament). Field questions as time allows.

FLL Parents: What to Expect?

Date: August 19, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Jen O'Callaghan
Expert: Carol Dostal
Host: Sandy Furman, FIRST Senior Mentor, VA
Overview: As coaches, you may already understand what to expect from the season and events. This call will help you keep parental expectations reasonable and help educate them about the importance of modeling Core Values – especially at events.

Coaching a Team

Date: August 20, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Dan Maggio
Expert: Wally Walter and John Barret
Overview: More detailed description of what to expect as a coach. How to structure the season. Diving into the Coaches’ Handbook. Description of the 3 parts of FLL – Robot Game, Project, and Core Values. Field questions as time allows.

EV3/NXT - Tecnhical Support Process

Date: September 10, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff:Kathy Vachon and Glenn Swinson
Expert: Tim Lankford
Overview: Overview of EV3/NXT robot sets.

The Robot Game

Date: September 12, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Scott Evans
Expert: Scott Evans
Overview: Explanation of the field and mission models. What are the new/changed rules for the season? Tell callers where to find the rules, missions, and Field Setup instructions on the web. Field questions as time allows.

The Project

Date: September 17, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Jinnel Choinierre
Expert: Meg Hunter
Overview: Description of how the Project fits into the theme. Emphasis on the importance of the Project and example of how teams took their Project to the next level. Explain the different steps of the Project and how teams should tackle them. List of resources (YouTube videos) on the web. Field questions as time allows.

Basic Programming: Tips, Skills, & Resources (NXT)

Date: September 18, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Glenn Swinson
Expert: Jason Yount
Overview: High level overview of the software and system requirements to use the LEGO NXT robot set. Where to find resources.

Core Values/Teamwork

Date: September 19, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Sarah Stray
Expert: Vicki Coaty and Jack Riedel
Overview: Review of what the FLL Core Values are. How to emphasize these values with the team. What to expect at tournaments as far as Core Values. Core Values are just as important as the Project and Robot Game. Field questions as time allows.

Robot Design

Date: September 26, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Glenn Swinson
Expert: LeRoy Nelson
Overview: Covers robot building strategies and techniques, the Robot Design rubrics, and the Robot Design Executive Summary.

Basic Programming: Tips, Skills, & Resources (EV3)

Date: September 30, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Glenn Swinson
Expert: Jason Yount
Overview: High level overview of the software and system requirements to use the LEGO ev3robot set. Where to find resources.

Judging: A Perspective for the Coach

Date: October 10, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Kathy Morgan
Expert: Skip Gridley
Overview: High level overview of the simplified judging process for this season. Review of the rubrics and where they can be found (on web). Field questions as time allows.

Preparing for an FLL Event

Date: October 24, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Kathy Levine
Expert: Tim Ewers
Overview: What to expect at an event. Making sure team is registered and has all appropriate information. What to bring to Judging. What does a typical tournament day look like. Field questions as time allows.

FLL Global Innovation

Date: November 12, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Staff: Susannah Smith
Expert: Susannah Smith
Overview: What is the FLL Global Innovation Award? How does it tie into the FLL season? How can your team prepare?

See also: FLL Coach Recordings


FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Call Schedule

FTC Mentoring 101

Date: September 09, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Jill Wilker, FTC Affiliate Partner, Northern California
Overview: Join Jill Wilker, the Northern California FTC Affiliate Partner, as she talks through important aspects of leading your FTC Team.  This webinar is a great opportunity to learn more about the program and ask questions about mentoring your team.

Register Now


FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Call Schedule


FRC Scholarship Call

Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Michelle Long, FIRST Scholarship Manager
Host: Michelle Long, FIRST Scholarship Manager
Overview: Overview of the FIRST Scholarships page; How the Scholarship Program works; Review of scholarship criteria, eligibility and how to apply; How to talk about FIRST scholarship Programs. 

*This call is a Webinar. Click on the agenda below to access the link and access code:

FRC Scholarship Agenda
Recording


FRC Mentor Orientation 101

Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Mike Siegel, FIRST Senior Mentor, NY, & Mike Henry, FIRST Senior Mentor, TX
Host: Mike Siegel, FIRST Senior Mentor, NY, & Mike Henry, FIRST Senior Mentor, TX
Overview: Team Organization, student recruitment, mentor recruitment, team building strategies and registration information.

Agenda
Recording


Effective FIRST Strategies

Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Karthik Kanagasabapathy, Regional Manager, Ontario, Canada
Host: Karthik Kanagasabapathy, Regional Manager, Ontario, Canada
Overview: Strategic Design: How to design a robot; Match Planning/Execution: effective habits and strategies of successful teams; Scouting: effective techniques to collect information on partners and opponents. 

Video Recording - YouTube


Fundraising

Date: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Renee Becker, VISTA, IN
Host: Evan Hochstein, FIRST Senior Mentor, MN
Overview: This will be an introduction to the FIRST Fundraising Tool.

Agenda

Video Recording - YouTube


Control System and Driver’s Station

Date: Monday, January 20, 2014 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Kevin O'Connor, FRC Engineer, FIRST
Host: Kevin O'Conner, FRC Engineer, FIRST
Overview: This session will cover the FRC hardware control system components, programming language options, the 2014 driver station, software tools, and more. This is a great presentation for both Rookie and Veteran teams. Questions will be taken.

*This Ask an Expert Call will be hosted on Google Hangouts on Air.  The link to watch the video on YouTube will be posted on FRC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts 30 minutes before the session is scheduled to start.

Agenda

Video Recording - YouTube

Robot Inspection

Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7 P.M. ET
Expert:  Al Skierkiewicz, FRC Chief Robot Inspector
Host:  Hannah Foust, FRC Program Coordinator
Overview:  This session will cover what your team needs to have ready for robot inspection at event and what to do at the event.  Expert Al Skierkiewicz will also share some advice and best practices.

*This Ask an Expert Call will be hosted on Google Hangouts on Air.  The link to watch the video on YouTube will be posted on FRC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts 30 minutes before the session is scheduled to start.

Agenda

Video Recording - YouTube


Getting Ready for Your FRC Competition

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7 P.M. ET
Expert: Nate Knauss, FRC Mentor, Team 2729
Host: Nate Knauss, FRC Mentor, Team 2729
Overview:  This session will cover how to prepare your supplies and team before leaving for the event.  It will also review how to effectively present your team to Judges and other teams, along with keeping your robot running on the field.   Recommended for Rookie or newer teams.  The recording will be posted to FRC’s YouTube account after completion.

*This Ask an Expert Call will be hosted on Google Hangouts on Air.  The link to watch the video on YouTube will be posted on FRC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts 30 minutes before the session is scheduled to start.

Agenda

Video Recording - YouTube