Attention FTC Teams! I Need Feedback!

As many of you know, the state competitions are coming up! Although the mad-rush of the day keeps most of us from being able to look around and take things in, the state competitions are in many ways an opportunity to see how other teams have gone about building their robot, doing community outreach, and to communicate with teams you maybe haven’t heard of. But why is this? Why is it that many teams don’t end up talking (on a regular basis) with other teams in their area, in their state, or even worldwide?
Wouldn’t it be great if every FTC team had a free blog on WordPress? Teams could establish their website at the same time they posted updates about their robot; and most importantly, comment and connect with other FTC teams! Not only would teams learn from each other, but this would give teams a big picture view of what other teams are doing. Unlike a Facebook page, a WordPress site allows a team to show off their team in the best of light. I feel that team websites should be designed to show off the team in the same way they would want to present in front of the judges at a competition. WordPress allows teams to do that. In contrast, a Facebook page only allows teams to update what they’re doing, and post pictures. There is very little organization and the presentation is textbook-standard. Not to mention that on WordPress, teams that follow other FTC teams will have a refined newsfeed (exclusively other robotics teams) and will be more likely to actually read what other teams have to say. This idea is not something that would happen overnight, but I feel that it is something that if promoted correctly, could grow into a movement of sorts.

I plan to type up a simple brochure that explains the idea, and what teams can and should do to connect with other FTC teams. Our teams will then spread this brochure around to other teams at the Iowa FTC state competition, and with any luck, many teams will follow this idea and do as we have done.
The point of this post is mainly to get feedback from other FTC teams about the idea. Is it realistic? Is there something else I could do to make it better? Really any advice is helpful. In addition, if you would like, I would be happy to put your team’s blog address on the brochure. For many teams, having blogs to follow right away would be incentive to continue to update and enhance their own site. Also, teams whose addresses I have on the brochure would also likely gain extra followers to their site and would give them more teams to interact with.
Please comment below if you would like your site address on the brochure and/ or if you have any feedback to give.

Thanks and good luck with your season!

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18 thoughts on “Attention FTC Teams! I Need Feedback!

  1. I agree that wordpress is an excellent blogging site, but each team has its preference of media, and it would be hard to get everyone to use the same site. Although, I would personally prefer that. 😛
    Anyways, I’m a big fan of your team. Keep up the good work

    • Yeah getting everyone to convert seems to be the biggest issue with the idea. But I’m in the process of typing up the brochure that we plan to hand out at state, so with any luck we might get a few teams to get on board with the idea. And thanks!

  2. I think that is a decent idea. Be sure to tell the judges about this venture, it could score you some points for the inspire or connect award! As far as media goes, WordPress is already well known and used by a surprising amount of corporations as well as for private use, so it is definitely your best bet for a universal collaboration of FTC team websites. I know some teams that use Weebly, another free website provider. As an alternative idea, I think that even if not all teams use wordpress it would be really cool to have a database in which every team could post their web address. This might be something as simple as a thread in the FTC forums. It would be really cool if teams could look up other teams via name, team number, state, region, size of team, etc. I’m not exactly sure how this would be powered, but it is something I have often thought about looking in to. Whatever you decide to do, I would be thrilled if you would put http://www.chariotsoffirerobotics.wordpress.com on your brochure.

    Hope that helped,

    The Chariots of Fire

    • Thanks for responding! I’ll be sure to put your address on the brochure, so hopefully you’ll be hearing from other teams in a few weeks. And I really like the idea of making a database! That’s probably the best way to connect FTC teams w/o worrying about which site they’re on.
      And Thanks again for the feedback!

  3. Our team currently maintains a wikispace on which we have info about our team and a journal of what we do each meeting, but we are considering changing to wordpress next year. When looking up other teams near us, we have found that there are huge amounts of abandoned wikis and blogs from teams that stopped using them. We totally support the idea that our teams should have some uniform means of keeping touch, or at the very least a database to link everyone together. Has/does your team have a wiki? If so, are there advantages to switching to wordpress? We would really appreciate the feedback.

    • Hey guys, thanks for the feedback! And I’m glad you brought this up because I actually have experience with both sites. Last year our team had a wikisite and I personally didn’t like how unprofessional it always looked. Although wikispaces is built to establish websites, and wordpress is more built for blogs, I can say without a doubt that wordpress is the better site for both! Not only is wordpress aesthetically superior to wiki, they also make customizing your site a lot easier. Menu formatting is more intuitive and there are a multitude of widgets for you to use to promote your site, make it user friendly, etc. although a lot of the really really nice themes and customizations are paid, many of the themes are free and some allow a good deal of customization (this depends entirely on the theme creator). In addition, every Thursday, wordpress introduces three new themes and at least one is a free theme – so if you get bored of how your site looks, new themes are always being made and you can switch to one you like more. All of the posts/pages and content of the original site get transferred between themes so no worries there.
      Overall, I really enjoy using wordpress because of it’s intuitive design and highly personalizable appearance.

      • Thank you for your advice. I am going to discuss switching to wordpress with other team members, and hopefully we can start the transition to it for next season. Also regarding team publicity, does your team have youtube, twitter, etc.? I have seen quite a few twitter accounts for teams, but I was surprised at the lack of youtube channels there were for teams, considering that would be one of the easier ways to promote your robot.

      • We do have a channel, High Voltage Robotics, but we are having some difficulty in others finding it. We’re hoping that when our views and subscrptions go up that problem will go away… I found your team’s channel and found a video of one of the matches we were up against you guys. Our robot back then seems so different than the one we have now. I almost forgot how hard it was to pick up blocks back then! Lol.

      • That’s kind of cool – I didn’t know we had a video of us both competing against each other. Our robot looks a lot different now too. It’s really cool to look back and see the old versions of the robot and look at all that’s changed.:) Do you have a link to your channel that we can follow?

      • Oh yeah we did but we didn’t do too well. Our first 3 matches blew up in our faces – then we did better in our last three. We ended up placing 9th in our division but we weren’t picked in the finals.
        Were you guys there?

      • Yeah, we did pretty well during the qualifying matches and managed to get picked for an alliance, but we ran into some problems with our robot, and our alliance lost the first round…. We’re hoping to do much better this year!

  4. Hey, Cougars! We, The Droids, completely agree with your statement, and we think it’s a wonderful idea. We will have to seriously consider doing the same in Maryland. If we do end up doing this, we will probably give out a team email as a contact for anyone who has questions about how to start up a website on WordPress, how to run it, etc… since the idea of designing and doing upkeep for a blog/website may be a bit daunting to some. Thanks for the great suggestion, and good luck to you in your efforts.

    • Hey guys, thanks for the feedback! We appreciate your thoughts and we hope you guys are successful with it in your area! If you want, you could add our team site (as a reference for teams) to the flyers/ brochures you use to spread it. I think it gives the idea more credibility if you can prove that other teams outside of your local area are on board with the idea.
      Anyways, thanks for the feedback and good luck!
      Thanks for the

      • Awesome idea! You can do the same with us. Also, what might be good is to compile a list of FTC teams in our own areas, with the teams’ permission of course, just to show teams who they’ll be able to connect with.

  5. Absolutely! I’m hoping that this really catches on and that other local teams will jump on board with the idea. For me, the biggest challenge is getting teams like you to like the idea and have their site on the brochure so that when I do hand it out to the other local teams we already have some credibility.

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