Friday, November 29, 2013

#G8KPR News Article

A news article regarding Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics has been distributed to area news outlets. The article may be viewed on the NACC website: http://www.nacc.edu/news/best_robotics_winners.htm

You may also see the article on The Daily Sentinel site: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_9973206e-5778-11e3-95bc-0019bb2963f4.html

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#G8KPR Fyffe High School in the News

Fyffe High School was recently featured in a story in The Times Journal. A link to the article is located here. However, due to subscription guidelines, only a portion of the article may be viewed without logging in.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#G8KPR It's a Bird...It's a Plane...No. It's Levi and the Ider Candroid

Here is a video interview of the Ider High School Steelheads Robotics Team mascot, the Candroid and his human spokeperson, Levi Goolesby. This was recorded by Southern Torch at Practice Day (Made in DeKalb Expo).


Great job representing BEST Robotics, guys!

Monday, November 18, 2013

#G8KPR Kit Return Reminder

Attention teams:

As stated in the 42 Days of BEST, each school has two options related to the return of the robot kit:

  1. If the team wishes to keep its robot, it may do so by purchasing the returnable kit. Instructions on the purchase of your returnable kit is located on the last page behind Tab 4 of your 2013 Game Manual. Address any questions to Mike Kennamer.
  2. If the team does not wish to purchase its robot, the team must dismantle the robot and turn in all returnable items to Northeast Alabama BEST hub officials no later than November 22, 2013. Teams advancing to South's BEST are not required to return their kit until after South's BEST.
We ask that all teams (whether buying the kit or not) return the tub in which your consumables were provided and return any unused consumable supplies so that we may recycle them for later use.

Please let Nicole Carroll know your intentions regarding the return or purchase of your kit. The hub's sustainability depends upon our being able to reuse kits year after year. Remember that the condition in which you return your kit components is the condition in which you will receive it next year.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Participate in #G8KPR Student Survey and Possibly Win Prizes

BEST Robotics, Inc. is requesting that all students who participated in BEST 2013 #G8KPR take a short survey intended to collect data geared toward workforce/career skills and to ask questions about the 2013 game: Gatekeeper.

Teachers: Please encourage your students to participate in the survey. As an incentive, there will be a drawing for a free robot kit, T-shirts, etc. Be sure that students select their hub as Northeast Alabama BEST (as opposed to North Alabama BEST, which appears a few spaces above Northeast Alabama BEST in the survey).

The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BESTstudents2013. Please share this link with all your students and teammates.

Thanks in advance for your participation in this survey!

 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#G8KPR More of Marshall Tech School in the News

The Sand Mountain reporter recently published another article about the Marshall Technical School's win at Northeast Alabama BEST. Though the article is subscription only, you can see the first part of it here: http://www.sandmountainreporter.com/news/local/article_38fba3bc-48c5-11e3-9d85-001a4bcf887a.html

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#G8KPR Marshall Technical School Featured in Local Paper

The Marshall Technical School Robotics Team was recently featured in the Sand Mountain Reporter. The story is linked here, although subscription requirements prevent you from reading the entire article.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Deadline to Return BEST Kits

Attention teams:

As stated in the 42 Days of BEST, each school has two options related to the return of the robot kit:
  1. If the team wishes to keep its robot, it may do so by purchasing the returnable kit. Instructions on the purchase of your returnable kit is located on the last page behind Tab 4 of your 2013 Game Manual. Address any questions to Mike Kennamer.
  2. If the team does not wish to purchase its robot, the team must dismantle the robot and turn in all returnable items to Northeast Alabama BEST hub officials no later than November 22, 2013. Teams advancing to South's BEST are not required to return their kit until after South's BEST.
We ask that all teams (whether buying the kit or not) return the tub in which your consumables were provided and return any unused consumable supplies so that we may recycle them for later use.

Please let Nicole Carroll know your intentions regarding the return or purchase of your kit. The hub's sustainability depends upon our being able to reuse kits year after year.

Thank you in advance for your usual fine cooperation.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#G8KPR Photos Published to Northeastalabamabest.org

Game day photos have been published to the Photo section of this website. Some of the photos are featured in a video, shown below.


South's BEST is December 7-8 in Auburn #G8KPR

South's BEST will take place December 7-8, 2013 in the Auburn Arena at Auburn University. Fifty-six teams from 18 hubs in 6 states will compete. Our own Marshall Technical School and Fyffe High School will compete in the BEST award competition, representing our hub.

Members of teams that are not advancing to South's BEST are encouraged to attend to get ideas for next year and to cheer on our Northeast Alabama BEST teams. Remember that knowledge is power, so that which you learn at South's BEST might be just the advantage you need to be part of South's BEST next year. Please visit the South's BEST website for details and contact Nicole Carroll should you need any information about attending as a spectator.

South's BEST is one of four regional competitions strategically located across the U.S. Due to travel expense, there is not a national competition; the regional competition is the pinnacle of BEST Robotics at this time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

#G8KPR Thanks to Best Robotics, Inc.

The dust has cleared. The trophies and plaques have been handed out. Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics 2013 is finished.

What a great competition season and ten great Northeast Alabama BEST teams! We are grateful for the grace and class with which you conduct yourselves.

Though our parent organization, Best Robotics, Inc. sometimes sits quietly in the background with little recognition, we would like to recognize the many ways in which they make this whole thing possible.

First of all, there are a number of robotics competitions out there. We could have selected to work with any of them. But one competition and national organization stood out to us. First of all, the executive director at the time, Dr. George Blanks of Auburn University, reached out to me personally to ask if Northeast Alabama Community College would be willing to host a hub to serve the northeast corner of Alabama. Those of you who know George know that he is very convincing and is very passionate about BEST and what it does in our communities. After one visit to South's BEST in 2011, we drank the proverbial BEST Robotics "Kool-Aid". Though I don't yet know the current executive director, Tom Fitzmaurice, as well as I do George, I have found him to be accessible and passionate about BEST and its future.

When you join BEST you enter into a license agreement that allows you to use the BEST name, logo, game, resources, etc. as part of your robotics competition. But you really get more than that. When you join BEST you join a family of BEST hubs across the nation. This connects you with others in the BEST family and provides a vast array of resources from all the BEST hubs who are willing to share their time, effort, and resources to help make your hub successful. We are not reinventing the wheel here at Northeast Alabama BEST. We are using the resources provided by various hubs to leverage time and effort to make BEST even better for you.

We, at Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics, wish to thank BEST Robotics, Inc. for all they do to help make our hub succesful, sustainable, and integrated into the BEST family. Please feel free to send them a note of thanks also, should you feel led. Their contact information is shown below:

BEST Robotics, Inc.
Twitter: @Bestrobotics
Google +BEST Robotics
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BESTRobotics


Saturday, November 2, 2013

#G8KPR 2013 Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics Results

Congratulations to our 2013 BEST Robotics teams. Here is the list of awards:

BEST Award
  • 1st Place - Marshall Technical School
  • 2nd Place - Fyffe High School
  • 3rd Place - Fort Payne High School
 Robot Competition
  • 1st Place - Marshall Technical School
  • 2nd Place - Fort Payne High School
  • 3rd Place - Fyffe High School
  • 4th Place - DeKalb County Technology Center
Missile Defense Agency Project Engineering Notebook
  • 1st Place - Fyffe High School
  • 2nd Place - Ider High School
  • 3rd Place - Marshall Technical School
Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative Team Exhibit and Interview
  • 1st Place - Marshall Technical School
  • 2nd Place - Ider High School
  • 3rd Place - Fyffe High School
Walmart Marketing Presentation
  • 1st Place - Marshall Technical School
  • 2nd Place - Fyffe High School
  • 3rd Place - Fort Payne High School
Founders' Award for Creative Design
  • DeKalb County Technology Center
Tennessee Valley Authority Top Gun Award
  • Marshall Technical School
Tennessee Valley Authority Most Robust Machine
  • Woodville High School
Fort Payne Improvement Authority Most Economical Robot Design
  •  Pisgah High School
Governor's Office of Workforce Development Spirit & Sportsmanship Award
  • Marshall Technical School
DeKalb County Development Commission Spirit of BEST Award for Grit
  • Woodville High School
 DeKalb County Development Commission Spirit of BEST Award for Attitude
  • Bridgeport Middle School
 Berry & Dunn Office Equipment Best T Shirt Design
  • Marshall Technical School
 DeKalb County Home Builders Association Best CAD Design
  • Fort Payne High School
 Missile Defense Agency Blood, Sweat and Duct Tape Award
  • Crossville High School
 Walmart Most Photogenic Robot
  • Marshall Technical School
Governor's Office of Workforce Development Best Website
  • Ider High School
 DeKalb County Home Builders Association Best Team Theme
  • Ider High School
 Rainsville Chamber of Commerce Best Rookie Team
  • Brindlee Mountain Middle School
Congratulations to all the teams! According to BEST rules, the following teams will advance to South's BEST in Auburn:
  • Marshall Technical School (1st Place BEST Award and 1st Place Robot)
  • Fyffe High School (2nd Place BEST Award) 

Good morning #G8KPR

Good morning everyone! Today is the day for which you have prepared. Today is game day for #G8KPR 2013. We all want to do our best on game day, and we all want to win. But that is not the most important thing. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Like many of you, I am fiercely competitive. I never let my kids win at games when they were little. If they won, it is because they won fair and square. No gimmees, no do-overs. They grew up knowing that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. That is part of life. Like it or not, nobody ever wins every time.

But that doesn't keep us from trying. I learned a lesson about my competitive spirit at a leadership retreat that I attended a number of years ago. This retreat brought together people who were strangers at the outset in an effort to build teamwork and comradery among the group, which would work together for the coming year. On the first day of the retreat we did all those annoying exercises about personality types and learning each others' names and other tortuous devices that teachers use to really build a spirit of teamwork. On the second day we melted together in the 105-degree Tuscaloosa heat as we spent the entire day on the ropes course. By the end of the second day I was mentally and physically exhausted and missed dinner because I went back to the room to take a shower before dinner and fell asleep. I slept until the next morning.

The third day I was refreshed. This was the last day of the retreat and we had been told that it would be spent in the confines of an air conditioned facility. All was well. And to top it off, we were going to play games all morning.

You've got to understand that I love playing games. They are fun, challenging, and best of all, I get the opportunity to WIN! In one game we were split into teams. I forget the exact premise of the game but essentially you had a number of options to play. I quickly deducted (and convinced my teammates to go along) that if we played a certain strategy we could cut our losses and assure that other teams could not earn points. It seems that there was a way in which there was a win-win situation and a win-lose situation.

Well, all the other teams went with the win-win scenario. They got it. That was the goal. As Zig Ziglar frequently said, the best way to be successful is to help others be successful. And the other teams got it. But even after two days of team building exercises my competitive spirit got the best of me and my focus was to win. I convinced my team to go along with my devious plan.

At one point in the game one of the people on an opposing team starting crying. "What is her problem," I thought. "Geez, I'm about to obliterate their team, but hey, it's only a game. Not everyone can win." After all, there's no crying in baseball. (If you don't understand this reference you should ask your parents if you can watch "A League of Their Own"--a great baseball movie with Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna.)

But what stuck me about this was that the person who was crying expressed that she felt betrayed. We had gotten to know each other, we had trusted each other with our very lives on the ropes course, and now our team was running over the other teams for the sake of winning. Yikes! Am I really that bad. Sadly, yes.

Did that quell my competitive spirit? No. But it did teach me a lesson and help me to understand that winning is great, but it is not the only thing. So why did I share this story with you? So I can win a Pulitzer Prize for my great website post? That'd be cool, but no. I shared it to help you to put winning and losing in perspective as that young lady did for me several years ago.

I want you to do the best that you can do. If that is better than the next team, then that's great. But if another team does better that's great also. I encourage you come to game day today just come asking yourself the following questions:
  1. Am I better (smarter, more skilled, more awesome) today than I was 42 days ago? If so, people who care about you probably helped you to develop and grow. Thank them for that. Your teachers and mentors really care.
  2. Did I learn something? My guess is that you did. And, if so, you are a winner. No trophy is necessary to affirm that.
  3. Was I a help (blessing, friend, encouragement) to anyone today? If not, what are you waiting for?
With all that said, I will leave you with the following words of wisdom:

I am so looking forward to seeing all the great things you will do today and wish each of you the BEST...

Mike Kennamer
Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics
Hub Co-Director

Friday, November 1, 2013

Saturday's #G8KPR Schedule

Remember that rainy (understatement) day that we referred to as Kick Off 2013? You had 42 days--6 whole weeks--before game day. It seemed like plenty of time. You planned, you worked. Some of you were at your school working until 2 am the morning of Practice Day. But tomorrow is the day. Time is up. All the cards are on the table. It's time to roll.

Okay, that's just an overly dramatic way of saying that tomorrow is... GAME DAY! And here's the bare bones schedule. The entire annotated schedule is available under Team Resources on this site.

  • 7:30 am - Doors Open
  • 7:30 am - 8:30 am - Team Registration
  • 8:00 am - 9:00 am - Compliance Check in and Pit Set Up
  • 9:00 am - Drivers' Meeting
  • 9:30 am - Seeding Rounds Begin and Exhibits Open
  • 11:30 am - Lunch Break (on your own) (Exhibits are closed until 1:30 pm)
  • 11:45 am - Arena Must be Cleared
  • 12:30 - 12:45 pm - Compliance Open  (for teams who removed their robot during lunch. Not recommended unless major repairs are necessary)
  • 12:50 pm - Line up for Opening Ceremony
  • 1:00 pm - Opening Ceremony
  • 1:30 pm - Robot Competition Rounds and Exhibits Open
  • 4:00 pm - Exhibit Breakdown may begin
  • 5:00 pm (TENTATIVE) - Awards Ceremony
Please keep in mind that the awards ceremony will take place at the conclusion of the game. If your team is eliminated before the final round, PLEASE stay until the end. It is:
  1. First and foremost, good sportsmanship;
  2. Because you may win other awards and we don't want that awkward moment of people whispering "I think they left"; and finally,
  3. Because you are cool and we want to hang out with you as much as possible.
We are looking forward to an awesome game day!