Friday, August 31, 2012

MathWorks Webinar Announced

From Greg Young at BEST Robotics, Inc.:

MathWorks will be hosting a training webinar for their Simulink programming software for BEST Robotics on Tuesday, September 4, from 5pm-6pm Central time. Anyone can register for the webinar through the link on the BRI website,, under the Announcements section.

Please take advantage of this opportunity for free training!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NACC Announces Technical Training Day

As a follow-up to the 2012 BEST Robotics Kick Off Event on September 15, Northeast Alabama Community College will sponsor a training session for new teams on the following Saturday. "There are lots of training sessions to be offered at Kick Off on September 15," said Dr. Mike Kennamer, "but these sessions are more focused on rules and getting started. Technical training sessions held the next Saturday will be more focused and intense".

The training sessions to be held on September 22 will be focused on technical skills. The current lineup includes a session on soldering and a session on Easy-C software. Classes on September 22 will begin at 8:00 am and will be held in the Industrial Systems Technology Center on the NACC campus.

Those taking the soldering class should bring their own soldering gun and solder, as well as safety glasses. Those participating in the Easy C class may bring a laptop loaded with Easy C. Instructions on how to receive a free download of Easy C for the BEST Robotics season will be available on Kick Off Day.

By September 22 teams will have had their kits for a week, and will have begun to formulate ideas about solving the challenge presented at Kick Off Day. These sessions will help teams to gain the technical skills necessary to be successful in building their robots.

There is a possibility that other workshops may be offered on the 22nd, as instructors are secured. Keep a watch on this site for additional information as well as a complete schedule for Kick Off Day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Team Registration Has Begun!

We have now started to register teams for the 2012 BEST Robotics game, Warp XX. Teams who plan to participate should contact Nicole Carroll to let her know how many people they will bring to Kick-Off Day.

Look for a list of 2012 BEST Robotics teams on the website soon. We have space for 12 teams, so registration is first-come, first-served.

Looking forward to a great blast off into BEST 2012 on September 15!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Honoring the Memory of Neil Armstrong

In keeping with this year's space theme, it is only fitting that we honor the memory of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who passed away today at age 82.

Neil Aden Armstrong, born August 5, 1930, was an aviator in the United States Navy and served in the Korean War. He earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University, and joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962. His first spaceflight was Gemini 8 in 1966 and made history as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spend 2 1/2 hours on the surface of the moon. Some of the most famous words in recorded history are featured on this video.

As we prepare for this year's space-themed game, we would be amiss if we did not pause to honor the memory of this American hero.

Kick-Off and Training Sessions Coming Soon!

On Saturday, September 15--just three weeks from today--Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics will hold its first kick off event, signaling the start of the 2012 BEST Robotics season. A schedule will be posted soon, but we have included information here that you will need for planning.

At the kick off event, teams be introduced to this year's game, be given all the rules, and will receive all the materials with which to build their robot. In addition, a number of training sessions will be held to help teams hit the ground running.

2012 Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics Kick-Off Event
September 15, 2012. Registration begins at 9:00 am. All teams should be seated by 9:55 am.
Tom Bevill Lyceum on the campus of Northeast Alabama Community College

Teams should bring as many of their team members as possible. Each team will have the opportunity to photograph, video, and measure the playing field, and participate in training sessions. Lunch will be provided. You do not want to miss this event!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer ILT 180 Class in the News

Involved in the BEST Robotics prep course were (L-R, standing) Northeast IST/ILT Instructors Gary Hulslander and Dennis Lester; students Alejandro Orozco and Katie Dean from Fort Payne, and Collin Andrews from Geraldine; (seated) students Garrett Hall from Plainview, and Connor Blevins, Josh Simpson, Hayden Tilley and Sawyer Haney from Ider.
This article was written by Sherry Whitten and published in local newspapers:

DeKalb, Jackson and Marshall County students have the  opportunity to compete in a robotics competition this upcoming October. The competition is through the BEST Robotics program: Boosting Engineering Science and Technology. BEST is a national program  which inspires students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics through participation in a sports-like science- and engineering-based robotics projects. Students in Grades 5-12 may compete.

Northeast Alabama Community College is serving as the district hub for the BEST program. “We are very pleased to help organize and sponsor the BEST Robotics competition,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “As a college we want to encourage students to go into these science and technology fields and being a partner with local schools is a way to accomplish this. We at Northeast are emphasizing these careers and in fact soon will begin construction on a new mathematics, science, and engineering technician building on campus.”

Workforce Development Director Mike Kennamer is the Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics Hub Director. “We encourage schools to contact the district hub and create a team for the competition.” Kennamer noted that the BEST Steering Committee members are local business and industry representatives who see the impact the program can have long-term on the area and the future of the northeast Alabama workforce.

This past summer, local high school students participated in a BEST Robotics Prep Course. The students earned dual enrollment college credit and received training to prepare for the BEST Robotics competition. Topics covered include basic safety, basic DC electronics, servo motors, materials selection, mechanical principles, problem solving and engineering processes. Dr. Campbell stated, “We were pleased to provide this course for the dual enrollment students this summer taught by Industrial Systems and Industrial Electronics Instructor Dennis Lester.”

The Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics Kick-off Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 in the NACC Lyceum. The actual competition is scheduled for Saturday, October 27. Local winners will advance to the regional competition at Auburn University in December.

Dr. Kennamer stated that the Northeast Alabama BEST needs volunteers, mentors and businesses to become involved and that assistance from the community greatly will be appreciated. The Northeast Alabama BEST program initially was funded through state workforce grants and financial support from Northeast, including NACC personnel who are working with the project.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Mike Kennamer at college extension 2291, or email For additional college information, go to or download our free App at the Apple App Store or by going to

Monday, August 20, 2012

Northeast Alabama BEST Prepares for Kickoff

NASA file photo
Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics is gearing up for its first kickoff day! Scheduled for September 15, 2012, the kickoff will include an exciting introduction to the game, an opportunity to view and measure the playing field, and a variety of educational sessions.

"We are excited for our first kick-off," stated Mike Kennamer, hub co-director. "By playing off the space theme this year, we could consider this a blast off for this year's BEST season."

Training sessions will include the following:
  • Building Your BEST Business - Team Structure, Marketing and Exhibits
  • Team Decision Making - the BEST Planning Method
  • Preparing for Launch - Basic Steps in Building Your Robot
  • Warp XX Rules Overview and Q&A
  • Kit Orientation and Pickup
  • Team Resources
  • Developing Your Project Engineering Notebook
  • and more...
 Mark your calendars for the Northeast Alabama BEST Launch Party and Kick-Off Event:
  • Saturday, September 15, 2012
  • Tom Bevill Lyceum - Northeast Alabama Community College campus
  • 9:00 am - 3:00 pm 
 ...At this time the captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt. Also make sure your seat back and folding trays are in the full upright position...

And prepare to launch into an exciting and rewarding BEST season!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Connect Via Social Media

To receive notifications about our latest posts, follow this site by clicking the "Join This Site" button on the right side of every page of this site (near the bottom).

Also connect to us on Facebook:
and Twitter:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pre-Season Teacher Training Session

Today teachers from across Jackson and DeKalb Counties came together to dip their toes into the ocean that we call BEST, and to learn what they can do to prepare their students for the upcoming BEST season.

Northeast Alabama BEST Hub Co-Directors Mike Kennamer and Nicole Carroll discussed The 42 Days of BEST and Getting a Head Start on BEST 2012, respectively. Robin Fenton, of Friends of BEST in Alabama, joined in via webinar and discussed rules, scoring, and software options.
Participants pose for a post-workshop photo.

The following schools participated in the workshop:
  • Fort Payne Middle (Nira Jones, Suzanne Camp)
  • Fort Payne High (Brian Jett, Dan Grogham, Jackie Jennings)
  • Ider (Sharlyn Huber)
  • North Sand Mountain (Labron Anderton, Shelly Grant)
  • Woodville (Joey Swinford)
Steering Committee members Sherry Whitten, Ronny Kisor, and Chris Anderson also attended, as did Northeast Alabama Community College career coaches Debbie Wooten and Whitney Clark. More training is scheduled for Kick Off Day, which will be September 15 at NACC. Schools interested in participating in BEST should contact Nicole Carroll ( at 256-228-6001, ext. 2254. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Great New Resource!

Some of our BEST Friends, Friends of BEST in Alabama, have launched a new website that will be a great resource for all teams and teachers. Here is their description of the site:

We are excited to announce that the Friends of BEST Resource Center is live:

This site is a “living breathing” site that updates daily and connects with social media. The front page has a few static documents but the links for students, teachers mentors/volunteers, career connections and news will update daily as well as Photo of the Day and Word of the Day. Our goal is for visitors to Tweet, Facebook or other social media about the videos, news stories, etc….with the ultimate goal of learning while having fun.

This site is a blog site, very similar to - they blog news stories, we will blog about BEST.
You can search for topics at the top of the page or use the tag cloud on the right side of each page. The larger the tags (words) in the tag cloud the more information posted about the subject.

Please take the opportunity to learn from others who have "been there, done that"! Thanks to Robin, Elizabeth, Janis and Kellie for sharing these resources with us!