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Question for Techies: Best Things to Learn
#11
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 would be a good intro to programming and robotics. It can be programmed to run autonomously, as we do in FIRST LEGO League (FLL), or run it via remote control-my kids still love playing battle bots with them. He could join or start an FLL team next year (the season is nearly over this year). There are many online resources for this. Age is 9-14. The programming interface is currently visual based, similar to Scratch, but a little more sophisticated. It’s also possible to program in other languages, but if competing, those other languages are not supported currently.

At age 12-18 he can form or join an FTC team, which currently uses Java and a pair of mobile phones to program both an autonomous (30 seconds) mode and a remote controlled period (2 minutes). In high school they also offer FIRST Robotics Challenge which is large, sometimes refrigerator sized, robots with autonomous and remote control periods as in FTC. The budget is MUCH larger and the teams are paired with engineers in the industry to learn side by side with them. There are also scholarships available for FIRST alumni. 10% of all incoming Freshman at MIT are FIRST alumni. It’s a fun way to learn and as Dean Kamen says “It’s the only sport where everyone can go pro”. FIRST calls it “sports for the mind” Smile

Some of our high schoolers have jumped on the coding competitions too. I don’t know the starting age, but I think it’s a nice transition to Cybersecurity, if that might be a future goal, as well as the Hackathons. I’d research what languages they’re using and find fun ways to learn them.

Be careful not to push too hard though, or he could push back. It’s harder to get them back on track after that. Speaking from experience.


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#12
(11-29-2019, 11:08 AM)alab21 Wrote: LEGO Mindstorms EV3 would be a good intro to programming and robotics. It can be programmed to run autonomously, as we do in FIRST LEGO League (FLL), or run it via remote control-my kids still love playing battle bots with them. He could join or start an FLL team next year (the season is nearly over this year). There are many online resources for this. Age is 9-14. The programming interface is currently visual based, similar to Scratch, but a little more sophisticated. It’s also possible to program in other languages, but if competing, those other languages are not supported currently.

At age 12-18 he can form or join an FTC team, which currently uses Java and a pair of mobile phones to program both an autonomous (30 seconds) mode and a remote controlled period (2 minutes). In high school they also offer FIRST Robotics Challenge which is large, sometimes refrigerator sized, robots with autonomous and remote control periods as in FTC. The budget is MUCH larger and the teams are paired with engineers in the industry to learn side by side with them. There are also scholarships available for FIRST alumni. 10% of all incoming Freshman at MIT are FIRST alumni. It’s a fun way to learn and as Dean Kamen says “It’s the only sport where everyone can go pro”. FIRST calls it “sports for the mind” Smile

Some of our high schoolers have jumped on the coding competitions too. I don’t know the starting age, but I think it’s a nice transition to Cybersecurity, if that might be a future goal, as well as the Hackathons. I’d research what languages they’re using and find fun ways to learn them.

Be careful not to push too hard though, or he could push back. It’s harder to get them back on track after that. Speaking from experience.


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An old friend from HS is a science teacher, and runs the FIRST team - they routinely make it to nationals, and are coming home now from a week spent in China.  They do the COOLEST stuff!  I wish my kid would get involved...sigh...
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#13
Thank you everyone for your responses! I appreciate your insight, wisdom and experiences. To answer some of your questions/comments: 

We don't have a specific goal in mind, he just loves coding and anything to do with computers. He even loves putting together power point presentations, Word documents, Google forms and his Google calendar (he insisted on having one when he saw mine). I don't have to push anything computer-related on him, rather I have to pull him away from it to do other things in life.

He is a part of a First Lego League team and absolutely loves it. It's through 4-H and they have teams all the way up through high school, so I suspect we will be doing it for the next 10 years. 

I appreciate all of your recommendations, that should be enough to keep him busy for quite some time. Smile
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