Getting started as a rookie team entering the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) can be challenging, particularly in Australia where the nearest team to seek help from could easily be several thousand kilometres away. AARNet and Macquarie University joined forces to provide remote mentoring to teams around Australia via video during the build season for this year’s competition.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an international high school robotics competition in which high school student teams, mentored by industry experts, build a game-playing robot, weighing up to 54kg, in six weeks. The teams then take their robots on to compete in regional, national and international competitions.
To help support emerging teams across Australia, AARNet, in partnership with FIRST Australia, the Macquarie University Thunder Down Under team 3132 and the Barker College (an AARNet-connected school in Sydney) Redbacks team 4613, established the National Robotics Remote Mentoring Program.
Zoom video conferencing was used to host one-hour video calls each Thursday night and Sunday afternoon throughout the six week build season. AARNet staff members who mentor team 4613 and Macquarie Uni staff who mentor team 3132 joined the calls to answer questions and provide advice to teams around the country.
Over the 2016 build season, which concluded at midnight on February 23rd, members from over 20 Australian teams, covering NSW, VIC, SA, WA and Tasmania joined the calls to discuss building their 2016 robot.
Although the students running teams are at high school age, many Australian teams are associated with or founded by an Australian university, including Macquarie University, UNSW, University of Sydney, Curtin University, University of Adelaide, UniSA and the University of Tasmania.
AARNet is proud to support STEM programs and to be using technology to help students located in regional and remote Australia.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) aims to inspire kids to pursue careers in the STEM fields, and to teach them how real-world, complex, team projects can be successful.
FIRST Australia was established in 2006 at Macquarie University, to bring the FIRST programs to Australian high school students.
Founded in the USA in 1989, FIRST Australia was established at Macquarie University in 2006. Since then, FIRST Australia has partnered with schools and universities across Australia with teams and competitions held in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. There are now over 40 Australian FRC teams and the first Australia regional competition, feeding into the world championships, was held at Sydney Olympic Park in 2015.
Australian teams have enjoyed remarkable success attending the FIRST World Championship Tournament each year from 2006 to 2014.
Find out how your school can participate in the FIRST Robotics program.
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