FIRST: A Community Conference

FIRST is a Community, and I Was Welcomed with Open Arms!

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Every year, FIRST holds a community conference where teachers, coaches, and volunteers get to talk about what they’ve learned and what they will be doing in the year to come. This past June, I was invited to the DoubleTree Hilton in Nashua, New Hampshire, to meet with folks from all over the world that work with FIRST at all levels. FIRST is a fantastic organization that brings together people across the globe with the goal of empowering students through STEM-based programs and engineering principles. As you might imagine, the adults that work with the students in the program are a passionate bunch. Being able to meet with some of the folks that help make FIRST what it is was an incredible opportunity, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. 

Why did we go?

Enable Education has been working with FIRST to develop curricular content for one of the FIRST leagues. Here at Enable, we’ve had the opportunity to learn about some of the amazing experiences the students participating in FIRST are afforded. What I didn’t know before getting to the conference is just how many people are involved with FIRST beyond the student and coach level.

During the conference, I attended several presentations on a range of topics. I learned about how people are working to promote school engagement with the FIRST program in their territories. I listened to people that organize dozens of teams over multiple states talk about some of the challenges they face. Every morning, a representative from FIRST would present on ways that the organization is enabling students across the globe to work with robotics and technology that prepares them for opportunities in STEM fields. I was thrilled to hear about the increasing number of girls and people of color who are joining up with FIRST all over the world.

What happened at the conference?

One of the more interesting parts of the trip was being in the room when the FIRST Education team announced the materials that Enable Education is creating in front of a room full of teachers and coaches. FIRST will also be using Enable’s Thinkscape LMS platform to distribute the content we are creating. Teachers and coaches were thrilled to hear that, not only will they have classroom-ready materials ready for their students, they will have one unified platform where the content will live. While I wasn’t able to say much about what we are doing for FIRST at the conference, I was able to share my excitement with all of the people that wanted to chat about Enable’s work.

My favorite part of the entire trip was the mini-game reveal. I’m not allowed to talk about the game until the details are released to the public, but I can say that I can’t wait to see kids around the world compete in the coming months.