My school has the only VEX teams in Vietnam and because of this, we have no competitions in the country. This means we have only about 2 competitions a year including worlds. My whole team would love to go to more tournaments, but we have to travel to places like Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand and nobody can afford traveling to all these places. We tried hosting a tournament but only one team signed up so it was canceled.
What tips are there for hosting a tournament and getting a good amount of teams to commit? And what are some good ways to get other schools in our city/country involved with VEX?
That is a touch situation. If there is no competitions, why would anyone make a team? If there are no teams, why old a competition?
My gut feel would be to become an advocate for robotics in general, and find a way to get more schools or organizations to get involved and sponsor teams. Maybe some companies can sponsor teams to help fund the activity of maybe 10 teams or so of middle school age kids?
I’m thinking that the teams need to be there so you can host an event. Probably teams in other countries are in the same situation as you, that travel is costly. You need more teams in your area.
Yeah I agree. My school already hosts tons of STEM related events at our school which include other science/engineering competitions and challenges, showing off what the engineering classes are doing, and inviting administrators from other schools to visit our maker-spaces. We always invite administrators from other schools and our VEX team is almost always present. We just haven’t been able to get any other schools interested.
I would try to appeal to schools in your area (and further, possibly) to get into STEM education through the VEX route. That’s how we got started. Then our team s just kind of formed in the following couple of years.
I know that, at least in my area, there are technology grants available to help offset the cost. Maybe there’s something similar in your area?
Individual teams privately funded can be tough to build. You first have to grow interest, and a STEM class in school would probably be a good way to do this. It might take a couple of years and some advocacy, but It think it’s totally possible. But it might extend beyond your HS competition years, and that doesn’t specifically help you a lot. But think of what singlehandedly establishing a nationwide robotics education/competition program could do an your college and job resumes!
Wow! it sounds like there is much interest in your school. Thats great! How many teams does your school have?
Another thought - if you aren’t getting much interest from other school administrators, how about working it the other way… attract the students! Is there a community center or a library where your teams can have a “robot day” and show the community what robotics is like? This can be promoted in a variety of ways to show what robotics is about. Your teams could do pre work where you create videos of what competitions are like, make handouts of what it is like to be on a team or how to start a team (number of students, parts and equipment needed, etc), and maybe even have some giveaways like small toy robots or wristbands, or t-shirts with robots on them. Then, at the event, show videos of Vex Worlds and other competitions - like the big exciting ones with the lasers, and smoke and fireworks, with lots of kids from all over the world jumping, shouting and having a great time. Videos that explain the benefits for schools and businesses in supporting robotics programs. Have the students that are or were in a robot program on hand to talk to prospective members and parents about their experiences, how much fun it was to meet other kids interested in robots and learn new things. Also have some IQ kits or basic robots together that new members can assemble or program and see what its like.
If a large number of kids WANT the program, maybe the schools or other organizations won’t be able to ignore the interest.
This is a really good idea! It would take some work to assemble, (and some cost) but I think that this would attract a lot of interest to robotics in general. Are there FRC or FTC teams in the region that might be able to help with this? I’m sure they would love to help with some community outreach, and might generate more interest in robotics, beyond just Vex.
We currently have 2 teams (76209G and X). Both teams are pretty large and when new people join next year we will likely split into 4 teams.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any community centers where we live to do an event like that but I think making videos is a great idea. We’re an international school, and right next to our school is a local Vietnamese school. We’ve had local students come in a number of times to check out what we were doing and even helped us with building parts of our robot. We also have an event planned for near the end of the school year where we want to invite a bunch of STEM teachers and students to show off the game itself and talk about the program as a whole. I think that would be a great time to show some cool videos. I’m not worried about interest at our school, just interest at other schools. International schools here are kind of like completely separate entities that only really come together for sports events. Maybe putting some competitive spirit into it would help appeal to other schools.
There are a few events like that around here, where people can play with robots, computers and other STEM items, theres an informal competition/scrimage going on with many spectators and a high level of energy.