GCER 2011 Live-Blog Challenge

YAC-Sponsored GCER 2011 Live-Blog Challenge

After the huge success at GCER 2010, the Live-Blog Challenge is back for GCER 2011! For those who don't know, the GCER Live-Blog Challenge is your chance to let your team's friends/sponsors/parents/supporters follow what's happening at GCER, and preserve the GCER experience for you and anyone else to relive later, by competing to produce the best live-blog documenting the events at GCER 2011!

Why Blog?

Historically, many teams try to notify their friends about what's happening at GCER, but this communication is usually hard to track down after GCER is over. We (the Botball Youth Advisory Council) want to document this communication in one place. This benefits teams (who will be able to relive the excitement), sponsors (who will see how awesome GCER is, and therefore continue to support Botball), and KIPR (who will be able to use this documented communication for PR and research purposes). Since friendly competition tends to help in situations like this, we are sponsoring the GCER 2011 Live-Blog Challenge!

Results are in!

Thanks go out to the YAC members who spent a large portion of their time judging the blogs, and to the teams who participated. We hope that more teams will choose to participate in the 2012 GCER Live-Blog Challenge!

And now, the results:

1st Place: 11-0253 St. Mark's School of Texas - Dallas, TX
2nd Place: 11-0113 Norman Advanced Robotics - Norman, OK
3rd Place: 11-0007 Malden Catholic High School - Malden, MA
4th Place: 11-0049 Southwest Covenant Schools - Yukon, OK

Congratulations to all teams who participated! See you at GCER 2012!

Live-Blogs should be finished and passwords removed by July 16, 11:59PM Central Time.

Getting Started

  1. Choose a blogging service. Your team may use whatever blogging service you wish; we have found that Posterous.com is quite good.
  2. Your team may use any combination of media you wish (text, images, audio, video, etc.). We'd like to see some variety, when possible. Posterous makes all of these media easy to publish, which is one reason why we recommend it.
  3. Before the start of GCER, e-mail your team name, team ID number, and the URL of your blog to botballyac AT gmail DOT com .
  4. Before the start of GCER, post a small amount of material about your last-minute preparations for GCER, and your expectations for the tournament. A short summary of your strategy, especially including anything you think will make a difference at the tournament, should be posted before GCER also.
  5. You are encouraged to password-protect your blog during GCER, but make sure that the password is publicly available or removed by 11:59PM, July 16.
  6. If you have interested friends, parents, or sponsors not attending GCER whom you would like to be able to follow your team, feel free to send them a link to your blog, along with your blog password. However, we do not recommend making the password publicly available until after the conclusion of GCER.
  7. Since your posts are passworded, you should feel free to discuss any details of your team’s strategy that come up. This is why we recommend sharing the password with only a few trustworthy friends rather than making the password public. If judges feel that you are trying to hide strategic information, you may be penalized.
  8. Your team may enter only 1 blog. However, as many members of your team may post to the blog as you wish.
  9. Posterous allows posting from a mobile phone. Your team may wish to take advantage of this, so that you can post quick updates when you're not at your computer.
  10. Starting on the first day of the conference, your team should start live-blogging.
  11. To see examples of previous blogs, take a look at the archived Live-Blogs from Previous Years.

Guidelines for a High Score

  1. There should be a post shortly after most activities, including breakout sessions that interested you, significant test rounds, and all seeding and D.E. rounds.
  2. If something happens that interests you enough that you might tell a friend about it later, blog it!
  3. Blog posts can be as long or as short as you wish. Don’t leave out important content, but endless rambling makes your posts annoying to read.
  4. It is recommended for at least one programmer and at least one engineer to blog, so that your blog can benefit from both areas of expertise. If you have multiple robots, and each engineer or programmer is only familiar with one robot, you may wish to have multiple engineers or programmers blogging.
  5. Try to divide up blogging time within your team so that one blogger with down time can cover for a blogger who’s frantically fixing a robot.
  6. If you have a designated blogging team that works in parallel with the programmers and engineers, make sure that the blogging team is aware of what the engineers and programmers are doing.
  7. Content will be judged based on its ability to effectively convey the experience of competing at GCER to someone who has never been to GCER, and may never have competed in Botball. (A YouTube link with the game rules video is here; you may wish to provide this in one of your first posts.)
  8. Spelling and grammar should be understandable, but we understand that you will be writing posts quickly (often on a mobile phone) and probably will not have time to spell-check. As long as we can understand what you wrote, we won't take off points.
  9. GCER is a place for middle-school and high-school students. So keep your posts PG-rated. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable showing your posts to a 6th-grader in front of his/her parents.
  10. Your blogs must be finished by 11:59 PM, July 16, Central Time. Post a “conclusion,” detailing how your team did, and any final thoughts on the tournament. For example, you might talk about how your team could have done better, and/or congratulate other teams on their winnings. By this point, your blog's password should be publicly accessible or removed, so that visitors (and judges) can read your blog.

Due to the judges highly overshooting our projected date for announcing winners in 2010 (and the ensuing complaints), this year we will only say that the winners of the Live-Blog Challenge will be announced prior to the first regional tournament of the 2012 season. (But we certainly don't expect to take anywhere near that long.)

As with the 2010 Live-Blog Challenge, teams represented on YAC are permitted to enter the Live-Blog Challenge just like any other team, but YAC judges will not be judging their own team.

And the legal disclaimer: you grant KIPR and YAC the right to use and distribute content you post in the Live-Blog Challenge, although you will always receive credit and you maintain the copyright on your content.

Participating Teams

Organized by Region

New England Region

  • 11-0007 Malden Catholic High School - Malden, MA

New Mexico Region

  • 11-0360 The ASK Androids - Rio Rancho, NM

Oklahoma Region

  • 11-0113 Norman Advanced Robotics - Norman, OK
  • 11-0049 Southwest Covenant Schools - Yukon, OK
  • 11-0253 St. Mark's School of Texas - Dallas, TX
  • 11-0149 Whittier Middle School Girls Team - Norman, OK

Previous Years

GCER 2010 Live-Blog Challenge
GCER 2009 Live-Blog by Norman High School
GCER 2008 Live-Blog by Norman High School