2020-2021 Season Updates

2020-2021 Season Updates

(link is external)Welcome to the FIRST® GAME CHANGERSSM powered by Star Wars: Force for Change season! Here are some updates for FIRST LEGO League Explore, FIRST LEGO League Challenge, and FIRST Tech Challenge teams in Alaska.

4/14/21 Update

2/17/21 Update

  • Our first FLL tournament was fun! We appreciate the teams and volunteers that made it a success and helped us figure out how to run remote tournaments for this crazy season. 

  • Our FLL and FTC tournament schedules are posted in the Events tab. The next couple of months will be really busy for FIRST in Alaska!

  • FLL teams, please register for your qualifier here. Please choose one of the March qualifiers unless you started this season in January or February and save the April qualifier for teams that started in 2021. You should have received an email with more details. If you didn't, check your junk mail and then email acooper@jedc.org.
  • FTC teams, please register for your qualifiers here. You may register for as many as you wish. You should also have received an email, so let us know if you didn't. The email only went to registered coaches, so if your team isn't registered yet, please make sure to register yur team with FIRST as well as emailing acooper@jedc.org for a copy of the email.
  • We need tournament volunteers!!! We don't need as many different roles as usual, but they are really important to have. For FLL, we need judges and referees, 18 years and older. For FTC, we need judges and a few referees that the teams can consult with, but the teams score their own matches. Please consider volunteering for the "other" program (it's fun!), for tournaments your team is not involved with, and canvassing your friends and community members. Judges need to be able to listen to the kids, ask questions, and help us provide a good experience for all of the participants. We will provide training. Contact acooper@jedc.org with any questions or to volunteer.
  • All participants must be registered with FIRST. This includes coaches, mentors and students. Coaches, use your dashboard to invite the PARENTS of your students, who will then register their kids. If you need help with this, email acooper@jedc.org.

1/9/21 Update

  • Our FTC tournament schedule is posted on our calendar in the Events tab.   Registration information will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. Qualifiers will be in February and March, with the State Championship tournament in April. If necessary, we will have a late season tournament for teams that aren't able to compete in the regular tournament schedule. Check out the new Resource page here, and note that recordings for all of the FRC-hosted workshops are available here.

  • FLL tournament schedule is also posted in the Events tab. The first tournament opportunity is the first week of February, with two in March and the last qualifier in April. Coaches, keep an eye out for an email requesting your preferences so we can get you signed up for a tournament. Check out the many links that were recently added to the Resource page!

  • Volunteers, we need you!  We'll be running remote FLL and FTC events throughout the the next three months and we would love to have your help. Contact Alyson at acooper@jedc.org to get involved!

11/24/20 Update

  • Our tentative FTC schedule is posted our calendar in the Events tab. Thank you, FTC coaches, for responding so quickly to the survey and for the great attendance at the coach meeting. Notes from the meeting are here.  Qualifiers will be in February and March, with the State Championship tournament in April. If necessary, we will have a late season tournament for teams that aren't able to compete in the regular tournament schedule. We want to be sure that all teams get an opportunity to play this year.

  • FLL tournament dates will be determined as soon as possible. Coaches, if you haven't had a chance to complete the survey yet, please do so here. We need your input to get the tournament schedule put together. Thanks!

11/17/20 Update

  • Our season is off and running! We've held kickoffs for both FLL Challenge and FTC. If your team wasn't able to participate and would like to use the videos, email acooper@jedc.org and we can get those to you. FLL coaches, the notes from our November 7 coach meeting are here

  • It's not too late! Whether you are interested in FLL Explore (formerly FLL Jr.), FLL Challenge (formerly FLL), or FTC, we can make sure you have a tournament experience this season. Teams are still registering and it's not too late. Email Alyson for some help getting started.

  • We're setting tournament dates now.  FLL Challenge coaches, watch your inbox for a survey to help determine when we should hold your tournament. FTC coaches, watch for a Doodle Poll and invitation to a coach meeting so that we can wisely plan out the season. FTC Explore teams, we'll work with you on an individual basis to set up an opportunity for you to present what you've done and celebrate your season.

  • Unless something changes, tournaments will likely be remote. As much as we'd all like to hold in person tournaments this season, conditions aren't looking great for that. We'll continue to monitor the situation and if it seems like we can safely get teams together and it makes sense, we'll try to do that. For FLL, tournaments could be hybrid so we could have some teams in person and others remote. For FTC, it's not quite as simple since the in person tournaments score with alliances and the remote tournaments score individually, so tournaments can't be hybrid. We will watch the COVID situation and make decisions as the time gets closer.

  • Check the websites and team blasts for resources. FLL and FTC have both been sending out team blasts with information on how to make the season easier. For FLL, Thinkscape is loaded with information and resources. FTC has been cranking out relevant training videos and other resources to use. Both programs can find useful information in the Guidance for COVID Interruptions (see the 10/13 update), the FIRST website season resources, and now on the FIRST in Alaska website. Links to all the great FTC workshops that have been coordinated by the FRC team this season are here, and you can find links to the recent FLL training here. We've added a page of FLL resources that you can find here and we'll be adding a page of FTC resources shortly, so check back later.

  • Team Blasts are really helpful! FLL and FTC send out Team Blasts with good information that your team should know, but you will only get them if you are a coach of a team that is currently registered for this year or if you have specifically opted in to receive them. Please make sure your team is registered and the coaches are correct in your dashboard. If you need help with that, let me know. And FTC teams, your team members may want to sign up to receive the Team Blasts themselves. They can do that on the page with the Team Blast archives. 

  • And again, contact Alyson at acooper@jedc.org if you have any questions. Thanks!

10/13/20 Update

  • The season has been extended. Official FIRST season extension information is here. In Alaska, we plan to move tournaments to the first quarter of 2021 and will work with teams in each region and program to come up with an appropriate schedule.
  • Registration is open. The registration period has been extended to accommodate the extended season. Register an existing team on your dashboard at www.firstinspires.org, or register a new FLL team or FTC team.
  • Tournaments may be in person or remote, depending on the needs of our teams. FIRST has created the Remote Event Hub to help with that. More information can be found here.
  • FIRST LEGO League Jr. is now FIRST LEGO League Explore. FIRST LEGO League Challenge is what was previously called simply FIRST LEGO League. These programs were realigned in March. You can find out more about the three divisions of FIRST LEGO League here.
  • Many resources to help navigate the season during COVID-19 are available.
    • For FLL teams:
      • FLL Guidance for COVID-19 Interruptions has links to a wide variety of resources.
      • Thinkscape is an asset available in your team dashboard. Instructions for accessing it are here.
      • Teams can order an extra challenge set and extra mats this season. Check out the FLL Team Blasts archive for the latest news. ​
    • For FTC teams:
      • FTC Guidance for COVID-19 Interruptions has links to a wide variety of resources.
      • Thinkscape is an asset available in your team dashboard. Instructions for accessing it are here.
      • Check out the optional FIRST Innovation Challenge for FTC teams. Information can be found October 1st Team Blast. Team blasts are archived here. (Note: As of 10/13, the October team blasts aren’t in the archive. Email acooper@jedc.org if you need a copy forwarded to you.)    
  • For FLL Teams, LEGO Education is sending each team that ordered a Challenge set an additional sheet of Dual Lock. Some of the material that was previously sent out was defective so they are sending everyone a replacement sheet.
  • For FTC teams, check out the workshops that FRC Team 568 Nerds of the North are hosting. The schedule can be found here.
  • And for all, please see the program resources pages for FLL and FTC, check this page frequently for updates, and contact Alyson at acooper@jedc.org if you have any questions. This will be a great season. Thanks!