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How to Communicate with your teammates

Building your robot and preparing for robotics competitions is an extensive process, and is something you certainly cannot do alone. When done alone, robotics can be stressful, difficult, confusing, and overwhelming. However, with friends and teammates, it is a fun process. Nevertheless, communication with your teammates is the most important thing when it comes to robotics. Transfering ideas, sharing opinions, and working collaboratively requires communication, and this is a guide to how you can communicate with your teammates effectively.


How to Communicate With your Teammates:

Reference: The Compass Alliance


Long gone are the days of lengthy email chain threads that would circulate for an entire season. Instead, there are three new tools that have become the standard for communicating within a team; Discord, Slack, and Google Classroom. In its simplest form, these tools can be used to inform students and mentors of upcoming events and meetings. For more experienced teams, these tools become a platform used to share information, as well as ideas, during the season.


Disclaimer: Before creating a team account on any of these platforms, check with your school administration on their acceptable means and methods of communication. Furthermore, any communication between students and mentors should follow the FIRST Youth Protection Program guidelines, as well as any school policies, to ensure safe communication between students and mentors. These platforms should only be used to exchange information and discuss appropriate material regarding FIRST and any other team related activities.


Discord :

Discord is a proprietary freeware VoIP application. This tool has a chat/voice system used to talk with team members and share ideas faster than having to type everything. Setting up your team server you can open up text channels for your sub teams to discuss and share ideas. Roles can be assigned to organize members into their subteams and by other identifiers which the team feels is useful. These roles allow certain members to be notified when that role is tagged rather than the whole team, and allows for chats that are specific to a subteam or group of students. Discord add-on bots can also be used to increase the functionality of the platform.


Slack:

Slack is a cloud-based proprietary instant messaging platform. This platform uses channels to allow for different topics to be discussed. Slack is used in a professional setting with many add on features to enhance the users experience. Keeping your subteams on the same page can be done with slack having a different channel for each subteam that can be viewed by everyone on the team or just the select members in that subteam. Apps or plugins are one of the best features on slack and the list is endless from calendars to taskers to code plug in for your programming team. This will help keep everyone on task and up to date with notifications. Getting started with a free slack workspace is easy but there is a limit on the number of messages, file storage and integration with other apps but for a small price a month you could expand on your space required. Slack does offer a discount for non profit programs.


Google Classroom :

Google Classroom is an announcement-based communication platform. Any teacher or approved student in the classroom can post information, create assignments, and easily share files with the entire team. One of the best advantages to Google Classroom is that it is built into the Google Suite, meaning that it is integrated with Google Drive, Google Calendar, and the other Google programs. This creates the basis for a simple and functional ecosystem.



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