Friday, September 05, 2008

The New FLL/Jr. FLL Social Site

Greetings FLL and Jr.FLL Teams!

Welcome back from your summer vacation!

This is a very exciting time for FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL)!

The 10th Anniversary Year Kickoff for the FLL and Jr.FLL Season starts today, September 5, and we want to invite you to check out and join in on something that is very special about FLL/Jr.FLL this year … a preview of your new Social Site at

This site was built with you in mind. Our goal for you with this site was to create a fun and inviting, global, online community for anyone involved in or interested in FIRST LEGO League and Junior FIRST LEGO League.

So go ahead…and take a look at this season’s game on the Social Site – “Climate Connections.”

You will find everything you need to know about “Climate Connections” including this year’s Challenge where you can delve into questions about our current climate and explore conditions for the future through missions including: connecting research resources, minimizing climatic influences, polar experiments, sequestering greenhouse gases, studying wildlife, preparing for climatic conditions, gathering communities of people…and so much more.

Coming in the next few weeks, you will enter the new Social Site through a global landing page where you will be able to select your country. Once you are on your own country-specific site you can go in many areas and directions –from learning about FLL and Jr.FLL programs internationally to seeing season schedules and registering a Team for the challenge. You can even create a Team Site (your own actual mini FLL/Jr.FLL Team Web site) or join in on a Forum…it is all there for you.

And we want you, your parents, and your sponsors to know that the FLL/Jr.FLL site complies with all child protection standards (COPPA) for non-profits and does not permit any advertising or solicitation on the site. Child users (14 and under) must have a parental or guardian specific permission prior to becoming a member on the site.

Once on the site, Teams will be able to upload avatars, files, and photos all while communicating with others in their own Team, in their country or with other international Teams.

For the first week the new Social Site will be dedicated to the information you need for this year’s Challenge:

  • · The Challenge area – where everyone can go to understand the Challenge as it relates to a significant real-world issue, see an overview of the science behind the Challenge, access a project resource tab where you can find common terms, experts and Web resources all dedicated to this year’s Challenge and much more;
  • · Jr.FLL area – where schedules, Challenge overviews, and Pre-Registration for a Jr.FLL Team Access Pass are available as well as private areas that are only available to Team Access Pass Members;
  • · The Game area – where the game, its mission and the game field are explained in detail and where FLL Engineer, Scott Evans, will answer all Game Q&As;
  • · The Blog area – where FLL/Jr.FLL staff and guest bloggers will interact directly with the community;
  • · Meet the Experts area – where Challenge Consultants are spotlighted;
  • · Awards area – where all award criteria is outlined and where you will find a Judges’ Blog with official Q&As about judging, hosted by Skip Gridley, FLL Global Judge Advisor;

Future functions of the site will include:

  • · Join the Community – Join the site and be able to set up a profile and begin communicating with others in the FLL Community;
  • · Team Site area – where Coaches can start a Team site and FLL members can communicate with each other as well as global Teams;
  • · Forum area – where all users are encouraged to post a comment, share stories or add information to a current string;
  • · Events area – where the community can post and search for events around the globe;
  • · Past Challenges area – where you can look at how over 10,000 Teams have competed in years past;

· Additional areas on the resource-rich site include advice on: Community Story Submissions, Coaches, How to Start a Team, How to Apply for a Grant, How to Fundraise, How to Build a Season, as well as including an expanded Search function and an explanation of the Core Values of the program.

We invite you to come take a look at the new FLL/Jr.FLL Social Site and bookmark it at ( We welcome your feedback and suggestions … please send those along using the contact us form or by emailing to or

In the meantime, here are a few Questions & Answers to help you get started as you explore the site now, and as new functionality is introduced in the coming weeks! (You will also find a complete set of Q&As on the site itself).

FLL/Jr.FLL Social Site Questions and Answers:

1. How can I join the FLL Social Site? When can I join? And is there a cost to become a member?

When this feature is activated, to join the FLL Social Site, simply go to and click on the Join Now button from any page and enter your information online. While the site is open to the general public, the Team Site Area does require that your coach has an officially registered team and will use a FLL Team number to gain access. There is no cost to join. Simply go to the site and click on ‘Join Now.’

2. I am on an FLL team – can I join the site on my own or do I need my Team to join?

Coaches start the Team Site for FLL Teams. For Jr.FLL Teams Sites, a Team Access Pass purchased by an adult is required to start a site. (To gain an Access Pass simply click on the register a team a team link on the Jr.FLL Home page.). Additionally, child users (14 and under) must have a parental or guardian specific permission prior to becoming a member on the site.

3. What kinds of information can a Team, or an individual, post on the site? What will not be allowed on the site?

Teams can post photos, avatars, files, success stories, tips, advice, and ideas, add an RSS feed –just about any function you will find on most other Social Sites.

However the site will not allow advertising and parental permission is required before any photos that contain children’s faces or names can be posted on the site.

4. Does the FLL Social Site accept advertising?

No. The FLL/Jr.FLL Social Site does not accept advertising.

5. Will all future official FLL/ Jr.FLL information be posted on the Social Site? Or, on the FIRST site, or both?

All official FLL/Jr. FLL information will be posted on both the social site and the FIRST Site. In addition, important messages from FIRST will appear on Team Site pages as well.

6. How do I use the Forum?

The Forum area of the FLL Social Site is a place to collaborate and learn from the knowledge that our program participants have discovered over the years. Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, the forum is the community’s resource for sharing and learning.

7. Can a team or an individual blog on the site? And if so, are there any rules for the FLL/Jr.FLL Blog?

The site has a community blog where members of the FLL/Jr.FLL staff and guest bloggers will interact with the site members. At this time there are no individual blogs. We ask all posts, whether on our blog, or forums or Team Sites use gracious professionalism at all times. In addition, posts are moderated and the site does have a profanity filter. We hope the community will embrace FLL/Jr.FLL Core Values at all times.

8. When will I be able to see what’s happening for FLL in other countries? (France, Spain, Germany, South Africa, etc.)

Operational Partners that manage the FLL program in a specific country are working to translate all the content on the site. This will take time. Please be patient and remember Operational Partners are volunteers too!

9. Can I register for an FLL/Jr.FLL team or become a coach or a sponsor through the FLL/Jr.FLL Social Site?

Yes you can. From both the FLL and Jr.FLL program specific pages; there are links to register a team, how to start a team, and how to support a team. Site Members will also find more information in the forum section, which is also accessible from the program specific pages.

NOTE: Because many schools and organizations operate on a private network, email must first go through a firewall. If your school has a firewall in place to control communications, please contact the appropriate personnel at the school to ask that the FLL/Jr.FLL Team be allowed to access and also to receive emails from Alternatively, you may choose to use a personal email address to access the site.

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