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Project Planning
A good project plan is key to a great experience.  It keeps everyone busy with jobs that are focused on the same goal.  It also let's you see who on the team is making the most contributions, and who is making the least, so you can show your individual efforts as well.  Here are the steps to basic project planning:
  1. Begin with the end in mind:  What are you going to end up with?  What is your finished product when all is done?  Be excited about this, as a good goal is motivating during the hard times.  Be ready to summarize this in 30 seconds, also called an "elevator speech".
  2. Big rocks first: What are the major parts of the project, and who is responsible for them?  When are the big parts going to be due?  Yes, real dates.
  3. Small rocks second:  What are very specific tasks and steps to accomplish each of the goals in step 2, the "big rocks", the major parts of the project?  Estimate hours for each thing, and that can help you plan your timeline of days. WHO is doing WHAT by WHEN?
After setting out this plan, have someone else (like a teacher) look at it and criticize it.  They can find things you didn't think of, and you can plan around. 
 
Prioritize levels of "cool" for your plan.  That is, you might not have time for the coolest features and ideas, so make sure you plan on the basic and essential core first, then additional cool things if you have time.
 
Start all of this on a shared planning site (Google Apps like you're used to, see the PBL Template 3).  A "Big Picture" planning page for the major dates, and a daily reflection page of who did what each day, followed by who is doing what the next day.  EVERY DAY!
 
Be ready to change.  People come and go, life happens, so your plan might have to adapt.  The key is to not surrender your excitement, just change the project to be a "different excited".
 
Brainstorming
Creativity and invention will be the primary advantage of any society.  As China, Saudi Arabia, India and others including the United States begin to build more engineering schools to race for more education, these are all in pursuit of inventing new or improved things.  So, let's get better at thinking creatively, and put our engineering to work on the "next great thing".  For CDAT students, this means to develop individual interests, and apply brainstorming to apply these interests to something new, bold, audacious and creative.  Here's a link to the rules of brainstorming, and here's a summary of those rules:
  1. No judging people or ideas.
  2. Wild and exaggerated are good things.
  3. Quantity is more important than quality.
  4. Build on the ideas of others.
  5. Every person and idea is equal.
A note on #2 above: don't be limited on what you think is possible, think about what should happen, what would be cool, and we can worry on HOW to get there later.

Google Apps
As part of CDAT, you will all receive a Google Apps account.  This account gives you an email @lanierhs.org, Google Docs, Sites, and more tools.  These are like the professional tools you'd be given at a company, so use them as a professional would.  Your email is automatically monitored for inappropriate use, as most corporate accounts are as well.

These tools also offer the ability to be creative, collaborate, share, and work from just about anywhere.  You're the first students in GCPS to get this level of access, possibly the first in Georgia, so do something great with it!

Here's the link to get you started:  http://sites.lanierhs.org  (you'll get login info from Mr. Reilly)
Whenever you're in Google Apps (Email, sites, etc.), click on the "Help" on the top right for some great tutorials.

Software
You'll be using a LOT of technology, and just about everything comes with at least a 30 day trial if not free or longer.  More links will pop up here as they are necessary.
  • http://students.autodesk.com is where you can get free 3-year copies of Autodesk products like 3DS Max, Inventor, and more.  I have to give you a link to become a member of my online "class".

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