Drones in Education How to incorporate drones in the classroom Jan 23, 2017
I bet you know someone who owns a drone. They are becoming an ever increasing part of modern life... so much so that you may be thinking of purchasing one for your school, but you first need to sell your administrator on its educational uses. If so, then read on! Below are a few ways drones can be used in the classroom for various subjects.
Procedures and Safety Before we get into the classroom, I would like to give some important tips on procedures and safety. First, depending on the weight and size of the drone, you may need to register it with the FAA. Just click this link: https://registermyuas.faa.gov/. It will cost only $5 to register your drone. Secondly, it is important to designate a teacher or administrator to coordinate activities related to the drone. This person trains others, keeps the drone secure when not in use, charges batteries and should even create a handbook for drone use (which can be kept to a page or two). For example, rules like "Flying the drone over the Lower School playground is prohibited," and "Keep the drone in line of sight and don't fly it over people." No one should be permitted to fly the drone until they have been trained. Finally, I recommend keeping a supply of extra batteries. Most drones drain batteries fast - 20 minutes or less.
How can drones be used in the classroom?
Below is a recommended list for drone use by subject area as posted by Heather Wolpert-Gawron on edutopia (link here)
Social Studies: Students can participate in kinesthetic mapping. Photograph or record their movements to chronicle changes in history over time. Draw a map of the world in chalk and have the students "migrate" across the Bering Strait. Create a map of Europe and have students conquer areas and show the spread of the Roman Empire.
Language Arts: Illustrate different points of view. Photograph the school close up and from far away to see the school from a different perspective. Take photos of little seen areas of the school, and have students write predictions about where the photo might have been taken.
P.E.: Send the drone up during PE class to watch students demonstrate a particular play. Then land it and hook your device to an LCD projector so the kids can see what they did. Have them discuss where they should have been and what they can do better. Run the drill again, and see if their reflection improved their performance.
Math: Recreate the Powers of 10 video. The camera started at ground level and pulled back illustrating what the world looked like zooming out by the power of 10. The drones only go so far, so kids can incorporate the footage with their own illustrations in post production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fKBhvDjuy0
Science: Look at the micro world and the macro world. Have a few kids be "cells" of an unknown creature. Pin signs to them with different labels giving hints as to what the broader organism might be. Slowly zoom out and at each 10 feet of distance or so learn a little more about the macro environment in which the cells live. Zoom out entirely to see the plant or creatures in which the cells function.
ASB, Community Building: Produce a video. Drones give you interesting camera angles. You no longer need to rent a crane (expensive) or (what I once did to shoot a student video) borrow a wheelchair to use as a cheap, but bumpy, steady cam. Drones, however, allow you to see the school from above -- and that can be somehow very celebratory. This technology could help students visualize themselves as being a part of something greater!
Current Events: Debate. Form a student congress. What about privacy issues? What is the future of our workforce if companies like Amazon use drones for deliveries? Are drones a good technology, or are we one step closer to automaton domination?
Need help finding a drone to buy? Here are some recommended Drones to purchase:
DJI is the largest drone retailer in the world. Here's a link to their list of products (My school owns the Phantom 4), products
This is a programmable drone. It uses The Arduino software for coding. Link here.
Simpler, scratch like programming, is used for this drone sold by Hammacher Schlemmer, Link here.
Parrot is another major drone retailer. They have drones of various sizes and type, Link here