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Education - Drones in Education — How Drones Can Make Teaching a Fun and Engaging Experience - B-AIM

Astechnology rapidly progresses, it is important that our educational methods evolve to stay in sync with these changes. A modern and dynamic educational model will allow students to grasp concepts with greater ease.

One such technology that is slowly but surely assimilating into our education is drone technology. So, how exactly can drone technology make teaching a fun and engaging experience? Are there any laws governing the use of drones for education? Which drones are ideal for teaching basic educational concepts? Read on to find out as I discuss each of these points.

Do You Need FAA’s Permission If You Are Flying a Drone for Educational Purposes?

The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Bill has introduced new requirements for using drones for educational purposes. According to Section 350, “USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS AT INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION:

“For the purposes of section 44809 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, a ‘‘recreational purpose’’ as distinguished in subsection (a)(1) of such section shall include an unmanned aircraft system operated by an institution of higher education for educational or research purposes”.

So, the 2018 Bill states that even if drones are being used by institutes of higher education, that will still be considered a “recreational purpose”. This means that the new hobby rules that have been introduced in the Bill will apply to institutes of higher education too. To learn more about the specifics of the 2018 Reauthorization Bill.

Drones in Education — Students in Lower Grades Can Grasp Fundamental Concepts with Ease

Let’s face it. Drones are cool. Having a drone in the classroom will certainly pique the curiosity levels of students. Firstly, young kids can better their hand eye coordination by mastering stick movement with a training drone.

Kids in higher grades can learn about Maths, Physics and Science with the aid of drones. How so? Let’s start with Maths. Many kids particularly grapple with Maths because of its abstract nature. Using drones, kids can learn about distance and time. They can learn graph creation and trigonometry by observing the flight path of the drone. Check out this video where a drone is being used in a Math class-

Assembling a drone can also be a learning experience for kids. Showing the functions of all the components — the ESC, flight controller, and propellers will help kid’s better grasp concepts of physics and aerodynamics.

Drone Technology Is a Great Way of Introducing Students to Coding

DJI’s Tello is a great way of introducing students to coding. The Tello has been developed by the Shenzen based, Ryze Technology in collaboration with DJI and Intel.

The Tello can be programmed using DroneBlocks, the MIT-developed Scratch or Python. I was particularly impressed with DroneBlocks — an open source app that allows students to code autonomous flight missions using block programming. Visual programming allows you to drag and drop.

The tiny Tello can be programmed to perform flight missions such as flying in a Box pattern, landing in your hand and even flips. Check out this video for instructions on how to program the Tello using DroneBlocks. Apart from the Tello, DroneBlocks also works with DJI drones like the Phantom, Mavic and Spark also.

Drone Technology Has Applications in Higher Education Too

Apart from primary education, drones can also help students studying engineering at Bachelor’s or Masters level.

For instance, students of construction can study site operations and create models/simulations to discover and remove process inefficiencies. For instance, let’s say a construction management student wishes to study stone quarry operations and get actionable insights for optimizing site operations. Broadly, stone quarry operations can be sub-divided into the following –

· Drilling

· Adding Explosives

· Blasting

· Splitting quarry stones into smaller pieces

· Transportation

Using drones it will be easy for students to understand site operations. Firstly, using tethered drones, it can be possible to capture operations of a stone quarry 24x7. Moreover, using aerial shots means that you can capture a greater area. Certainly, using drones is a cheaper, more efficient alternative to employing multiple still cameras across the entire site. Data quality will be far better too.

How long are drilling operations taking? Are slow drilling operations a bottleneck that are clogging up the entire chain? Or, do you have trucks lying idle because you just have a single loader on the site? Using tethered drones, you can capture data to accurately simulate operations — which shall allow students to answer these questions. Thus drone technology can help students intimately understand site operations without even putting on their boots to step on the site.

Also, given that drone technology is prominently being used in Films and Advertising, students in these domains can benefit greatly if drones are a part of their curriculum. Students of Agriculture will find knowledge about drone technology and NDVI mapping extremely useful when they enter professional life. And, architecture students can study building facade and construction techniques in great details using drone technology.

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