Today I was lucky enough to attend a training at Macomb Intermediate School District sponsored by REMC, called “Coding and Drones”. I had no idea what I was getting into but I had always been interested in drones and have taught coding in one of my classes. When the flyer hit my in box back in June I remembered about meeting up with a twitter friend, Brian Cook, at AMLE conference in Philadelphia where he shared how he had a drone club at his school. Why not give up one day in summer to check it out? Today was worth it! I am just imagining the possibilities of using drones for learning.
First off WHY!
At the start of the presentation the why was answered quickly. Drones are used in so many industries for so many tasks. From the Military (the obvious news making use) to Television to airlines to energy industry to agriculture drones are used regularly. Drones go where humans struggle to go. Usually inspecting with video relays and often performing repair tasks. First thought in my head is that Spiderman Far from home drone use aren’t fiction for much longer. Our students will most likely encounter drones in their careers. Of course we can’t really know because most of our students will embark in careers that aren’t around yet. Drones were fiction when I was in middle school. Using drones will engage our students in applied technology. Students will see the value of accurate measurements, coding with a purpose and understanding of the thinking by design process.
Now the How…
It will take some time to figure out just exactly how to incorporate drones into the classroom but today opened the door to many ideas. As we worked to learn how the drone worked each table group talked about how to use them in their classrooms. I was lucky to be working with two other middle school teachers. We quickly focused on the tasks that students could complete; flying an obstacle course or completing tasks. We were introduced to a program called DroneBlocks a quick block based coding program. DroneBlocks has tutorials and has some tasks for students to complete with the Tello Drones. I feel that the coding with drones will fit in with as an extension station to my current teaching. I can’t wait to watch what the students learning with drones.
My only concern is that I have only one drone. I will have to seek grants and share my successes in hopes of getting more. Maybe Amazon would want to sponsor school drone programs in the future due to their ambitious plans to deliver packages via drones!
All I can say is if you get the opportunity to learn about using drones in the classroom don’t pass it up!