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2 Minute Summary: Drones Take Flight as Latest K–12 Learning Tool

Welcome to your two minute summary of Drones Take Flight as Latest K-12 Learning Tool by tech writer Alexander Slagg, featured on EdTechMagazine.

With constant advancements in technology, schools today are upping their STEM game. Drones are one type of technology starting to have more of a presence in the classroom. The use of drones in school provides rich learning experiences in STEM as well as in a variety of other content areas. Slagg's article shares details about successes, challenges, and insights of working with drones in the classroom today.

Drones help students think like engineers

When students have the opportunity to build their own drones, it allows them to develop their engineering skills. Slagg shares experiences from the Young Women's Leadership Academy that involved their students in the Bell Drone Competition, a special drone building contest. By entering their students into this competition, it got kids interested in tackling various engineering problems. Furthermore, students were pushed to collaborate as a team of engineers. They were able to participate in all the phases of the engineering process from defining a problem to building and redesigning prototypes.

Drones get kids interested in solving engineering problems.

Drones need teachers

To bring drones into the classroom successfully, it's of course a much easier task when teachers are onboard and comfortable with the technology. How are school leaders ensuring that their teachers are confident and knowledgable about drones? One school district known as district 67 in Illinois trains their teachers on drone technology by having STEM leaders join team meetings, present at lunch and learns, and provide coaching opportunities for teachers. Furthermore, once teachers try out the technology and see how engaged students are, they'll likely feel more confident and seek ways to include drones into their lessons more frequently.

Drones are wiggling their way into curriculum

Schools today are still trying to determine where to fit drones into their curriculum as they struggle to satisfy the demanding state standards. For now, schools are getting creative and finding ways to blend drones into current curriculum. Slagg shares advice from the Dripping Springs Independent School District that decided to build a curriculum around drones. This school district founds ways to incorporate drones into programming, math, and even writing classes. Hynes Elementary School from district 67 was also mentioned as they found an innovative way to program drones and incorporate them into their study of agriculture and weather. STEM leaders and teachers are continuing experimenting with what works and what doesn't with drone technology in the classroom.

Drones have flying limitations

If you're planning on flying a drone near your school anytime soon, Slagg reminds readers not to forget about drone restrictions. It's important to be aware of the airspace restrictions in your area. To avoid getting into trouble, Slagg recommends flying drones indoors. In fact, there are even special drones available today built for indoor use.

Using drones in the classroom is still a bit premature and has a few kinks to work out, however, getting onboard with new technology can be valuable for your students. You can provide opportunities for students to reason like engineers and be curious about newer technologies. One thing for sure is that you don't have to shy away from using drones just because it's uncharted territory.

Read the full article about drones in school here. Happy innovating!