Drones have helped many schools in educating their students in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics aka STEM. Many teachers enthusiastically report that drones have leveled up the learning experience of the students when they incorporated the use of drones in education. But how useful are drones useful in education?
Drones are useful in education for many reasons. You can use them in mathematics, arts, physical education, and language. If you’re an educator and you’re not yet using a drone, you should seriously consider how drones can enhance your normal classroom activities.
Through the use of drones, many types of lessons can be made easier to understand. Students also attest that it’s fun to learn complicated subjects with the help of drones. If you have no idea how educators are using drones in their class, or how to use one in yours, check out the examples below.
Drones help students who don’t like mathematics to enjoy the subject. It breaks the traditional way of teaching where students learn the subject by theory only. Through the help of the drone, students can apply the theory immediately.
When I say mathematics, this doesn’t really mean arithmetic, but more specifically the harder branches of mathematics like trigonometry. So, if you’re teaching trigonometry, a drone can be a great visual aid.
The aviation industry uses trigonometry routinely. It helps in calculating the estimation of distances and landing patterns. It also helps to calculate in navigating around obstacles. Even GPS uses trigonometry’s principles.
You can also teach about optimal flight plan design for a drone and flight speed measurement.
The most interesting part of using a drone in your math class is that you can use the drone to simulate the problem. Through the simulation process, students can experience a real-world example by operating the drone. If they calculate the problem on paper, they can use the simulation in checking their work.
2. Robotics and Electronics
Building a machine from scratch is fun and at the same time challenging. Yet, the experience and the knowledge you’ll get from it is irreplaceable.
If you’re teaching robotics, electronics, and programming, drone building is your best option. It develops the mechanical skills of your students. Their analytical skills improve too because they are not just putting the machine together, they need to make it work.
How does drone building help students understand electronics?
Electronic device units build the drone’s control unit a.k.a. the drone’s brain. These units are important so the drone works. Among the electronic units are the IMU, compass, GPS, and ESC. Each unit has its function that a drone builder must understand. So, when they fly a drone and it isn’t functioning properly, they can easily identify the problem.
Learning electronics also gives your student an edge to advance their career in their workplace.
3. Practical Skills Development
Your students want to learn practical uses of the lessons you teach. It’s more useful in the workplace than the theories they learn. I’m not saying theories are not important, but skills are absolutely essential.
Three professions require expertise in flying a drone – land surveying, shooting video, and emergency response. Your students can learn these skills through the internet or in a classroom but if you can teach them these hands-on skills during class time, you’re helping them to prepare for a future career.
A student who wants to learn commercial land surveying needs to understand how to accurately position the camera during flight. The student must also learn safety procedures and flight strategies to use when uncontrolled external factors happen during a flight. They must also learn mathematical calculations for a successful flight.
When the students learn the camera positioning, flight strategy, and mathematical calculations at the same time, they’ll be more confident in using the technology.
In the field of arts, flying a drone is also important. For example, in filming, you need to provide breathtaking shots to make the scene powerful. Sometimes, you need to make an intense scene, especially in action movies. If the director asks you to capture explosions, you need to capture them successfully.
As an educator, you can train your students on how to use drones and how to achieve creative shots.
You can also teach your students to operate the drone for search and rescue operations and monitoring conditions during natural disasters. You can also teach them how to use the data they gathered during the drone flight to identify the ideal evacuation route and plan for rescue missions.
4. Environmental Awareness
Through the use of drones, your students will be able to understand more about the environment. They’ll be able to learn more about ecosystems and atmospheric conditions. They can explore marine biology and monitor endangered species. They can even explore inaccessible areas such as rainforests and different types of terrain, and learn first-hand how scientists are using drones in environmental work.
5. Image Description
Novelists use the “show don’t tell” technique in their writing. It’s an effective technique because it engages the reader to turn pages and finish a book. It’s not enough to be a good storyteller. A good writer must be able to let the reader imagine what’s going on in the scene.
One of the ways to train your student in this kind of technique is through drone imagery. What you can do is to show photos captured by a drone. To be more challenging, you must show photos that they’ve never seen before. Then, let them describe the photos through writing. This exercise helps them to increase their vocabulary, to describe images vividly, and to explain things clearly.
Image description exercises also help in speaking development. Instead of writing, you can train your student to become more fluent in describing images. It helps them to be articulate. They can learn to express their thoughts more clearly, which is essential for good communication.
6. Hand and Eye coordination
If you’re teaching young students, using drones can help them improve their hand and eye coordination. Through controlling the drone, they can practice the movement of their hands in sync with following the motion of the drone with their eyes.
The good thing that a drone provides is that it helps students to control the movement of the drone from one point to the other without losing focus. It’s not easy to do it because they need to consider the distance and the speed of the drone.
Although it’s not easy to use drones, it’s guaranteed that your students will improve their hand and eye coordination.
7. Physical Education and Sports
Physical education is one of the fun activities in school. It helps the student to become aware of health issues due to lack of physical activity. However, some students who love sitting all day using their gadgets, may not enjoy physical education.
As an educator, it’s your responsibility to increase the awareness of the students on the effect of having a sedentary lifestyle. You must encourage them to move to avoid obesity and other health issues. And one of the easiest ways to encourage them to get up is to use a drone.
Because a drone is not a common gadget at home, using it in your class will pique your students’ interest. You can call them one by one to experience flying a drone, which leads them to move.
You can also use the drone to capture your students’ attention while they participate in different physical activities. Because you can save the videos, you have the chance to review their movement and make suggestions on how they can improve their movement. You can also show the videos to your students so they can assess their own movement.
Drones also help students to learn programming through applications and software programs. According to a study published by the National University of Tainan, students who undergo the programming program using drones improved in terms of sequencing skills and spatial visualization.
If you plan to use drones in your class, you can use a visual block programming language such as MIT Scratch, Google Blocky, and Tynker. They have programming functions from basic to advanced. You can use the basic function for students as young as 10th-graders.
You can follow the National University of Tainan’s program which teaches the student to create a new programming pattern. The process starts with the copy stage where students copy the programming examples. Then the students tweak it in the second stage. The last stage is when they create a new one.
The programming class is not limited to basic flying movements. You can also instruct your students to program the drone to pass obstacles or complete a flight path. Through programming, you can instruct your students to let the drone dance. You can be creative on the options and tests you provide the students.
Using drones in education is fun and exciting. Incorporating it in your curriculum levels up the quality of education you provide. It also helps the students to be ready to be a part of the workforce.