At first glance, drones might seem like nothing more than an overpowered toy when it comes to their possibilities with younger children. But give them a deeper look, and they can be a powerful tool for education in disciplines like technology, science, math, and even social studies. K-12 schools across the world are beginning to integrate drones into their curriculums, and they’re seeing high returns on investment.
Rethinking STEM Education
A school in Bangkok, Thailand, is teaching students essential concepts like mathematical graphing, calculating distances, and basic trigonometry by studying the paths of their drones. The more advanced the course, the more possibilities for drones to take center stage, with the ability to use modern technology to convey complicated physics and calculus concepts. Drones provide something tangible and interesting, instead of boring students with abstract, hard-to-get textbook examples.
Many teachers are also using drones in programming courses, using drones to engage students into writing programs that allow drones to conduct autonomous flights. Most classrooms are utilizing the popular coding language Python, creating code to pilot their drone around a gymnasium. Students see their code in action, helping emphasize the value of computational thinking and letting students realize the power of programing from a young age. It also teaches troubleshooting and trial and error skills, as they learn to eliminate bugs or errors in code.
Overall, the use of drones in STEM courses can help expose students to new careers. Of course, there’s the obvious pilot or aviation route, but students may also discover a love for engineering, design, programming, mechanics, or data analytics.
Writing Comprehension and Social Studies
Despite what one may think, these scientific machines can also be used to teach skills valued in the humanities. For social studies classes, drones can be used to study local geography, cartography, and the history of their communities. Plus, aerial photography is used in projects such as videos, presentations, paintings, presentations, and websites.
As for speaking and writing, some teachers have assigned each student an image without saying where it was taken from. Next, the student must then describe the photo in a vivid way to their peers, to help them visualize it. This expands students’ descriptive skills, use of language, and interpersonal abilities. They can build a rich vocabulary that will aim them in and outside of the classroom, as well as the ability to visualize scenes when reading and create their own imagery as writers.
If there’s one thing today’s students love, it’s digital media. Drones have emerged as powerful tools for students looking to explore the world of digital media and photo/video editing. Integrating drones into educational curricula allows students to gain hands-on experience in capturing dynamic and compelling aerial footage. They learn to navigate and control the drone, understand the principles of framing and composition, and discover the unique perspectives that aerial photography and videography offer. Moreover, drones provide a real-world platform for students to experiment with various camera settings, lighting conditions, and angles, which are fundamental skills in digital media production. Post-capture, students can delve into photo and video editing software, honing their skills in color correction, image stabilization, special effects, and storytelling through editing. This practical approach not only fosters technical proficiency but also encourages creativity and critical thinking, preparing students for careers in fields ranging from filmmaking and advertising to journalism and marketing. Ultimately, incorporating drones into the learning process empowers students to transform their visions into captivating visual narratives.
Environmental Studies is another subject today’s students find fascinating and one with which drones can be utilized to further learning. Drones have revolutionized environmental education by providing students with an unparalleled perspective of the natural world. Through drone technology, students can witness ecosystems, landscapes, and wildlife from a bird’s-eye view, fostering a deeper understanding of the intricate connections within our environment. They can study habitat diversity, observe animal behavior, and monitor vegetation patterns with precision and detail. Drones also enable students to collect valuable data for environmental research and conservation efforts, such as mapping deforestation, tracking migratory patterns, and assessing the health of aquatic ecosystems. This hands-on experience not only instills a sense of responsibility towards the planet but also encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By integrating drones into environmental education, students gain a unique and empowering tool to explore, analyze, and ultimately contribute to the preservation of our precious natural resources.
Drones have emerged as invaluable tools for introducing students to the fascinating world of photogrammetry, a technique that involves capturing precise measurements and creating detailed 3D models from aerial imagery. By piloting drones equipped with high-resolution cameras, students can collect a series of overlapping images of a specific area or object. These images are then processed using specialized software to create accurate, scaled models. This hands-on approach allows students to grasp the principles of data acquisition, image stitching, and point cloud generation, which are foundational skills in photogrammetry. Moreover, they gain an understanding of how this technology is applied in various fields, from urban planning and archaeology to forestry and engineering. By incorporating drones into the learning process, students not only develop technical proficiency but also cultivate a deeper appreciation for the transformative potential of photogrammetry in research, design, and analysis. This experience empowers them to explore new dimensions in spatial data and opens doors to exciting career opportunities in fields that rely on accurate geospatial information.
Fostering Personal and Soft Skills
Beyond the academic benefits above, drones can also be a key tool in helping children develop essential social and emotional skills. Regardless of what a student aims to pursue, the ability to work with others, clearly communicate, and remain focused will always come into play. Through team-based projects, students gain abilities such as collaboration, flexibility, self-learning, and empathy.
These projects usually include goals like creating shapes, building structures, or executing a certain action. Not only are soft skills and teamwork essential for these types of projects, it allows students to see themselves as part of something bigger. When children grow up and began working in larger organizations, the ability to understand team structure and a shared, central mission will be well-used.
In addition, drones foster intellectual curiosity and creativity. With their wide range of functions, educators can push students to generate innovative solutions to proposed problems. Using drones forces students to think outside of the box to turn their hands-on knowledge into a plan of action.
Get Certified to Fly Commercially
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We’d love to hear from you if you want to learn more about the benefits of aerial drone photography for the real estate industry. If you’re interested in obtaining your Part 107 Commercial Drone License or other drone training courses, please contact us at Dronegenuity today! We offer professional aerial photography services, performed by FAA licensed drone operators for customers of all sizes. All of the work that we do is completely customized and we make the process simple and convenient.