During the last school year, my students and I enjoyed exploring the use of drones in my classroom. I teach students at a student-run Help Desk at Burlington High School in Burlington, MA. While flying drones isn’t ordinarily something one would expect as part of our Help Desk program, we often try new and different types of technology to see if there are any possible educational uses. We were fortunate enough to receive a MassCUE grant this year to acquire additional drones which we’ll be using with other classes at the high school.
Our Drone Story
Our exploration with drones started when we tried using a small toy drone given to me as a gift by a student. While the drone was interesting to play with, we found it very difficult to fly as we would constantly have to adjust the trim settings to get it to hover in place. The same student who gave me the toy drone had talked about getting himself the DJI Mavic Pro. Based on my research, DJI seemed to be one of the highest-rated drone manufacturers and I made the decision to purchase a refurbished Mavic Pro. Initially, we needed to learn more about the setup and use of this drone. I found this video on the Mavic Pro particularly useful. This article covers most of the basic flight skills and also gave us some practice patterns so we could learn to be better pilots.
Safety is also of the utmost importance when using drones and the FAA UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) website is where one should go to register your drone, as well as learn the rules and regulations of drone flight. In my opinion, the most exciting part of the drones is aerial photography and video. There are many sites where you can learn these basics but I found this to be a useful site.
MassCUE Classroom Grant
After a few months of working with drones, we decided to apply for a MassCUE Classroom Grant. Read my blog post where I discuss some of the background for the grant. Interestingly enough, I have to thank a student who attended the MassCUE conference with me last October and grabbed a flyer and encouraged me to apply for the grant. I encourage you to apply for a grant too!
LeRoy Wong is the instructional technology support specialist at Burlington High School in Burlington, MA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.Print this post