To millions of people around the world, playing with drones has become a normal aspect of life. Not only are drones a blast to learn and to master, but they are also educational. It is common for people of all ages to be energized and excited by using drones and becoming drone pilots.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have many positive uses that are making their way into modern-day society. Among the most significant ways that drones are impacting society is within schools and the modern-day educational system.
Specifically, drones are making leaps and bounds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) departments. There are few better modern tools to use in the classroom than drones.
Drones and Education
While originally used for military purposes, drones now boast diverse capabilities and usages. Many drones used for outdoor play are now being brought inside the classroom. A shocking, but not a completely unexpected, progression considering the quick and steady evolution of technology and the relationship it has with the educational system.
Drones are now providing teachers with a hands-on tool to help students retain knowledge, especially where STEM is concerned. While there are many studies proving this to be true, we find this one to be very helpful. Not only does the hands-on aspect improve retainability of knowledge, but it also aids in the development of core skills such as fine and gross motor skills.
Drones are not only providing learning tools for students and teachers alike, but they help to break up the monotonous grind of the school day. By allowing students and faculty members a reprieve from the arduous task of intensely focusing on the same topics over and over again, drones help to bring a sense of fun back into the learning environment.
How Drones Are Being Used In Education
Drones can be used as a tool for learning with virtually any age-group. Here are some of our favorite ways that drones can be used in the classroom:
From coding and electronics, that teach children how to write code and program, as well as becoming familiar with the mechanical innards of electronics, to critical thinking and cognitive development in general, drones are perhaps the best option schools have at their disposal for break-through STEM learning.
Furthermore, drones further students’ understanding of the nature of aerodynamics as well as other hard-earned skills such as hand-eye coordination and patience (as you can relate, yes, it takes oceans of patience to learn how to properly operate a drone).
Speaking and Writing in Early Education
Using drones in the classroom can be beneficial to teachers and young students alike. One way that drones can be used in a classroom setting is by capturing images that would be hard to get from a ground standpoint.
Teachers assign each student an image without giving them the information of where the image was captured from, to then describe in a vivid way, creating the picture in the minds of their peers without showing them the photograph.
This way of using drones helps expand students' descriptive skills as well as engaging them in the activity. By utilizing the student's descriptive language skills, students are better able to build a rich vocabulary to aid them later in their academic career.
Not only do drones used in this way provide better vocabulary usage skills, but they also aid in the creative imagery skills needed by young learners. This can lead to enhanced reading comprehension by allowing the students to envision what is happening in the scenes set in a book.
Developing Fine Motor Skills and Hand-eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a crucial skill taught in almost all youth education facilities. From volleyball to tennis, sports were once thought to be the best way to improve hand-eye coordination. While that still is helpful, there are other ways to enhance hand-eye coordination without having a ball hurtling towards your face. If your students struggle with hand-eye coordination or using their fine motor skills, the use of drones within the classroom can help tremendously. Drones require a lot of focus to use while navigating from one destination to another. This added attention to these skills may help with development.
Drones help develop depth perception by requiring the user to judge the distance in space that the drone is flying. In the beginning, miscalculation occurs, but with repeated use and practice, improved judgment begins.
Giving students other options to build these necessary fine motor skills means that students are more likely to find success and a niche for themselves that they enjoy and may practice at home or with friends. More families are buying drones, or have access to them for low prices on sites like Amazon or eBay.
Teaching the Laws of Physics
In science class, we all learned about the laws of physics. If your teacher was anything like mine, you had to read text after text and take quiz after quiz to ensure you understood the material appropriately. If only there was a better way to teach it…
Enter the drone. Today, teachers can teach the laws of physics by using cool drones. The easiest law of physics to teach is Newton's 3rd law about objects in motion. An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
To teach the law of gravity one must position the drone in the air a few inches or feet above a soft surface and turn off all of the controls. As you will notice, the drone almost immediately falls to the ground. Gravity. This can easily be explained to students as they replicate the demonstration with their own.
To teach the first law of motion as referenced earlier, the teacher should demonstrate to the students how, if no controls are pressed, the drone stays in place. It cannot hover or move unless the controls are used to power the motor and run the propellers. An outside force. In this way, students can learn the laws of physics in a fun and interactive way.
Building Intellectual and Creative Skills
Some students learn best by destroying and rebuilding. These habits tend to show improvement in memory building, as well as improving the child’s intellectual skill set. Working with students on simple projects is helpful, but why not take things to a new level and incorporate drones.
By taking a drone apart and putting it back together, students learn how to build and learn through trial and error. It builds patience and shows a hands-on approach to the mechanics of drones.
Another way drones can be used is to build creativity within the minds of young students is by providing them with the different components of a drone. Drones can be assembled in different ways. Watch as each child thinks on their own and places the different components in different places. This all serves the same purpose of making the drone mobile.
Letting students try, fail, and then succeed, is time-consuming and frustrating. But patience builds over time, and in the end, it's about the process and learning along the way.
Hands-on Learning Experience
Finding ways to allow students to work with their hands on a relevant project is important for student engagement. Students in elementary school tend to enjoy working with any tangible thing that they can get a hold of. Lectures and worksheets are not the best form of teaching. Many students never learn or understand the material being taught because they are not being taught in a manner that is conducive to their ways of learning.
A simple solution to this would be- drones! Drones can help teach different topics and subjects if one has the ability to imagine it. Drones allow students to work hands-on, making their learning easier by providing a tangible way to experiment with those things that they are being taught.
FAQs About Educational Drones
Will drones hinder the student's ability to focus in the classroom?
No, quite the opposite. In most cases, as long as the student understands that the drone is being used as an educational device, there should be limited problems with students misusing their drones.
What exactly is the school teaching my student with/about drones?
Unfortunately, this is a question that you will have to ask each individual school. To do so, simply look into who directs the UAV, or drone program at your child’s school and ask them what exactly it is that they plan on teaching your child through the use of drones.
Can I (or my child) fly a drone on school property or a college campus?
Again, this is a question that needs to be directed to each individual school or college. For the most part, most college campuses and schools are safe zones for flying personal drones. You may, however, need to register the drone with the FAA beforehand (unless it qualifies as a model aircraft).
A Final Word About the Ways Drones Are Being Used in Education
As you can see there are many ways that drones help students in today’s educational setting. Used for everything from gaining a better understanding of science and technology to aiding in sports skills such as hand-eye coordination, drones continue to make a big impact on the way children (and adults) learn in a school environment.
If your child's school (or college) does not have a drone program, talk to the appropriate school personnel about starting one. Perhaps suggest at least a trial period or pilot program. The drone programs that we see already in place are greatly enhancing the learning process at select schools.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned a few things about how drones are used in an educational setting.
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