Drone technology is brightening kid’s days in the classroom thanks to a new curriculum. In an article for the NWF Daily News by writer Jennie McKeon, titled Drones in The Classroom, this new approach is explored through the eyes of one second-grade class in Fort Walton Beach, where children take turns landing a small drone on a stool.
The children are excited, engaged, even cheering for each other when the drone is successfully landed. This is how drones can get kids excited about STEAM; bringing robots and other new technologies right into the classroom makes learning feel more like a game than a lesson. Indeed, one of Mind Foundry’s summer camp offerings this year is Wings Academy, where our campers are learning all about flight and are building their own drones.
The opportunity was made possible for the elementary class through the HSU foundation and a grant from the Air Force Research Lab. The curriculum was designed by Sean McSheehy, high school aerospace teacher.
“You can see that every STEM principle is applied with drones,” McSheehy tells McKeon in the article. “We want this to be a succession where eventually kids will learn coding.”
The students work with McSheehy to learn about how coding is used to fly drones, as they operate the robot from their teacher’s smartphone.
Brian Mitchell, who wrote the grant for the Air Force Research Lab, says, “We’ve seen increases in robotics, and now there’s a shift toward drones. They can help kids understand STEM concepts and problem solving.”
As we move towards the future and jobs become more increasingly STEAM based, having these building blocks of STEAM knowledge will be as beneficial to children as basic math and language skills. Students will be lucky to participate in enrichment programs such as these. Drones in the classroom make coding feel exciting and fun. It is just one more great way that teachers and educators can help children prepare 21st century skills and build digital literacy for an increasingly high-tech world.