Drones 101 for Teachers – Thursday 5 July 2018: Post Event Report

Drones 101 for Teachers held on Thursday 5 July 2018 at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) in Stirling comprised 13 eager technologists representing the following educational institutions:

  • Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)
  • Harrison School
  • Hawker College
  • Queanbeyan High School
  • St. Mary McKillop College

The first seminar comprised ‘The Basics’ where participants learnt about early drone innovators, language and terminology as well as tips and tricks on how to introduce the tech to the classroom (which in fact is to not introduce them at all… but to inspire kids with boomerangs, paper airplanes and kites).

Before and after morning tea – comprising a ‘dronie’ group photo and demonstration of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro – we covered ‘Drone Dangers’ and the CASA RPAS rules and regulations. A murky area that is constantly changing, the rules of flying drones are a challenge but participants were encouraged to navigate the safe and responsible operation of drones considering three (3) ‘R’s’ (i.e. is it RISKY, REASONABLE and to then consider what the RULES are).

Well done to Eugene for topping the quiz/test with a 9/10 and many thanks to all in attendance for their patience, engaged participation and for laughing sporadically at my ‘jokes’ (term used loosely) and self-indulgent antics.

After lunch we relocated to the CTL gym where a series of Syma X5 drones were demonstrated. Most participants had a crack at flying the simple yet very capable Syma X5UW (with Wifi for FPV) and I’m happy to report nil accidents or heavy landings!

Go forth one and all to fly safely and responsibly and please bring the positive aspects of this great technology to 21st century learners.

Here is a list of tips, tricks, and recommendations to cap off of topics discussed and debated on the day:

  • Always consider ‘risk’ before flying (refer to the ACT ED Risk Matrix and document your drone flying intentions)
  • Ask yourself “…is it reasonable?”
  • Know and abide by the rules
  • Have a TOP-DOWN drone policy inclusive of all stakeholders to ensure that your institution understands and complies with the rules and regs
  • Have a drone ‘brains trust’ at your institution as go-to people for policy purposes
  • It’s up to you to confidently inform senior staff of the do’s and dont’s
  • Communicate and collaborate to eliminate the myths, ‘red herrings’ and crisis management that can surround drone operations and policies
  • Help to create, shape and foster a positive, informed and proactive understanding of RPAS within your institution
  • Refer to your apps for pre-flight info (i.e. Can I Fly There, Aero Weather etc.)
  • You may be near a HLS – refer to the Can I Fly There app
  • Don’t fly OVER people (not ever)
  • Remember Murphy’s Law – don’t push your luck
  • Operate drones with transmitters only rather than a tablet or phone exclusively (unless it’s Tynker for coding and indoors in a safe environment)
  • Don’t let students bring or fly their personal drones at your school (what if they’re stolen or crashed?)
  • Ensure any imagery posted online complies with the rules and regs (caption it as per “All drone operations complied with the CASA rules and regulations for the <2kg commercial RPAS category”)
  • Use Drone Bootcamp as a conduit to provide correct information and to provide further instruction to teachers and students at your school

Mark Will
Drone Bootcamp

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