Drones 101 for Teachers – Thursday 27 September 2018: Post Event Report

Drones 101 for Teachers was held again on Thursday 27 September 2018 at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) in Stirling. 18 teachers attended the workshop representing the following educational institutions:

  • Canberra College
  • St. Francis Xavier College
  • Canberra Girls Grammar School
  • Radford College
  • Marist College
  • St. Edmunds College
  • Yarralumla Primary School
  • Daramalan College
  • Garran Primary School
  • Narrabundah College
  • St. Mary MacKillop College

The first seminar comprised ‘Drone Basics’ where participants learnt about early drone innovators, drone language and general terminology as well as tips and tricks on how to introduce UAVs to the classroom. Pre and post morning tea we covered the three ‘R’s’ (Risk, Responsibility and Rules) segueing into the formal CASA RPAS rules and regulations. As a group we achieved a perfect 15/15 for the CASA drone flyer quiz before participants were challenged with an individual pen and paper test.

In the period prior to a yummy lunch provided by Swirl Catering we looked at how drones work, six-axis stabilisation and coding in brief. After lunch we navigated the plethora of drone-related resources; from CASA’s ‘Can I Fly There’ app and Drone-flyer website to the various books and magazines available.

Fortunately the high winds forecast did not eventuate and a display of the Phantom 4 Pro was possible after a short stint in the CTL gym. A heart racing moment occurred when I took the P4P out of Beginner Mode (which slows the aircraft’s functions, dulls it’s senses and geofences it to 30m from its take-off point) to fly it freely but I was unaware at the time that it was in Sports Mode and it was flown at speed and in close proximity to a nearby tree but it was manoeuvred successfully out of its banked turn and repositioned safely back tot he front of the group for the remainder of the display… even monkeys fall from trees. A group ‘drone’ was captured and a short video shot where the drone was pitched away from the group to a distance of 100m and a height of 60m (see below).

Many thanks to all the teachers that attended the day. Go forth one and all to fly safely and responsibly and please bring the positive aspects of this great technology to 21st century learners.

For those that expressed a desire to learn more with Drone Bootcamp, a flying-focused course is planned for November – please complete the EOI survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/Xo7Gv7kZnt0YXg3h2

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 CASA rules when flying outdoors
  • 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, Willy 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 excluded 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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