From the President

Access, Vol. 32, issue 1, 2018, p.3.

President, Sandra Amoore

The ‘must have’ Christmas present around my school was a drone. Or another one. Apparently sending a drone to the beach to check on the tide is essential before going swimming or fishing.

Drones are increasingly being utilised in classroom lessons. These gadgets enrich the possibilities to engage students in more interactive classes. Teachers have found a variety of ways to integrate drones across multiple subjects. Drones are used in languages, physics, photography, geography, the arts and physical education. Sending a drone to find a cricket ball is probably the best strategy in snake-infested grass. Teachers are receiving more professional learning than ever before on how to plan and use the aerial devices in ways that will bring a payoff for students.

Drones aren’t new. The military has been using unmanned aircraft since the American Civil War. What is new is how easily the public can purchase them. Children come up with great ideas to engage drones in their lives. They question, investigate and search for new potentials. They have the creativity of finding different uses with these technologies.

In the book Drones in Education: Let your students’ imaginations soar (2016), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) drives the engagement factor. More importantly for schools is the academic potential in using drones. To guide schools to successfully implement the technology, the authors Chris Carnahan, Laura Zieger and Kimberly Crowely promote the SOAR model, which stands for Safety (ethics and legal use), Operation (flight and maintenance), Active learning (engagement in problem solving), and Research (practical applications).

When a discussion on drones starts, the conversation will eventually turn to mass surveillance. Most people envisage drones to be flying devices with cameras mounted at the bottom. The devices are considered a privacy invasion by the average consumer. Despite the worries of capturing and recording real-time pictures and videos, this feature is the major appeal as far as these devices are concerned. It’s not all bad when it comes to drones conducting surveillance.

In the Christmas holidays two young swimmers were rescued by a drone. The flying device played a critical role in the operation. Two teenagers were seemingly struggling with the current at Lennox Head Beach in New South Wales. Thanks to the quick deployment of the float under the drone, the two boys were able to be rescued by the lifeguards.

Drones are doing a lot of good in the world. It can feel like we still have a way to go towards changing the public perception about drones and their daily usefulness in the world. Poaching and forest fires, wave-powered drones providing live tracking of the whale shark, crucial monitoring and surveying hard-to-reach wildlife populations, shark sightings and delivering automated external defibrillators to victims of cardiac arrest. Alphabet, Amazon and pizza chains have committed to developing drones that can deliver packages.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch this technology continue to evolve. I think catching a drone to work would be a dream come true. Technical capabilities will advance. This will spark the imaginations of big-picture thinkers aiming to solve real-world problems.

Last updated: 3/11/2018 8:16:37 AM