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Education and training

Drones can help the next generation of students and teachers.

Case Study: In tertiary institutions across Australia, drones are increasingly providing value in research and educational opportunities, including the Swinburne University of Technology’s Aerostructures Innovation Research Hub, and the University of Adelaide’s Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility (URAF).

The Drone is the Hook: She Maps

Founded in 2017 by geospatial scientist Dr Karen Joyce and former high school teacher Paul Mead, She Maps has trained thousands of Australian and international teachers on how to engage students with indoor drones, and has delivered their in-school drone workshops to thousands of students face-to-face.

Many industries realise that there is an urgent need to address drone skill shortages in order to meet the growing demand for drone operators and geospatial experts. At the same time, teachers are acknowledging the huge potential drones present to students of all skill levels, which leads to one conclusion: not familiarising students with drone technologies is a huge missed opportunity.

But teaching with drones doesn’t just serve the purpose of equipping students with the competitive edge needed to thrive in jobs of today and the future.

 

Photo credit: She Maps

For many, especially girls, educational drones can be the key to see STEM through a different lens, and to gain confidence in subjects often considered male-dominated. Drones allow the simulation of real-world applications, immersing students in hands-on activities and scenario-based problem solving. Drones are naturally fun, fascinating, and keep students engaged. They can go where humans can’t, building natural curiosity in students.

She Maps offers solutions to challenges teachers may face when integrating drone use into STEM classes. As many lack the ‘know-how’ or necessary confidence to use educational drones in the classroom, She Maps trains teachers and creates ready-to-teach classroom materials. She Maps provides innovative ideas, lesson plans, and assessment rubrics, that align with the Australian curriculum, as well as industry standards and practices. 

Co-developed with leading organisations in this industry, students can learn how to navigate the emerging aviation technology sector. In classroom simulations, students may solve the problem of transporting medical supplies from the mountains in Nepal to the base village, simulate growing their own crops and performing agricultural drone activities, or surveying the extent of a flood event by sending their drone on a coded flightpath.

Thanks to the support from the Australian Government as part of the Department of Industry, Science & Resources’ Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) Round 4 Grant, She Maps will be working with 24 secondary schools of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, to provide support to female students in low-socio-educational areas through their latest initiative A Launchpad for Women: Promoting Geospatial and Space Careers to Female Youth. In 2023, She Maps have engaged over 460 teachers across metropolitan, regional, and remote locations to build teacher confidence teaching with drones and increase the use of educational drones in classrooms.

 

She Maps is open to partnering with organisations that benefit from drone skills being taught at schools. Reach out to She Maps on their Partner with Us page. For more information, see www.shemaps.com.

CQUniversity and Isis District State High School

Close up of an engineer fixing a drone.

In Queensland, for example, CQUniversity has partnered with Isis District State High School to provide students with the opportunity to improve their knowledge and understanding of drones through an enhanced agriculture curriculum. Isis students are using telemetric system drones to develop STEM skills specific to the agriculture sector.   

Students learnt that drones can be used for all aspects of farm management, including maintaining fence lines, inspecting crops and animal paddocks, and improving farm productivity through survey data. There are also opportunities for students to incorporate their learning on their own family farm to maximise efficiencies.

Students also learnt and practised the safety rules and correct operating procedures for drones, skills which can easily be transferred to other industries.

High school students across Australia may be able to earn a Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot), as well as CASA licensed Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate (AROC) and Remote Pilot Licence (RePL). These qualifications will give students the knowledge and skills to operate remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), such as drones, and the ability to earn a valid license, which will support students to undertake drone-related future work in the agriculture, environment, construction or arts sectors.

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Other uses of drones in Australia
Figure of Research and development
How are drones being used in Australia?

Research and development

Figure of Disaster relief
How are drones being used in Australia?

Disaster relief

Figure of Arts
How are drones being used in Australia?

Arts

Figure of Goods delivery
How are drones being used in Australia?

Goods delivery

Figure of Remote health
How are drones being used in Australia?

Remote health

Figure of Fire and rescue
How are drones being used in Australia?

Fire and rescue

Figure of Farming
How are drones being used in Australia?

Farming

Figure of Environmental management
How are drones being used in Australia?

Environmental management

Read more

Other uses of drones in Australia
Figure of Research and development
How are drones being used in Australia?

Research and development

Figure of Disaster relief
How are drones being used in Australia?

Disaster relief

Figure of Arts
How are drones being used in Australia?

Arts

Figure of Goods delivery
How are drones being used in Australia?

Goods delivery

Figure of Remote health
How are drones being used in Australia?

Remote health

Figure of Fire and rescue
How are drones being used in Australia?

Fire and rescue

Figure of Farming
How are drones being used in Australia?

Farming

Figure of Environmental management
How are drones being used in Australia?

Environmental management