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Drones offer an off-the-ground learning experience for students

Photo Credit: Swinburne University of Technology

Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology is incorporating drones into lesson plans across four Pathways and Vocational Education (PAVE) courses at the University’s Hawthorn, Croydon and Wantirna campuses.

According to a recent press release, 10 mini drones and one high-definition larger drone have been introduced into the classroom as a teaching tool via a three-hour program.

The program includes Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations and technical operating procedures.

This “off-the-ground” method of teaching is helping students learn new skills across vocational and tertiary courses.

These courses include:

  1. Design media and Information Communication Technology
  2. Health and community science
  3. Building
  4. Construction
  5. Engineering

The Transformative Learning Team has a mission to transform teaching practices across Swinburne PAVE by inspiring and empowering staff to develop capacity and capability in innovative teaching methods.

Incorporating drones into the lesson plan

A project officer explained that drones are enhancing traditional lessons with exciting and innovative new ways of teaching.

The team works with teachers and co-ordinators to devise ways so that they can incorporate mixed technology, particularly drones, into the classroom.

Mixed reality is a key component in the PAVE course review and transformation process, which is currently being rolled out across all departments.

The teaching methods are always adapting to suit the ever-changing landscape of society, economy, education and technology.

The usual question that they ask is, “How to take a course that has been running for 30 years and get drones to improve the learning for a student?”

The use of drones in commercial applications is now commonplace and will continue to grow rapidly.

Drones are regularly used in many fields including photography, emergency services, sports and real estate.

It is vital for students to have experience with drones as preparation for their chosen vocation.

Increasing worksite safety

Drones can potentially improve safety in a wide range of industries, and the trade students are learning firsthand how drones are making construction sites safer.

For instance, a person can control a drone from the ground and send it up to survey a multi-story building.

It will provide an aerial view of a worksite, inspect hard to reach or high-risk areas and ultimately determine if an environment is safe for a worker.

Drones can be an eye in the sky and save a person from having to work at heights or in a confined space. They can essentially save lives because it minimises the risk of slips, trips and falls.

Filmmaking and television

Drones are changing the nature of filmmaking as they are able to record footage and relay it back to stakeholders.

Drones could be a low-cost solution to expensive aerial cinematography, which students of Diploma of Screen and Media – Film and Television were able to experience in a workshop.

Over 20 students learned more than just flying a drone or pressing record. They were learning safety and operational procedures firstly.

They were also taught how drones can be used in all stages of production for film and TV or basically how to tell a story with a flying camera.

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