What are Drones?


Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that are controlled autonomously by computers or pilots with remote controls. They were innovated in the early 1900s for military personnel training and typically leveraged in operations that are too dangerous or time-consuming for humans. Still most commonly used for military purposes, drones have been deployed for a wide range of tasks, such as policing and community surveillance and security, filmmaking, and the surveying of agriculture and crops. In the past century, drone technology has advanced users’ abilities to extensively view objects and landscapes below, as well as to detect changes in environmental conditions. Features including biological and chemical sensors, electromagnetic spectrum sensors, and infrared cameras make these detailed observations possible. While legal and ethical concerns have been raised by many over the prospect of constantly being monitored by these vehicles, new civil aviation programs and experiments that include drones reflect a growing use of the technology. There are not yet concrete applications for teaching and learning, but the continuous progress of drones in the military and consumer sectors make them compelling to watch closely over the next few years.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - gillysalmon gillysalmon Jan 24, 2016 my feeling is that there 'should' be some examples coming through for L & T - field work? training on remote scenarios?
  • Drones in STEM seems to getting traction as building, programming and using the drones can be integrated into major project work https://3dr.com/3du/ - geoffrey.crisp geoffrey.crisp Jan 24, 2016
  • There is enormous potential for their use in capturing content for instructional resources. Drones bring together a wide array of cutting edge technology and innovation so have great scope for student projects across a range of disciplines. - stephan.ridgway stephan.ridgway Feb 17, 2016
  • Programmable drones are rapidly becoming a replacement or continuation of robotics kits for introductory programming activities - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 19, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Although drones might be cool, a good pedagogical model is needed for their use.
  • I think the their roots in the RC "make it" culture are significant. The commercial applications of consumer drones are really only beginning to emerge, photography, film making, journalism some of the early examples. - stephan.ridgway stephan.ridgway Feb 17, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • There is huge potential across a wide range of disciplines. Drones being used in conjunction with 3d mapping software such as https://www.pix4d.com/ is just one example of the potential of this technology. In some areas it has quite transformative potential, in film makinh and photography new perspectives are possible not achievable with conventional aerial techniques.
  • The bird's eye view allows for new ways of planning, data collection and field study - architecture, game strategy, design in nature, urban dynamics, pre-fieldwork risk assessment - an exhaustive list - joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 21, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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