From the Leader of Learning Technologies

Flying futures - St Joseph’s College students get a flying start as drone pilots

This year we have partnered with She Maps and the University of Southern Queensland on a project to integrate drone technology.

This project uses an action research methodology to plan, design, implement and evaluate the integration of drone technology in a selection of secondary schools in the Lismore Diocese.

The project started with upskilling teachers across the diocese, including Mr Nick O’Reilly, Mrs Natalie Esterhuizen and myself in using drones and exploring curriculum links.

We then had She Maps and the Surf Life Saving NSW’s Australian UAV Service team visit and run their Classroom Drone Essentials Course with a group of Year 7 & 8 students.  The students became geospatial scientists for the day, and received their junior drone pilot licence after learning how to fly and code drones!

During the sessions, the students were taught the rules and regulations for safe flying, and then experienced being the pilot, the co-pilot and the observer whilst flying the drones.  The students learnt how to fly and code a drone for a particular job, and explored various career pathways in the drone industry.

Below are comments from the students:

Hailey “The drone course was great for expanding my technology and coding knowledge and skills.  It allowed me to explore drone occupations in a fun and safe environment.  I experimented with my coding, measurement and direction skills.  Learning with the Surf Lifesavers was a truly great experience.”

Lalita “I enjoyed the coding, flipping the drone, and making my drone fly a path around the map.  I learnt that if you don’t get the coding perfect you can learn and improve it next time.  I also enjoyed pairing up with other students and using all our skills to perfectly land the drone, safely.”

Scarlett “I really enjoyed learning how to fly a drone using coding.  I think it would be an interesting job to use a drone to search for things and map out areas.  I hope we get to do something like this again.”

Erinco “I learnt the basics of drone flying and coding.  It was great as we coded drones to map an area which could lead to many great things in the future eg. mapping flooded areas or areas in crisis.”

Isabel “I enjoyed the opportunity to meet lovely people who taught us how to and why they fly drones.  I had a ton of fun and I got to meet new people.  I am really glad that I went.”

Kalani “I thought it was really fun and it was a good way of teaching kids how to fly a drone and get ideas about careers for the future.”

Toby “I enjoyed flying the drone. I learnt how to stay safe flying a drone and how to code a drone to fly around a map.”

Lily “I enjoyed coding the drones to fly around the map.  I learnt how to fly them and learnt what people use them for.  I learnt how they can save people's lives and give people knowledge of things.”

Lani “There were a variety of exciting things to learn and the way we were taught was unique and fun!”

Jordan “I loved the drone lesson! I love flying drones!”

Isabella “I really enjoyed learning how to fly a drone.  I enjoyed directing the drone to fly over a map.  I had a really fun time!”

Lachlan “I enjoyed learning about how the Surf Life Saving team uses drones to see if there are sharks in the water.”

Ava “I learnt how to fly drones as well as some facts about drones that I didn’t know.  It was a great experience and the people were very helpful and kind.”

As you can see the students thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on experience.

We are excited to start using drone technology as a tool to enhance teaching and learning, and support innovative pedagogy at St Joseph’s College! 

Mrs Georgia James
Leader of Learning Technologies