OAK FOREST, IL — With the goal to stay relevant and provide modem day opportunities to students, Bremen High School District 228 has added a section on drones to its Applied Engineering Curriculum, according to a news release from the district.
“We are adding drones to the curriculum because we’re trying to stay relevant and provide opportunities to students that could lead to a career choice for them,” said District 228 Career and Technology Supervisor April Nykaza. “We especially want our students to consider careers they’ve never heard of or have been exposed to yet.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are currently 865,828 drones registered in the United States alone. Of those 865,828 drones, 342,357 are registered commercial drones.
“Although drones can be a fun toy, this skill is something that students can make a career out of. It is an opportunity that most students didn’t know even existed,” said Bremen High School Applied Engineering Teacher Anthony David.
Various industries where drone pilots can make careers for themselves include filmmaking, photography, agriculture, weather, real-estate, security and search and rescue, the release states.
Applied Engineering is taught at all four District 228 schools — Bremen, Tinley Park, Hillcrest, and Oak Forest High Schools. And, while drones are being added to the curriculum, nothing is being replaced or taken away from students. Because District 228 was able to secure a grant for the drones, every Applied Engineering student across the district will have a 1:1 learning experience, meaning, every student will have their own drone to work with and use during their designated class period, the release states.
Because this is the first year District 228 is teaching drones, Nykaza said that teachers will have the ability to be creative and determine how they will teach the new curriculum.
David, who has already implemented the drones in his classroom, said, “First, students learned how to fly the drones after they learned about the different axis that are needed to fly them. Once they learned how to fly them with control, students were given specific tasks. These tasks could only be completed by flying the drone. As an example, students had to take a selfie using the drone’s camera from the air.”
Davis said he also “placed dollar bills high in the gym that students had to fly up to and take a picture of them.” His goal “was to have students learn how to /control a drone safely, and to experience something that could be turned into a career.”
David also included written assignments about drone careers and requirements for obtaining a drone pilot license, the release states.
“I quickly realized that these drones are best to fly indoors with no wind to make flying them easier,” David said. “Developing a curriculum that was beneficial for all students was just part of the process. There are also several resources on the internet by other instructors and developers that were very helpful. These served as a great starting point, so I could adapt to meet the
needs and skills of our students. I did also spend time learning to fly these drones. It takes some practice and I wanted to provide the best instruction to my students.”
According to the release, Applied Engineering teachers are not given a specific timeframe as to when they must teach the drone unit. Therefore, many District 228 teachers will be implementing the new curriculum at various times throughout the year.
The district is also in the process of looking for drone pilots who have made a career out of flying drones and might be interested in speaking with students.