A crowd of over 350 students and teachers cheered and watched in awe as the DJI Phantom 3 drone was unleashed on middle school during chapel announcements. The drone is the newest piece of interactive technology to be purchased for student and teacher learning. While many fascinating learning opportunities exist with such tech (students will learn to fly, as well as design new uses and explore ethical decision making in current events), our drone has become a vehicle for introducing another emerging technology: digital badging. Unleash the drone!
As a way to expand the learning measures, Mrs. Wilkes and Mrs. Levinson spent the summer researching, designing, and planning how to launch badging with our faculty. In pre-planning, our teachers earned over 60 badges (the Drone Flying Ace) is only one of many exciting new badges that Mount Vernon faculty can earn. Our IT Director Mikey Canup has been awesome at not only supporting our ideas, but helping us implement them! Even when we crashed the drone outside a few weeks ago (two propellors broke in half), he smiled like a forgiving father.
Although many of the faculty have already received their earned badges via an electronic file, today we recognized those who earned the Drone Flying Ace badge with a secondary, physical sticker to match the digital badge. The sticker can be posted anywhere (mine are on the clear, plastic case protecting my laptop) to display and share new knowledge and skills you have demonstrated. Other badges include demonstrations such as operating a Clear Touch, presenting at a conference, blogging, designing formative assessments, and others.
Interactive Tech: Learning Drones
The Student Engagement Plan of Mount Vernon’s iPlan17 calls for educators to “provide appropriate access to emerging technology where students actively engage in using interactive tech…”
As if Chromebooks, Clear Touches, ePortfolios, Google Docs and other interactive technologies aren’t enough, I’m “flying high” with excitement to share that we’ve purchased a drone.
I believe there are unlimited applications and possibilities for learning with this new machinery. Drones and other aerial tech will play an increasingly relevant and complicated role in the lives and futures of our students. They should not only know how to operate these vehicles, but consider their many positive and potentially harmful uses, as well as devise systems and strategies for maximizing the best this tech has to offer.
So, don’t be surprised, when walking around the campus or surrounding neighborhoods if you hear the light hum of our newest experiment or see (insert cool nickname for our drone here – maybe we should have a contest) soaring overhead along the sidewalks and athletic fields.
How would you utilize drones and other interactive technologies to teach your students about math, science, physics, law, ethical decision making, and so much more?