By 2026, the drone market in educational environments alone is estimated to grow to $499 million. There’s a huge push happening for drones in education today. If you’re an educator, you likely already know. 

Why drones, though? At Drone Legends, we answer this question every day. After working with thousands of teachers around the world— helping schools implement drone technology into classrooms and programs— we’ve seen all the ways drones help students and teachers. 

If you’re an educator interested in drones, keep reading. Here’s what you need to know about teaching with drones, particularly for STEM education.

Drone Teacher vs. Teaching Drones

The first thing to note: you don’t have to be a professional drone teacher or even a STEM-savvy educator to teach a class using drones. 

While there are plenty of opportunities to learn drone piloting through formal drone instruction programs (yes, even for kids!), drone education doesn’t have to be formalized. Drone training is suitable for someone who wants to become a licensed drone operator, or for those who want to make sure they learn all the FAA regulations when flying a drone.

However, when it comes to learning the basics of drone piloting, almost anyone can learn. Similarly, any type of teacher can adapt to teaching drones in the classroom. While drones are widely used in higher education and universities, many elementary and high school teachers are introducing drones early on.

Elementary Teachers & Drones

Using drones in teaching brings some interesting, engaging dynamics to the classroom. Most notably, students learn hands-on technical skills and gain career-ready knowledge that’s relevant in many STEM fields today.

In elementary drone programs, teachers have noticed:

Even parents notice the benefits of elementary drone teaching. One parent shared that their kids learned “drone safety, function, application, design, operation and programming” through our drone program. On top of that, kids can use camera drones to learn about aerial videography and photography. 

One educator who used the Drone Legends program, Sue, said: “We have been able to offer Drones to the girls on our Reservation. It is a very self-guided program, requiring minimal adult guidance once the students have been taught the basics. Youth have amazed me with the dedication and commitment they have brought to the program. I anticipate improved school attendance and higher testing scores as students continue with the program.” 

For 4th through 8th graders, students learn to apply concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math to real-life scenarios. Here’s how.

Teachers often find there are ways to use drones to demonstrate nearly any subject, including art, reading, and writing. 

Drone Teaching Tips

There are so many ways to teach using drones. It’s easier to do than a lot of teachers think! Here are some tips to teach with drones, for any subject or grade level.

Institute the Right Rules

There are a few rules to keep in mind for recreational and educational drone flight. Educational drones are most often used indoors to avoid breaching state regulations. A classroom, gymnasium, or cafeteria are good areas to set up drone courses. 

Teachers must establish the rules and guidelines for students before handing over drones for piloting. For example:

You can add class rules when teaching your students. But make sure you list out the right rules beforehand so everyone knows what to expect.

Enforce the Rules

Once you have the rules listed out, it’s important to enforce them. 

Explain to students that if they refuse to follow the rules, it puts the group at risk of harm and they’ll have their drone privileges removed. Drones are exciting and fun but they require responsibility to operate and learn from.

Click here to read more classroom management tips when teaching drones to kids!

Assign Roles

Every student, regardless of whether or not they’re flying a drone, has an active role in drone learning. Before delivering drone lessons, assign every student a role.

You can create other roles for students that are scenario-based, such as “first responder”, “reporter”, and “drone repair technician.” Keep it fun and involved.

Implement Structure and Flow

Helping students rotate the roles of drone piloting is one way to create structure and flow in the classroom. Other ways to implement structure include:

Have a plan, reach out for help if you need it, and be a good example to students. All these things encourage more structured drone teaching.

Introduce Then Reinforce Ideas

When teaching with drones, introduce the concept of the lesson beforehand. Explain what students will be observing when flying their drones. Then, reinforce what students are learning throughout the drone lesson. You don’t just want to hand a kid a drone and let them fly without an objective!

Using a STEM-backed drone curriculum is a must for teaching drones effectively. Achieve all of these learning tips with the help of a program like Drone Legends. 

Teach Drones to Max Out Hands-On Experiences

After a day of sitting and desk-learning, kids want to get up and move around. Drones are great tools to immerse students in fun STEM activities in afterschool programs, enrichment programs, and school clubs. 

Any teacher or facilitator can bring an exciting drone learning experience to their class. Whether you’re trained in drone science or completely new to teaching STEM with drones, you are capable of maximizing a hands-on learning experience for kids!

At Drone Legends, we created a program that equips teachers to start teaching with drones right away. Visit dronelegends.com to get started with the most comprehensive drone curriculum available.

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