The Idaho Drone Institute

The Idaho Drone Institute

"As trailblazers of STEM education, PCS Edventures is devoted to enhancing learning in schools around the world by providing students with engaging and contemporary hands-on learning. With drones, we are preparing today’s thinkers for the jobs of tomorrow." Todd Hacket, CEO of PCS Edventures

Exploring the World of Drones

On June 13th and 14th, 22 Idaho schools and libraries and visitors from California and Texas gathered together for The Idaho Drone Institute, an educational UAV training workshop. There, instructors received hands-on training in the latest drone technology, preparing them for the implementation of the PCS Edventures! Discover Drones package in classrooms this fall.

From assembling modular drones to an in-depth Flight School instructed by Thrust-UAV professional drone racing pilots, the Idaho Drone Institute prepared instructors to build, operate, maintain, modify and teach the cutting-edge technology of drones. With two training's held simultaneously in Boise, Idaho, the Institute was an intensive, high-flying STEMventure.

The Discover Drones package isn't limited to drone racing. In just the 22 schools and libraries who participated in the Institute, this fall, Discover Drones will be introduced in high school electronics clubs, public library makerspaces, aeronautics, engineering, tech and design classes and robotics clubs. 

Drones capture stunning aerial photography, save lives in modern day search and rescue missions, collect snot samples from whales for scientific research, inspect vast agricultural landscapes, survey crocodile-infested waters, thrill spectators in FPV racing, bring medical supplies to war-torn areas and deliver pizzas in New Zealand. The world has fallen in love with them, and we’re sure your students will too.

Day 1

The first day of the Idaho Drone Institute was primarily devoted to the assembly of the Discover Drones package. With introductions to construction, drones, safety, configuration, radio controllers and flight simulators led by the experts and drone-heads at PCS Edventures, the participants spent most of the day building, programming and preparing for liftoff.

With RubiQ (Robotic-Unmanned-Bird), their modular UAV, up and running, the afternoon was devoted to the skies. 

Professional pilots EJ “Amped Out” Duarte and Conrad “Furadi” Miller from Thrust-UAV lead Flight School, the participants were thrown from the nest with line-of-sight flight training. 

After mastering RubiQ with their own eyes, the second day of the Institute was all about the drone’s-eye view with first-person view (FPV) flight.

Day 2

In the second day of the Institute, the attendees got a crash course in the Discover Drones curriculum, lessons that hinge on the PCS Edventures innovative approach, LabCards

The LABCard system is intended to provide a tool that enables a more student-directed experience. Educators are empowered to provide more facilitation, coaching and mentoring as students work independently and in their own fashion. Almost all learning environments, including after-school programs, clubs and a wide variety of classroom models, can utilize LABCard curriculum.

With the PCS LABCards, educators can take advantage of a differentiated instruction model where challenging concepts are broken down so students can quickly master skills and move forward. Each LABCard is assigned a point value for quick and easy assessment of progress through each level and to provide students with immediate recognition of their accomplishments.

Students earn 5 points for each card they complete. Each level includes four, 5-point cards and culminates with a 5-point end design project, for a total of 25 points per level. By completing all four levels, students can earn up to 100 points!

Each LABCard includes:

    • Two step-by-step projects that introduce new concepts and skills by guiding students through self-driven activities.
    • Two engaging challenges that take learners through the completion of Droneology, training on the flight simulator and the honing of their piloting skills.
    • A final design project that gives students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in an open-ended way.
    • Key Terms are listed at the end of each card for reference.
    • Along the bottom of most cards is a Droneology checklist, listing videos to watch and quizzes to pass before moving onto the next card.At the end of every level, an End Design Project challenges students to synthesize their learning with creativity, critical thinking and real-world relevance.

Then, to cap the day off, participants donned their FPV goggles to see the world in ways they never thought possible, something that, earlier that day, Todd Wahl, President of MultiGP Drone Racing, had spoken to the participants about. Traveling from Atlanta to present on the basics of FPV drone racing, the MultiGP Racing League and the world's fastest growing sport, Mr. Wahl explained how the new PCS Edventures and MultiGP partnership was shaping up to bring the sport of the future to high schools across the nation with The Scholastic Drone League.

Earlier this month, PCS Edventures and MultiGP announced a partnership to bring a Scholastic Drone Racing League to junior and senior high schools across the nation. With the ultimate goal of bringing the drone racing league to over 20,000 schools in all 50 states, the Scholastic Drone Racing League is currently under evaluation for statewide expansion after the success of the Idaho Drone Institute.

Who is MultiGP Drone Racing?

MultiGP is the world's most prominent ProAm drone racing league which hosts competitions and casual events within its network of over 600 active chapters and 17,000 pilots worldwide.

With The National Championship, Regional Series, International Open, Collegiate Championship, Universal Time Trial Tracks and Chapter Tiers, MultiGP events are designed to provide the drone racing community with an accessible, yet structured format to progress the sport. MultiGP is the Academy of Model Aeronautics Special Interest Group for First Person View (FPV) Racing.

The Success of the Idaho Drone Institute

“I want to thank PCS and iStem for this amazing Discover Drones program that I participated in. I have been a teacher for 19 years, and have attended countless trainings and professional development courses. This is by far the BEST training that I have had the pleasure of participating in!! The information was new and innovative, the trainers walked us through the procedures with hands-on activities, and entrusting us to actually fly the RubiQ was the highlight of the training!

The opportunities for students are endless through this program, and students will receive training and hands-on experiences that will prepare them for careers that are not even available right now. This is the program that will get students excited about STEM topics. I have not talked to a future student that is not ecstatic for this class, and many will try to enroll in the fall.  I will keep you posted and send pictures of the students' involvement. Once this becomes the "hot" class at school, I am planning to implement an after-school program to enhance the training and encourage students to become involved in drone racing.

Thank you again!!  I am so excited and cannot wait to implement this program!!”

With the success of the world’s first ever Drone Institute behind us, PCS Edventures and MultiGP Drone Racing cannot wait to bring the STEMsational thrills of drones to high schools around the nation. Are you?

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