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PCS Edventures had the honor of hosting a dynamic group of educators at its headquarters in Boise, Idaho. Teachers came from across the state to participate in i-STEM, a series of professional development courses focused on the STEM fields. Brandi Milliron, a STEM teacher at West Minico Middle School, and Nikki Yates, a math teacher and former instructor at the EdventuresLab, led “STEM in the Sky,” a session geared towards educating participants on drones, highlighting the potential applications of UAVs in the classroom.
As the group arrived, Tyler Downey, STEM Education Specialist, presented a brief history of PCS Edventures. Drones are one of the company’s newest products, adding fresh tech and new opportunities to a 30-year history of educational learning tools and curricula. PCS introduced their flagship drone education solution, Discover Drones, in 2017, and since hitting the shelves, the company has sold over $1 million in drones, creating the ultimate hands-on STEM experience for students all over the world.
With fresh cups of coffee in hand, the educators moved to the research and development area where they met a group of drone experts from Thrust-UAV, a PCS Edventures subsidiary, who gave a peek into their engineering creative process. Conrad Miller, the head of Drone Technology Support, showed the group some of the cutting-edge UAV developments happening behind-the-scenes. Showcasing drones like the Alpha 5.0, a quadcopter which weighs only 275 grams and can hit speeds over 100 miles per hour.
Participants were able to see some of the latest advancements in the drone marketplace, learning exactly how quickly the drone landscape is expanding.
Next, the group examined some of the other projects developed by Thrust-UAV for law enforcement, agriculture and transportation before walking into the Assembly and Repair division. There, they viewed examples of drones in all stages of production. One set of UAVs was undergoing customization for an event in Texas. Each drone had a special skin for top brands, including Kodak, Kellogg, Frito Lay and other industry leaders. Teresa Bly, the hand solderer for PCS Edventures, joined the tour by introducing herself. She organizes outgoing inventory and fixes any drones that return for repairs. After hearing Teresa’s job description, Brandi, one of the group leaders, gave a shout of thanks, describing the occasional student crashes which resulted in the need for drone repairs. Brandi also gave a shout out to Ryan Byard, Lead Support Specialist, who always took ample time out of his day to answer her calls, troubleshoot problems, correct mix-ups and order replacement parts. When Brandi's drones needed to be sent back, Teresa repaired and returned them promptly. Brandi commented that PCS Edventures always provides the highest level of customer service.
From the warehouse, the group moved outside for a flying demonstration. Conrad, who doubles as a professional drone racer, brought out one of his favorite drones, showcasing the skills of an expert pilot and the product of extensive flight practice. Each educator then got a chance to try the FPV (first-person view) goggles, allowing them to experience the drone’s-eye view, a lesson everyone quickly learned needed to be taken sitting down — the high speeds and sharp maneuvers are a lot to take-in for beginners! Seeing the group's fascination at his piloting skills, Conrad explained that he has flown every day for the last few years and that it took a lot of time before he could fly while standing. As Conrad displayed, there is an element of mastery which students acquire with flight practice, providing opportunities for goal-setting and definable achievement in the classroom.
Teachers, administrators, STEM organizations — would you like to take a tour?
We would love to feature our facilities and introduce you to the team behind our cutting-edge classroom STEM solutions! If you would like to schedule a visit or want to learn about coordinating a group visit, contact Tyler Downey at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you soon!
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