The world can’t stop buzzing about drones. From same-day deliveries to search and rescue missions, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have spent the last few years innovating the modern world. As the tool of the future, emerging drone technology has found a place in nearly every aspect of our lives, and it’s easy to see why. Drones unlock remote areas once only accessible by helicopter, make jobs like agriculture and surveying easier, and perhaps their biggest draw, drones are lighter on the wallet. But that’s not the only impact UAVs are having. Drones are stimulating education in ways we’ve never seen before.
On top of providing students with hands-on learning, drones introduce STEM through a thrilling, airborne platform. Unlike conventional learning models, UAVs 1.) open the classroom to individual exploration, 2.) boost engagement and retention rates, 3.) construct critical thinking and problem-solving skills and 4.) provide students with vital connections to emerging career and degree paths. From building the talents needed to succeed in an increasingly drone-filled world to delivering foundational experiences with new technologies, systems and methods of learning, drone programs have been invigorating classrooms across the country. For more information on how drones nourish education read the Drones and Hands-On STEM education blog.
Outside of constructing, configuring and learning to fly, drones are also helping students become more compassionate members of society. To highlight precisely how UAVs are helping students engage with the world, PCS Edventures introduced the How would you drone? Drones for Good Video Contest. Challenging 13-18-year-old students to submit a 60-90 second video detailing how they would use drones to solve global issues, this contest had over $15,000 worth of prizes up for grabs for both the student and their school.
In the first stage of the contest, participants were asked to submit their unique Drones for Good solution. To be considered eligible for the contest, all videos needed to:
- Be between 60 and 90 seconds long.
- Acknowledge and provide a full and concise response to how drones could be used for good.
- Be free of all watermarks, copyrighted materials and third-party logos.
The contest received 64 video submissions from across the country during this entry period. Of those videos, 34 met the submission criteria and moved on to the Public Voting stage.
During this open voting stage, it was up to participants and viewers to vote on their favorite video submission. Individual users were allowed one vote during a 24-hour period, and the 34 accepted videos received a total of 14,096 public votes. In total, the contest page received 25,033 unique campaign views. At the end of the public voting round, the ballots were used to determine the top 15 submissions, which then moved on to the Finalists Round.
With the top 15 video submissions decided, the contest moved on to a final round where judges from PCS Edventures, Thrust-UAV, Fat Shark RC Vision Systems, Kodak and FrSky deliberated to find the top 5 submissions. In the Finalists Round, each video was judged on:
- Merit of Solution
- Quality of Submission
The goal of the judges round was to find the student submission which provided the best all-around drone solution, one which fully advocated for and utilized drones for good. After much consideration, the judges announced the winners as:
- Grand Prize: Ammel M. - Dearborn Center for Math, Science, and Technology, Michigan
- 1st Prize: Pablo V. - New Canaan High School, Connecticut
- 2nd Prize: Madeline G. - Dearborn Center for Math, Science, and Technology, Michigan
- 3rd Prize: Nick P. - Kentucky School for the Deaf, Kentucky
4th Prize: Joseph M. - Dayton High School, Kentucky
With over $15,000 worth of drone prizes up for grabs, each student’s unique solution awarded them and their schools:
Grand Prize: 1 KODAK Riot Sport Drone and a Discover Drones Classroom Pack
KODAK Riot Sport Drone for individual use includes: KODAK Riot Sport Drone, 4S LiPo battery, LiPo safe storage bag, Super strength battery strap, Battery charger, Fat Shark Dominator FPV goggles, FrSky Taranis Qx7 transmitter, Pagoda antenna, USB radio cable, Droneology safety and regulations training license, and Freerider flight simulation license
Discover Drones Classroom Pack for Educational use includes: 5 RubiQ drone kits, 2 Fat Shark Dominator FPV goggles, 2 FrSky QX 7 radio controllers, 2-day Drone Institute training, 1-hour online training, Droneology safety and regulations training license, Freerider flight simulation license, and 15 KODAK Printomatics.
1st Prize: 1 KODAK Riot Sport Drone and a Discover Drones Club Pack
- Discover Drones Club Pack for Educational use includes: 2 RubiQ drones kits, 2 Fat Shark Recon FPV goggles, 2 FrSky QX 7 radio controllers, 2-day Drone Institute Training, 1-hour online training, Droneology safety and regulations training license, Freerider flight simulation license, and a KODAK PIXPRO ORBIT 360 Satellite Pack.
2nd Prize: KODAK Riot Sport Drone and a Discover Drones Single Pack
Discover Drones Single Pack for Educational use includes: 1 RubiQ drone kit, 1 Fat Shark Recon FPV goggles, 1 FrSky radio controller, 1-hour online training, Droneology safety and regulations training license, Freerider flight simulation license, and a KODAK PIXPRO ORBIT 360 Adventure Pack.
3rd Prize: Fat Shark 101 FPV Drone Training System and a $500 edventures.com Grant
Fat Shark 101 FPV Drone Training System for individual use includes: Shark Quadcopter, Recon FPV Goggles, Fat Shark Radio, 2 batteries + charger, 2 extra motors, 4 extra propellers, Quick Start Guide, Two gates + gate holders, Lens cloth, and a Radio USB cable.
- 4th Prize: Fat Shark 101 FPV Drone Training System and a $250 edventures.com Grant
Each contest prize was centered around one goal — putting drones into the hands of tomorrow’s best minds to prepare them for the future of drones. The writing is on the walls. Not only are drones predicted to become a multibillion-dollar industry in the next five years, but they’re already working their way into our daily lives, evolving and innovating industries and avenues in ways never believed possible.
Through the contest, we asked students to view drones as humanitarian tools, which bridged the gap between the classroom and the real world, inspiring learners to put their critical thinking skills to the test as they utilize new STEM technology to contribute to a global conversation. Drones key in on 21st Century Learning Standards, and as a pathway to career technical education, it’s no wonder why educators and students are so curious about the aerial robotics platform — they’re preparing learners for the future.
Which is why PCS Edventures created Discover Drones, the groundbreaking open-source, modular drone learning solution designed to provide enhanced STEM learning opportunities. From challenging learners to devise ways to solve global issues with the help of drones to becoming seasoned pilots with a myriad of new, career and degree-focused training and experience, Discover Drones provides students with hands-on knowledge of one of the fastest growing markets and technologies. The program has been used to great success as the sole focus or as a complementary unit in CTE learning environments, high school classrooms and after-school programs across the nation. As a turn-key solution, Discover Drones can fit into a wide range of learning pursuits, expanding existing lessons with invigorating skills, training and knowledge.