What are Drones?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that are controlled autonomously by computers or pilots with remote controls. They were innovated in the early 1900s for military personnel training and typically leveraged in operations that are too dangerous or time-consuming for humans. Still most commonly used for military purposes, drones have been deployed for a wide range of tasks, such as policing and community surveillance and security, filmmaking, and the surveying of agriculture and crops. In the past century, drone technology has advanced users’ abilities to extensively view objects and landscapes below, as well as to detect changes in environmental conditions. Features including biological and chemical sensors, electromagnetic spectrum sensors, and infrared cameras make these detailed observations possible. While legal and ethical concerns have been raised by many over the prospect of constantly being monitored by these vehicles, new civil aviation programs and experiments that include drones reflect a growing use of the technology. There are not yet concrete applications for teaching and learning, but the continuous progress of drones in the military and consumer sectors make them compelling to watch closely over the next few years.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Drones, or Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS), are well-integrated into academic programs around the globe. Drones provide research and instructional value through surveillance, monitoring, and aerial photography and video. The other connection to higher education is through instructional programs that focus upon drone applications, design, maintenance, and more. Community colleges such as Sinclair CC and NW Michigan College, are among the leaders in training on UAS. Successful Student has a list of 15 top drone programs: http://j.mp/2aN3qjA - Lawrence.Miller Lawrence.Miller Aug 12, 2016
  • Agree with the above statement. Stidents at our university develop drones as part of their design projects to demonstrate application of interdisciplinary knowledge. While students develop and use drones in our academic setting, drones are not used to aid teaching and learning yet. One of the potential use is in data collection.- nacha_sockalingam nacha_sockalingam Sep 8, 2016
  • At USC Annenberg, we are piloting projects with our journalism students using drones for storytelling. - courtnem courtnem Sep 14, 2016
  • The availability and low cost of drones is a great leveler in terms of creative storytelling - projects that would have been impossible without massive budgets are now feasible using this form of technology, which is excellent news, and the University of Leeds we are researching the use of drones not just to observe, but to repair and maintain our city. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Sep 16, 2016 A very important point - helga helga Sep 19, 2016
  • Drones can make a deep impact, by providing diverse knowledge areas with a new, relatively accessible tool, to go to places where humans usually can't. In combination with IoT technologies like sensors and Arduino-like boards, we will be able to potentiate drones with enhanced capabilities.- fledezma fledezma Sep 21, 2016
  • Within the digital arts, I think Drones are now very much considered one of the many tools that can be deployed by a student filmmaker (even if they're not provided by all universities). I think Drone film festivals like the one in NYC, is only going to encourage greater adoption within documentary filmmaking http://www.nycdronefilmfestival.com/. And also with the introduction of drones such as the X-Craft
    http://xcraft.io/phone-drone/ , I believe we'll continue to see their use in the arts expand as part of the BYOD movement. - matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Sep 24, 2016 - gilly.salmon gilly.salmon Oct 5, 2016
  • In health professions education telemedicine is being used to get to individuals in rural places. Yet, not everyone is connected via the internet. Using a drone a health professions team and students may be able to deliver life saving information, follow up with individuals who have left the hospital, work with individuals on taking their medications or delivering medications. This probably seems like a health care practice example, but if we dont teach our students how to use these technologies and think outside the box about them during their education could it be they are less likely to use them when in practice? (- rneuron rneuron Sep 25, 2016)

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think the last sentence in the description above in now inaccurate. There are actually many programs that use drones in research and teaching and also programs for training of technicians who will service and fly drones. Now the question should be will drone applications extend beyond the proven applications of surveillance, monitoring, and aerial photography and video? - Lawrence.Miller Lawrence.Miller Aug 12, 2016
  • I agree - drones are being used for all sorts of projects right now - they are no longer something on the horizon. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Sep 16, 2016
  • Some of our faculty (including myself) have been 'slightly' reluctant to jump into Drones, due to the policies that have been placed on their use. I do work at a public institution, I wonder if some of challenges might be how individual states are regulating their use? However, from a national perspective I very much feel that they are already part of the educational experience, and have noticed that many students buy their own anyway. I've been excited to see the

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • Drones are already changing the way college and university campuses are portrayed through some really cool video. Swarthmore College has one: https://youtu.be/_McTrOWE3DE - Lawrence.Miller Lawrence.Miller Aug 12, 2016
  • use of drones to collect research data.- nacha_sockalingam nacha_sockalingam Sep 8, 2016
  • Use of drones also extends into relevant classroom discussion about surveillance, newsgathering, privacy and ethics. - courtnem courtnem Sep 14, 2016
  • From marketing and storytelling through to scientific research and practical applications, the possibilities for drone usage are almost endless... - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Sep 16, 2016 I am not sure I agree with almost endless but I do think that in some educational settings at the moment including promoting safety and quality when a supervisor is not on site is a great opportunity for use in addition to the arts and other examples sited above. (- rneuron rneuron Sep 25, 2016)
  • Use of drones to monitor and measure indicators on a variety of areas such as environmental, structural, etc; obtain samples, gather and remotely send data. Also, computer sciences students can learn by working with drones, sensors, boards and 3D printing technologies.- fledezma fledezma Sep 21, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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