[Flyte Guest Post]:  UAVCoach's Zacc Dukowitz On how drones help Support Stem Studies

Flyte Blog: Featuring UAVCoach's Zacc Dukowitz

Opening word from Flyte:

This piece has been written by Zacc Dukowitz of UAVCoach. UAV Coach has trained over 7,000 pilots in their industry leading remote test prep course for the Part 107 exam, Drone Pilot Ground School. The community Alan Perlman and Zacc Dukowitz have built from the ground up continues to be a powerful enabler propelling the drone industry.

With this in mind, Flyte are very happy to help share the word about the work they and the drone industry are doing towards supporting the next generation's studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  Like all content created by UAVCoach, we consider it to be a very worthwhile read indeed. 

Drones in Education: How Drones Can Help Support STEM Studies

More and more, drones are being used to help students learn—and get excited about—STEM subjects in middle, high, and even elementary school (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Across the U.S. drones have become a part of robotics classes, coding classes, and even lessons on longitude and latitude. New platforms like DroneBlocks even provide curricula materials for educators who want to use drones in the classroom.

Earlier this year the Atlantic reported on students in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative participating in a competition where they designed, built, engineered, and tested their own drones.

The competition came at the end of a year-long high school class in aerospace and aviation, in which drones figured prominently as opportunities for students to learn various aspects of aerospace engineering and design.

Scenarios like this are cropping up throughout the U.S., and the combination of drones and STEM education is timely, since jobs in STEM fields have been forecasted to grow at an exponential rate over the next several years.

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Drones offer an enticing entry point for STEM studies, in that students generally perceive them as cool and fun. Students who start out simply interested in flying may end up excited about STEM studies, and either pursuing a future career in a STEM field—of which there are many—or in the growing drone industry itself.

Along with jobs in STEM fields, the drone industry itself is growing, and there promise to be many new jobs on the horizon for drone pilots who hold a remote pilot license, from aerial cinematography to work in agriculture, forestry, mapping, and much more.

The Scottish government has recognized the importance of STEM studies, and has included STEM education as part of their Curriculum for Excellence.

Recently the Scottish government formed the STEMEC advisory group to improve STEM education and learning in Scotland’s schools, in part working to incorporate findings from a report commissioned and delivered in March of this year.

That same month U.S. defense contractor Raytheon made the news in Scotland for its work with the Fife Council to in teaching schoolchildren how to build drones in an effort to encourage them to pursue a career in science and the aerospace industry.

"The Raytheon UK quadcopter challenge provides students in each school with the opportunity to participate in a STEM based engineering challenge.”

- Sinead O’Donnell, Raytheon UK’s head of HR, speaking at Holyrood Magazine’s annual STEM conference in Edinburgh

As the use of drones in the classroom becomes more and more mainstreamed we’re sure to hear more and more about how they are helping our students grow excited about STEM subjects, and forming future career paths. We can’t wait to hear more of these stories. 

New Scholarship Supports U.S. High School Students in Pursuing FAA Certification

Following the growing trend of drones being used in STEM education, Drone Pilot Ground School, a leading remote test prep course for the FAA’s Part 107 exam based in the U.S., recently launched the High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots to support high school students who want to become certified commercial drone pilots.

The scholarship provides free access to Drone Pilot Ground School, and will also pay for Part 107 test fees (up to $150) for the first 100 students to take the test.

The idea for the scholarship first came from an informal relationship between Alan Perlman, CEO and founder of Drone Pilot Ground School, and Matt Ernst, founder of the drone club at the Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Perlman has known Matt Ernst since he first became interested in using drones for education. Over the years Perlman has donated drones to the Taft Drone Club, and also provided free access to DPGS for Matt’s older students to help them prepare for the Part 107 exam. Recently, Ernst received a grant for $100,000 from the state of Ohio to support his efforts in STEM education using drones.

Out of this relationship has grown a new, first of its kind scholarship for high school students, which aims to support young people trying to break into the drone industry, and also to help spread the use of drones in STEM education.

“We know the drone industry has the potential for creating new jobs for young people, and can help students get excited about STEM subjects,” said Perlman. “Providing a scholarship to interested, qualified high school students just seemed like a natural outgrowth of the support we’ve given the students at Taft High.”

One of the primary motivators for Matt Ernst in forming his club was to offer his students opportunities for making a good living. As drones get cheaper and drone applications proliferate, the potential for high school students to create a foundation for future careers in the drone industry seems strong to him.

“The research I’ve done indicates that commercial drone pilots can make anywhere from $40 to $75 an hour, and I want our students to have the opportunity to work in this emerging field,” Matt Ernst said recently regarding his motivations for starting the Taft Drone Club.


About the Scholarship

The High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots was launched to support U.S. high school students ages 16 and up who are serious about becoming certified drone pilots by helping them prepare for the FAA's Part 107 test.

An additional goal is to help further the use of drones in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Drones have been used in the classroom in a variety of STEM settings over the last several years, and one aim of the scholarship is to support that usage in growing even further.

Scholarship recipients get free access to Drone Pilot Ground School's remote test prep course for the FAA's Part 107 test (value of $299), and the first 100 students to take the test will have their test fee covered (up to $150), for a total value of approximately $450.

A Future We’d Like to See

Currently one of the bigger segments of people entering jobs as drone service providers have a background in aviation, and have past experience piloting other crafts.

But drones can be used in so many different commercial scenarios. Mapping, inspections, and surveying are all growing fields in the drone industry, and each of these applications requires specialized skill sets that are not simply contained to knowing how to fly well.

As the use of drones in STEM studies grows, we may see an emerging generation of drone pilots who are not just good at flying, but experts in specific niches, such as mapping or thermography—and if they get started in high school they will almost certainly have a leg up when they do enter the job market. 

Thanks for reading. 

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