Oak Ridge middle school students learn drone technology

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Teacher James Mitchell is teaching students to fly drones and code for them at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge. The school system used resources via its technology programs to purchase five new student drone systems for seventh graders to use.

Mitchell said, "Students that otherwise aren't engaged or involved because they don't care about English or math,
they're excited to come to school every day just because of our programs."

Some students like Keely Wood have specific ideas in mind for using drones. Wood is interested in becoming a veterinarian or zoologist, so her idea for using the drone is, "Maybe fly around and see wildlife."

Student Colton Hull is curious how mathematics applies to flying drones. He is interested in STEM subjects, and said, " I'm planning on going to Harvard."

Mitchell believes students can learn skills for college and careers by working with drones. They first worked on coding in his class, then had to troubleshoot until Lego drones could fly. "Kids are learning from drones troubleshooting, how to have hand eye coordination, how to work together as a group."

Mitchell said careers using drones could include these uses:
Using infrared cameras to measure hot spots in fires and heat escape from buildings
Real estate photos and videos
Agricultural monitoring of fields
Virtual tours for public spaces
Storm damage images for insurance adjusters

He recommends this FAA website for learning rules for drones.