Grant awarded for classroom drones

greg_ruthenbeck_flying_quadcopterLecturer and research fellow Dr Greg Ruthenbeck has been awarded a Reinventing Teaching and Learning grant that will see drones used in the classroom for the first time at Flinders.

The grant will enable Flinders to purchase a number of small drones – including nano-drones, micro-drones – to be used as teaching tools in the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM).

With new federal drone laws recently coming into effect that allow the operation of very small drones without certification, students will have the opportunity to program, build and fly drones as part of their STEM learning from first year.

The drones will provide a fun and interactive way to teach electronics and control systems concepts and strongly complements existing research, with potential applications in the areas such as agricultural and biosystems engineering.

Drones also unify the technologies and teaching for numerous CSEM topics in everything from mechanical engineering, design innovation, control systems, robotics, programming, and electronics.

This cutting-edge program also aims to assist with retention of first-year STEM students by fostering engagement and collaboration.

“Drones are an excellent example of modern technology that is engaging to students (and the general public) and also provides a platform to learn both fundamental and complex engineering principles,” said Kenneth Pope, Associate Dean (Academic) in the School of CSEM, in support of this proposal.

“The context that they provide increases student engagement and improves learning outcomes.”

The new drone laws are summarised here.

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