Drone PLC

Drone Discussions Take Off In New PLC
Posted on 02/12/2020

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A dozen teachers from the MOBOCES region have been meeting this year to discuss ways to increase the use of drones in the classroom.

During its most recent meeting, the new Drone PLC discussed new FAA regulations and spent time repairing the drones they are already using with students. It was the third meeting this year, and the group has grown in size and scope with each session, said group facilitator Tim McKenna, a Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School technology teacher.

“The more you can get together with teachers who teach the same thing, the more you can share ideas,” he said. “This is such a new thing that the more we can share right now, the faster we’ll grow. It’s not something you can just look up on the Internet how to do.”

teacher repair dronesMcKenna worked with MOBOCES’ Mid-State Teacher Center Director Maria Smith to launch the drone-focused PLC in the fall, after working with her on drone camps and the Project Fibonacci summer STEAM program.

drone plcSmith said the conversations around drones in the classroom have sparked many ideas for student projects curriculum integration as well as training and research opportunities for teachers. It has also created a network of enthusiastic teachers to support each other with questions and challenges.

McKenna said using drones is one way to provide students with real-world, hands-on opportunities to solve problems, work with others, think creatively and practice math, science, coding and robotics in an engaging way.

And students are hooked.

“I’ve got kids that have been creating drones on their own and they’re bringing them into class, which is really neat. They’re training other kids how to fly them,” McKenna said. “The kids knew more about some aspects of this that I did when we first started. They’re kind of training me.”

Participants include teachers from Camden, Hamilton, MOBOCES, Oneida, Rome, Adirondack and Rome Catholic.