Last week, on the 11th and 12th of February 2020, SEAMEO QITEP in Science hosted an IHT (In-House Training) program entitled Workshop on STEM Education: Using Drones in Schools. The training was held at the PPPPTK IPA building located on the Diponegoro Street of Bandung, Indonesia.
Dr Karen Joyce, a geospatial scientist from James Cook University, and Paul Mead, demonstrated how drones can actually help in school learning activities, especially those focusing on STEM education. They also showed that drones are not that complicated to operate for both young and old people, with a multitude of potentials that still continue to multiply.
The training aimed to introduce the participants, SEAQIS’ personnel on the first day and teachers on the second day, how drones can be used for STEM education. It is a learning model that integrates aspects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education is one of the alternative learning models that is considered capable of preparing 21st-century humans.
Training activities started with the introduction of drones, its functions and how to control it. Dr Karen gave several examples from her work and how drones helped her. Next activities were the introduction of SheMaps, an Australian company that supports the use of drones in learning at school. In introducing SheMaps, Dr Karen emphasized the low representation of women in STEM-related jobs. Then, the main activity which includes the practice of flying drones by the participants where they played baseball using drones was held. For teachers, Dr Karen Joyce and Paul Mead also demonstrated a simple and easy activity to practice in the classroom by mapping the green areas in the surrounding environment using ScribbleMaps.com.
Seeing the level of complexity, especially for students, and the high cost to conduct learning using drones, several teachers asked how schools could implement this learning. “Start with small things,” said Paul Mead. He acknowledged that not all schools are currently able to implement learning by using drones, mainly due to the substantial costs. He also added that teachers should not underestimate the ability of children to use technology. Children who grow up in the era of technology nowadays are able to master simple technology like drones. Start small on a scale of one class before starting big, he added.