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Steve Wozniak brings drones to classrooms in STEM educational program

First Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak brought the world Macs. Now he’s flying drones through K-12 classroom curricula. How cool did school just get?

Drones 101

This month, Wozniak’s tech-focused Woz ED educational organization announced its partnership with unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specialist Draganfly. The pairing will involve Draganfly supplying drones and systems for use in Woz ED’s courses.

The move solidifies UAVs as a leading component of Woz ED’s education-through-tech curriculum, currently taught to over a half million kids.

The increasing capabilities and deployment of UAV in life and business across the globe made drones an inevitable addition to Woz ED’s STEM approach. By helping students learn to work with and around the craft, their thinking naturally evolves toward the kind of engineering outlook required in millions of both current and future jobs. 

Wozniak says the partnership will put over 3,000 drones to educational use this year alone.

Having an industry leader like Draganfly as a partner will give our kids the opportunity to learn from the best with real life experience and expertise.

Ascending UAV learning

The program is carefully structured to allow equitable and efficient learning of droning skills regardless of the technological aptitude of either teachers or students going in. 

It’s split into four levels, starting with observation and experimentation of basic drones for younger pupils. Advanced interaction with UAVs increases as students age. In middle and high school instruction, youngsters are constructing, programming, and piloting drones of their own.

By the end of the 12th grade, students are primed to pass their Part 107 piloting license exam. That will make many of those high school grads fully prepared for the countless skilled UAV operating positions many public safety, agriculture, industrial inspection, security, mapping, and surveying companies now struggle to fill.

The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International says more than 100,000 new jobs for drone pilots will be up for grabs by 2025. 

Jack of all drones

Yet Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell says the objective isn’t to produce hordes of professional UAV pilots. Instead, he says working with drones in various capacities will nurture the critical thinking, problem solving experience, and technical skills students will find increasingly important in all future job requirements. 

The drone is kind of like the computer was in the 1980s – the flashpoint where everything happens and comes together. Yet the entire ecosystem has to be in place for them to have any value.

They’re also the sort of course work that will get most kids clamoring to get to class each day. Whether they’ll function real well via Zoom, however, is another question.

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