I can't express how frustrated I was to read about the teacher that crashed his drone into the U.S. open. This type of irresponsible behavior is exactly what is fueling the fear. He clearly was not following the FAA guidelines or using any common sense! This is why we need to train not only our students but fellow educators about the rules, regulations and safety procedures required to maintain public safety. Educational programs that develop safe and responsible pilots are more important than ever but this will make developing our programs more difficult because school districts may take this example as typical instead of the exception that it is.
This is what happens when you have your copter with you on the way to work! This is my first attempt at shooting/edit/upload all in 4K so make sure to change the settings to 4K and then let is pre-load the video.
Check out the amazing video my students and I shot this week at the Dirtfish Rally School about a mile from Mount Si High School! 7 hours of filming boiled down into 60 seconds. This type of real world practice is critical to the development of their piloting skills. You got to love summer vacation when you get the flexibility to do the really cool projects with your kids!
DJI just announced a new version of the Phantom 3 series copter (Standard) that might hit the sweet spot for many schools at $800. It has a decent camera and the improvements in the copter hardware have extended the flight time to closer to 25 minutes which is great for classroom instruction! To be honest, we only have one computer in my room that can handle 4K video so we mostly shoot in 1080 at 60fps anyway!
If you are using the DJI Pilot app for your Phantom 3 or Inspire they have come out with an update and new name "DJI Go". I have another shoot with my students today so plan to go through the firmware and app update tomorrow.
DJI has also launched DJI university which has the potential to be a great resource for educators as we push to get this new technology into our classrooms and want to share the innovative ways we are using it with students. They are also offering regional events/classes called "New Pilot Experience".
School districts around the country are using quadcopter technology to document the progress of their construction projects. Friday I helped document the ground breaking ceremony on a new high school at a neighboring school districts.
A couple months ago our school district purchased a DJI Inspire 1 and Phantom 3 Advanced to document our construction progress. We will use the Inspire for all the outdoor shots and the Phantom 3 with prop guards for the interior work.
We start the process by flying the drone to a series of preset points to get overall progress shots that will document both the construction process and any potential impacts on the surrounding wetlands. Then we drop down and shoot the interesting stuff: earth movers, backhoes, wood chippers and of course, dump trucks. Each week we provide the district with a set of photographs and a 30-60 second highlight clips that shows the progress. We will drop down to by-monthly progress reports over the summer. Right now we are learning a ton of information about soil management (pun intended).
Here is an article
Aiken County School District using quadcopter to introduce technology to students, document construction
Skill Share: If you are interested in learning more about aerial photography/videography I recently found these free online courses. You can access the material online or through an app on your tablet or phone. Of course they will try to get you to pay for an account but you can sign up for a free account and complete both courses. Once you are logged on just do a search for "dji" and both classes will pop up.
Aerial real estate photography is a tricky subject.
FAA Has Clamped Down on Realtors Using Drones – July 2014
Tucson Realtor issued FAA permit to use drone – Jan 2015
Field Guide to Drones and Real Estate – Feb 2015
As you can see from these articles the landscape is changing but not clear.
I am very interested in giving my students the opportunity to get experience taking photos/videos for different purposes. I look forward to the day when we can work with the FAA to develop a training and certification program for students that will allow them to build their skills in this new technology.
This is an interesting article about the new proposed rules from the FAA on the use of unmanned aircraft systems that WILL affect you and your students if it becomes the law. Please take the time to read the article and then share your thoughts with the FAA.
"I teach high school digital media arts in Washington State. A year ago my business advisory recommended that we purchase a quadcopter for aerial photography/video so we could train our students to use this new technology. We have develop training materials, pilots exams, policies and procedures that ensure student pilots learn to safely operate this technology under direct adult supervision. http://quadcoptervideo.weebly.com/training-materials.html
We have worked with our AP Environmental Science classes to conduct aerial surveys of local wet lands, taken aerial photographs for the construction company building our new elementary school and are scheduled to work with our local fire and rescue department to record aerial views of their bus evacuation training.
Aerial photography/videography is a transformation technology that has huge potential for journalism, science and public safety. I work with a group of educators that have formed a community to share curriculum around this new technology and we would be interested in working with the FAA to develop training, policies and certification for student pilots.
This technology is already in the hands of our youth so it is our responsibility to educate students how to safely and responsibly use this technology. "
Our GSA worked with my video students to produce this information video for our Day of Silence this week. I was really impressed with how the sweeping aerials helped to add to the project.
Our program is currently trying to make the choice of purchasing the new Phantom 3 or an Inspire 1. Here are a couple interesting resources that might help you make the same choice. Of course, if money was unlimited, I would simply get both! I would be interested to hear your thoughts.
DJI Phantom 3 vs Inspire 1 from "Myfirstdrone.com"
Comparison Chart from DJI Forum
DJI Phantom 3 First Look by Intelligent UAS: Great comparison of the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1.