In the fall of 2019, Roger Bell New Tech Academy won a technology grant for $3,000 funded by Toyota of New Bern.
The Roger Bell New Tech Academy students now, more than ever, beneﬁt from innovative approaches to learning. Engaging tools make learning fun, especially in remote learning situations.
The funds from this grant allowed Roger Bell to purchase a classroom set of DJI Tello educational drones (small remote-controlled ﬂying quadcopters), along with extra accessories to build indoor drone obstacles and challenges. Students work in pairs, coding the path of the drone using school iPads and Tynker and Swift program languages. They essentially use math and language ‘code’ to set a path for the drones, then press play (or ‘run’) and the drone executes their commands. If problems arise, students go back and ﬁnd the coding error and ﬁx it. It is all about trial and error, cause and effect, creativity, perseverance, teamwork, and more!
The drone ﬂight hours at school obviously got cut short this year, however, we’ve moved the experience and coding challenges into the virtual space, having the whole school learn and strengthen their coding skills via fun coding assignments handed out virtually in google classroom. Enhancement teacher lessons about ﬂight, combined with classroom teacher project-based learning ﬂight assignments, add to the value of the project. As we ﬁnish the year we will take student coding that they have worked on and plug it into drones remotely. Then we will share the experience in a virtual setting via video and Zoom. Next year and beyond, students will build their coding and droning skills and take it to the next level!
By Paul S. Schernitzki STREAM teacher at Roger Bell New Tech Academy – Craven County Schools
Submitted by: Darlene Brown, Executive Director, Craven County Partners in Education