Dubbo College staff learn drone skills at workshop before introducing the technology into the classroom

LEARNING TO FLY: Dubbo College staff members Maurice Elbourne-Binns and Karen Weekes, together with Cara Karakasch from Dubbo School of Distance Education, teamed up for the drone workshop. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
LEARNING TO FLY: Dubbo College staff members Maurice Elbourne-Binns and Karen Weekes, together with Cara Karakasch from Dubbo School of Distance Education, teamed up for the drone workshop. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Dubbo College staff joined with staff from the Dubbo School of Distance Education and other regional schools for a specialised drone workshop recently.

Facilitated by drone education company She Flies, the workshop saw participants learn about the rules and regulations governing use of the craft, safety, manual flight and coding to drive the drone.

She Flies chief flight instructor Tamarah King said the company was established by Dr Karen Joyce and Dr Catherine Ball to address gender inequality in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

“The company has gone from strength to strength and now has 12 flight instructors throughout Australia,” she said.

“It’s about getting girls engaged and confident in STEM but we also run programs for boys.

“We run some classes that are 50-50 boys and girls or else we run whole girl groups or whole boy groups – it’s all about making sure the students are comfortable in the learning environment and well placed to make the most of each workshop.

“Today we are running this workshop for 24 school staff so they can become familiar with drone technology before it’s used in the classroom.

“A lot of schools are now buying drones because there is so much potential in using them in STEM, as well as the humanities.”

According to the She Flies website two thirds of children aged nine to eleven draw a man when asked to draw at scientist. And just 16 per cent of university and vocational education STEM graduates are female.

She Flies programs aim to eliminate this stereotype and bias while emphasizing real- life STEM applications in teaching.

Dubbo College IT manager Karen Weekes, who took part in the She Flies workshop with colleague and science head teacher Maurice Elbourne-Binns, said drone technology was an important educational tool.

“New technologies such as drones will play an ever increasing role in all aspects of the curriculum into the future,” she said.

“Dubbo College teachers like Maurice Elbourne-Binns will inspire and motivate current and future learners by leading the introduction of drone technology into the classroom.”