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Creating Responsible UAS Operators

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Intellect, creativity, and problem solving are some our greatest strengths. Children are better suited to channel these strengths because they are still learning and growing. Children can tap into individual creativity and see things from a unique perspective. Adults already know what they know and will resist change.

On the topic of change:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are all names for what we know to be drones. UAVs are in the news, at the park, and on sale for less than $50. UAVs are part of an ongoing technological change in our world.

Are drones scary, are they dangerous, are they coming to steal your job? Maybe  we often fear and mistrust things we don’t understand.  Are drones here to stay? Very likely. Drones reduce the cost of data collection, they increase safety in dull, dirty, dangerous jobs, and they allow our creativity to shine through.

The UAS Collaboration Laboratory (Co-Lab) addresses the noise buzzing over our heads by guiding students to become knowledgeable and responsible UAS operators. The most important element in a UAS is the operator. The operator gives the UAS a purpose. The operator plans how the UAS will be used, designs the procedure, implements the design, and analyzes the results.

  • Students will learn principles first: aerodynamics, electricity, airspace, laws.
  • Students will then learn models: safety, responsibility, teamwork, big-picture thinking.
  • Students apply principles to models solve problems. They answer:
    • What is the goal?
    • Where will we fly?
    • Whose permission must we seek?
    • What are the possible challenges and dangers of our operation?
    • How will we measure success?
  • Students reflect on their experience, ask: “what did I learn?” and gain wisdom for their next UAS mission.

The exercise is a lesson in creativity, principle-based critical thinking, teamwork, and self-management. These are tools for life, not just for safe UAS operation.

The youth are the leaders of tomorrow. They will inherit the responsibilities of our world and will account for mistakes made before their time. Their future will be shaped by how they learn to collaborate and integrate changing technology into their lives.

Change may arrive at our doorstep unannounced and without permission. We may choose to ignore the knocking, or we can get up and see who is at the door. Will we ignore the change and teach our children to do the same, or will we give them tools to take charge of their future?

An Invitation to You

If you are excited about what’s happening in the field of UAS, so are we! Opportunities for students and their communities to explore new pathways to the future are under development. In the UAS Co-Lab we offer experiential education, interactive blogs and a community of knowledge. To join the UAS discussion and begin shaping the future for this technology, simply share your insight below. Don’t wait for the future to come to you…

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