Ready, Set Drone: Educators Get Behind Drone Controls

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December 18, 2019 by HCDE-Texas

At first, afterschool coordinator Susana Salinas was skeptical about commandeering a drone. Once she was behind the controls, she owned the experience.

Salinas is one of 30 educators attending drone training hosted through HCDE’s CASE for Kids which introduced curriculum to use drones in afterschool programs as part of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

Educators may borrow the drones from the SMART Zone, which stands for Sharing Multiple Afterschool Resources and Technology. The afterschool resource is a comprehensive collection of materials available to all out-of-school time programs in Harris County. The drones are housed there, as well as sports and fitness equipment, electronics, activity books and curriculum.

First, the afterschool adults must learn how to manage the drones themselves.

“This was my first time working with a drone, and it was definitely a lot more difficult than I thought,” Salinas said.

Afterschool educators were introduced to control panels using Androids or I-pads. Salinas sees the flexibility which drones offer as afterschool curriculum through her organization called Sewa International, a nonprofit which serves underprivileged youth.

“Working with drones you can go anywhere—with the kid who likes art to the one who loves science,” she said.

Teachers attending the drone training Dec. 13 and 14 learned about flying and gained certificates. They may borrow drones from the SMART Zone.  For more information about CASE for Kids SMART Zone, go to .


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