Students at St. Peter CSS participate in first drone training course

students at st.peter css with drones

Last week, students in the Information & Communication Technology Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) at St. Peter CSS participated in the Board’s first training in Drone Design and Build to achieve their Transport Canada basic drone license with the help of SUGU Canada.

teacher andrew clark demonstrating

I chose to offer students in the Information & Communication Technology SHSM the opportunity to explore the fast-growing field of drone operation. Drones are used in many industries: agriculture, wind turbine maintenance, cinema movie production, police and fire rescue to name a few,” says teacher Andrew Clark. “It was my hope to have students utilize their new training in their Communication, Yearbook Technology, and Computer Science classrooms to add an interesting twist to their class work.

Within the course, students design, build and develop drones that integrate computer engineering technology with an up-to-date and relevant approach to robotics, electronics, and programming. Facilitated by mechanical engineers, airline pilots, and certified drone pilots, students engage both creatively and technically in the design, how to successfully integrate drone technology into our current world, and how these technologies can benefit humanity. Upon completion of the course and licence, students can legally fly drones up to 25 kg.

With a combination of in-person and virtual learning, students started with the intro to drone components and got their hands-on build kits that included LEGO pieces and wire technology to build their model from scratch. 

student looking at drone

“The first time I flew the drone, I dropped it and it broke. Multiple times” reflects student Landree Gallimore. “At first, I didn’t know how to fix it, so I had to return to the manual, but after a few times of crashing, I learned how to put it back together by myself, which I didn’t think I knew how to do.”

Focusing on the fundamentals of drones, the core objective of the course was for students to gain valuable experience in drone STEM and theory while providing information on a safer future with technology.

students instructed in drone course

Some students, like Armando Reyes, already had some experience with drones. “I kind of knew what went into a drone before, but now I know how to completely operate and build one. Using legos for this model made it easier to understand what goes into drone build and operation, so it will be a lot easier to work with officially built equipment.” 

According to Transport Canada, drones are profoundly transforming the transportation sector, redefining aviation with ground-breaking technologies, both creating new industries and completely altering existing ones, and exponentially increasing the number of both recreational and commercial drone pilots sharing the airspace. Providing students with the opportunity to get ahead with valuable knowledge allows them to have more transferable skills and experiences when making decisions about their future. 

Photos courtesy of SUGU Canada.