As an educator, have you dealt with district administration concerns of drone STEM programs?
As an educator, have you dealt with district administration concerns of drone STEM programs? What were the concerns and what are best practices for overcoming those hurdles?
Initially there was some concerns over starting a drone program. Some didn't understand what the goals / outcomes were going to be, how was the program going to operate, where were the drones going to be flown, etc.. Once those issues had been addressed, our admin team was in favor of the program and understood all of its benefits. It helped when our principal at the time had a step son going through the UAV program at North Dakota. I would also want to say that besides STEM, this is a great fit for Industrial Education and or CTE approved programs. In minnesota, Drones are now a CTE approved program of study. The only requirement is that they are asking the instructors to be Part 107 certified in order to receive Perkins funding.
Another hurdle that will come up is the issue of insurance. As a teacher who went through that process, it is so important to have your district officials and admin team understand that a drone is simply a tool. Not unlike a table saw, band saw, drill press, CNC mill, etc.. a district does not carry a separate insurance rider for those tools. With that said a drone can fail and potentially fall on someone or a student could get cut by a blade, etc.. Our district did end up getting a simple insurance rider that allowed us to fly our drones on school property. We primarily use or school's stadium. A couple of things that came from that included: having a pop up tent that students could be under while conducting flight operations or students could wear hard hats. Lastly, students must wear safety glasses to protect their eyes. In three years of flight operations, we have not had a single accident with over 200 students.