This December marked the first anniversary since Precision Aerial, through Zimbabwe Flying Labs, launched the Drone Holiday Camp, a first-of-its-kind drone technology-based STEM program in Zimbabwe.
Although marred by lockdowns and restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, our team continued developing the program this past year by engaging in ‘Drones in STEM’ sessions. In addition, our Drone Holiday Camps were an excellent forerunner to engage young learners and help them explore drone technology while having fun.
The full DRONES IN STEM EDUCATION PROGRAM—including courses for beginners, advanced, and drone builders—launched this July. The program is designed for learners aged 7 – 16 years. It focuses on giving them in-depth exposure to emerging drone technology through a series of skills development, critical thinking, and practical flight training activities. The goal is to nurture and develop young learners to become confident in technology leadership and innovation while building transferable skills in building, operating, and programming drones as part of the skills needed for the future of work.
With over 60 participants attending our programs this year, our young learners have broadened their education experience and grown an interest in the field of technology. Drones are now used in almost every industry/sector, with more drone use cases still being developed.
The excited young learners learned about drone safety, different uses cases, and basic drone controls and movements during the camps and courses. In addition, the young learners competed in a custom-designed Drone Race to end each Camp and Course. The winning team had to have speed and precision—all the right qualities for future drone professionals.
With each new group that joins our program, we always ask at the beginning of the program the number of young learners who have flown a drone before, and the response is often relatively low, on average less than 20 percent. When we ask the same question at the end, all the hands shoot up with a beaming smile, and at that moment, they realise they have experienced something new and exciting.
For us, it’s always an opportunity and an honour to give young learners their first flight on a drone and see their eyes light up with joy.
Our Drones & STEM education programs are an innovative way to engage with young learners, creating a student-centric learning environment and unlocking new learning styles with the use of drones. 2022 will be an exciting year as we roll out the program in schools across Zimbabwe and the region.