Drone Exploration Academy
AWARD YEAR: 2018
Elizabeth City State University
Kuldeep S Rawat
Associate Professor and Department Chair
Department of Technology
122 A - Dixon-Patterson Hall
1704 Weeksville Road
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Project Title: Drone Exploration Academy: Engaging Students in Real-World Engineering Design and Scientific Investigation Using Drones
The goal of the Drone Exploration Academy project at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is to capitalize on the increasing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as Drones, to spark student interest and provide an experiential learning opportunity (ELO) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The Academy project supports student development through activity components that are fully integrated to form a comprehensive learning system. The key components of the project are (i) Authentic STEM Experience (ASE), (ii) Drone Field Experience (DFE), and (iii) Engineering Design Challenge (EDC). The objective is to increase student interest in STEM disciplines and set them on a learning path to become successful in college and beyond.
UAVs, which have become a popular recreational tool among youth, are ideal platforms with enormous scientific value for engaging students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Through summer residential camps and yearlong Friday/Saturday academies, the SSEP project at ECSU offers STEM curriculum, which includes at its core the UAV design, programming, and piloting to conduct field-based scientific investigation. The SSEP project at ECSU also features the Engineering Design Challenge, that engages student teams in designing, building, and programming a UAV, culminating in a competition that will be held on ECSU campus at the end of each project year. Guest speakers and field trips complement in-class learning.