What a conference! We are slowly coming down from our post-EduDrone, drone-induced high. Our first-ever online conference and also the world’s first ever online drone conference.
We learned so much from our 40 speakers. The range of backrounds and diversity in the way they use drones was truly incredible. Even among our speakers with the same job titles – all of our lovely teachers, for instance, there was so little overlap. Everyone had a new insight to share about the use of drones.
There were some common threads that we found during the conference. We’ve detailed some of them below and we’re feeling truly chuffed that we struggled a lot to narrow this list down!
If you still want to watch the talks, and didn’t sign up then it isn’t too late to watch the replays! Go to education.shemaps.com/EduDrone to sign up.
Future thinking with STEM
The global workforce is changing rapidly and employees are looking for work that allows them to live their life the way they choose. This often involves working remotely and with flexible hours. As proponents of STEM, we need to get rid of this lab coat wearing, clipboard toting image of people who work in this field.
Hearing from Lieutenant Colonel Jasmin Diab was refreshing. Her take on the future of STEM is in line with what young people will be looking for, in terms of that work/life balance.
Jasmin studied nuclear physics and explosive chemistry before going onto become an Australian Army Engineer and is the Vice President for Women in Nuclear Australia. She is also a shoe designer in her spare time – a venture that is done for love rather than money. We think it makes her very well-qualified to shake things up a little in the world of STEM.
Here are a few of the careers that are going to be essential in the future that also encapsulates flexibility in work style:
- Data scientist
Machine learning, AI and automation all rely on data, which only good data scientists will be able to understand. Data is generally held in the cloud = flexible work location.
- Software engineers
We don’t believe that the robots are going to take over but we do believe that it won’t be long before machines take over menial tasks. And they need software engineers to build them. The thing about menial tasks — they’re everywhere. In every industry. This means that young people in this field can potentially work with an interest of theirs — cars, health, consumer tech… and shoes, of course…
- Design and 3D printing
What you put on your feet will also have science applied to it. The ability to measure a person’s body as a 3D prototype means that clothes will be able to be custom-made to a person. You truly wear the outfit instead of the outfit wearing you. The design and printing in this industry will require STEM skills.
Augmented reality and drones are becoming very cozy these days. This has potential in a lot of industries, but we were particularly interested in what it means for disaster relief because it relates to some of our other speakers (details below). This video shows drones and AR in action and what that could look like for disaster relief:
Using drones to improve public safety
Using drones for disaster relief is an area that holds immense potential. Traditionally, disaster relief is conducted largely on the ground and supplemented by helicopters. As Jo Thomson from the Queensland State Emergency Department pointed out in her session, using drones to capture crucial information and imagery leave $15 million helicopters to do what they do best – rescue people.
Jo worked extensively on the Townsville floods. If you saw aerial footage on the news, it very well could have been captured by Jo.
The footage she captures goes far beyond communicating the disaster to the general public.
The ability to look at the world from above is a way of providing crucial information. It allows intelligence gathering and situational awareness to be fed into the recovery effort much more efficiently than on the ground. Drones are also easily transported and the labour required to use them is low. Jo referenced the cyclones in Queensland where they were able to pre-deploy people to really remote areas with drones to make the process of intelligence gathering even more efficient.
Getting rid of a techno-centric approach to humanitarian efforts
In a similar line of work to Jo, Dr. Patrick Meier discussed the need to empower local communities across the globe to use drone technology for themselves. This applies particularly to areas where foreign rescue efforts are deployed. In his experience, he found that sometimes drones would not be used until Week 4 of the rescue mission, due to the length of time it takes to get set up when there are language and cultural barriers.
As Patrick put it – these are social problems that need social solutions. His co-founded initiative, Flying Labs, enables local communities to become active participants in their own disaster relief rather than passive observers.
Image credit: Flying Labs
How teachers use drones in their classrooms
We hear all the time from teachers that drones are fantastic for engagement in the classroom. It’s great to hear from teachers like Nathan Tasca who are really taking that engagement to the next level and experimenting with different ways of creating real-life drone applications in the classroom.
In one of these applications, he briefed his students that there had been a massive earthquake in South-East Asia and they needed disaster relief teams to assist.
Each team member had a role – the communicator led daily team briefings, the drone operator surveyed the affected area for search and rescue efforts. The rescue team read the maps from the drone operator to figure out where to supply goods and a nutritionist put together an essential aid pack.
The teams were deployed to South-East Asia (Nathan’s specifically messy classroom) and the kids flew drones and stitched photos together to create a rescue effort. Amazing what teachers can do with very little resources required!
For those of you who attended EduDrone, thank you so much for being part of this world-first with us. We hope you were just excited by the potential that drones have as we were!
You can still get access to EduDrone and all the replays by going to education.shemaps.com/EduDrone.