Futuristic learning takes flight

Traralgon Secondary College teacher Julian Zhu with students Marcus Fox and Jordan Richards testing out one of the drones to be shared among Latrobe Valley schools.Photograph bryan petts-jones
Traralgon Secondary College teacher Julian Zhu with students Marcus Fox and Jordan Richards testing out one of the drones to be shared among Latrobe Valley schools.Photograph bryan petts-jones

An activity as futuristic as flying robots in school could have formed part of Marty McFly's journey in the infamous Back to the Future trilogy.

But thanks to the advent of technology, it now forms part of Latrobe Valley students' learning with the arrival of two advanced 3DR Solo drones.

Secondary school students will learn how aerial robots work, how to fly them and how to use them to solve real-world problems.

The idea is to encourage more rural youngsters to continue studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as part of a partnership between Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning and Employment Network, Equip Super and the Flying Robot School.

"What (the drones) do is broaden the options that would be available to young people," Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN chief executive Mick Murphy said.

"So it increases their thinking of why they'd be at school and what they can do.

"In many ways, too, it gives school a bit more of a meaning."

Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN has a relationship with Equip that spans more than 10 years.

In extending the LLEN's Inspiring Young People program, Equip has funded two drones for local schools to use as teaching aids with the help of Flying Robot School technical volunteers.

Equip executive officer member relationships Justin Sadler said the business saw the initiative as an opportunity to help younger people gain skills and equip themselves for the future.

"We're hoping this sparks an interest somewhere in individuals, whereby that spark could well keep them wanting to actually achieve more," Mr Sadler said.

"And when I say achieve more, I mean wanting to actually continue at school, wanting to further develop."

With Traralgon College students the first to pilot the program in term two, the drones are ready to land in other Baw Baw Latrobe schools.

Mr Murphy said it was an exciting way to learn about electronics, and suited the young people involved who were likely to be employed in jobs that do not currently exist.

For more information about Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN visit www.bawbawlatrobellen.com.au

To find out more about the Flying Robot School, visit www.flyingrobotschool.org

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