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Top Drones for Education in 2024

Last updated on

April 4, 2024

Contents

    Drones in education have created new learning opportunities among high school and university students to create interactive experiences within STEM learning.

    Through hands-on activities in coding, robotics, and aviation, drones offer a practical learning experience. Students can learn to program drones and participate in projects like 3D mapping and LiDAR.

    DJI Drone reapir

    Why are drones used in education?

    Drone technology is the perfect base to explore mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, and software components. These small remote-controlled robots are a safe and exciting base to teach students the foundations of engineering.

    Some drone manufacturers, like Parrot and DJI, provide open source Software Development Kits (SDKs). Students can customise the drone, control its flight, analyse data, and connect with other software or hardware.

    How are drones used in education?

    Career Preparation

    Workplaces are using drones more in agriculture, real estate, film, inspection, surveying, and more. Learning about drone technology can help students prepare for future jobs in these industries. Through experience in drone operation and analysing data, students can gain skills that are in demand in the workforce.

    Geography

    The University of South Wales uses drones to study land, ecosystems, and environmental changes. Students conduct aerial surveys to create 3D maps of geographic areas to analyse and revisit during class. This enhances the program by increasing accuracy and engagement. It also gives students practical experience in GIS and remote sensing.

    Geography 2D drone map

    Archaeology

    Drones with multispectral and LiDAR technology enable students to discover and analyse hidden archaeological sites through advanced, non-invasive survey techniques. These tools provide hands-on experience with analysing aerial imagery and 3D models. This is essential for recognising changes in landscapes and the presence of historical sites. Archaeological Research Services captured the image below via drone.

    Archeological map

    Media

    Drones offer an affordable and simple way to capture aerial footage, adding dynamic perspectives to storytelling and journalism. Students learn to produce engaging content, mastering drone videography skills that are increasingly valuable in the media industry.

    Drone photography

    Agricultural Education

    Through hands-on experiences with advanced technology, students discover how drones can enhance agricultural methods. They explore the use of drones in various areas, such as crop surveillance, managing irrigation, and controlling pests. This practical education equips them with contemporary farming techniques that are both more productive and eco-friendly.

    Agriculture

    Surveying and Construction

    As the surveying industry increasingly adopts drones, candidates skilled in drone operation are well-equipped for employment. Experts predict that students will hugely benefit from skills in remote sensing, aerial surveying, and data processing.

    Drone stockpile measurements

    Did you know you can get funding?

    If your institution offers T-Levels, you can access government funding for drone technology. This allows your cohort to get funding for both drone hardware and training. We also offer a variety of drone kits for education. Or, we can create the perfect tailored solution to match your specific requirements.

    T-Levels are new vocational qualifications from the government, equal to three A-levels. Designed with input from businesses, they equip students with the right skills needed for the workplace. These qualifications combine a 45-day industry placement with classroom learning, preparing students for apprenticeships or other job roles.

    Coptrz has helped institutions like SMB, Wigan and Leigh, and Durham College include drones in their T-Levels programs.

    “I had the pleasure of attending a lesson led by Jamie from Coptrz about drones in construction for T levels at Leeds College of Building, and it was truly outstanding. The presentation was incredibly engaging and informative, and Jamie’s passion and knowledge on the subject was truly impressive.

    Our students had a fantastic experience and were thoroughly engaged throughout the entire lesson. Jamie’s expertise in the field was evident and the interactive elements of the presentation made it even more interesting.

    I would highly recommend Jamie and Coptrz for any future drone-related training needs. They truly exceeded my expectations and provided valuable insights for our students.” via Reviews.io.

    – Fabrizio Sanna, Digital Lecturer in BIM&CAD at Leeds College of Building.

    What training do you need?

    Using drones for educational purposes might require getting a General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC). This certification enables drone use in the Specific Category and includes in-depth safety, operational, and legal training. It helps teachers and students follow the regulations for more advanced drone operations. Certain applications legally require a GVC.

    Coptrz offers “Cohort” GVC courses. Our trainers will visit your institution to teach a 2-day course and do the practical flight assessment. This approach ensures that the whole class can get qualified together.

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    How much do education drones cost?

    Educational drones come at a wide range of prices. You can get basic models for entry-level lessons at £100 to £300.

    For more complex tasks, like detailed mapping, prices go from £1,000 up to £5,000 or more. The most advanced drones with powerful cameras or sensors like LiDAR cost upwards of £10,000. The price varies depending on their capabilities and use case.

    T-Levels providers can get funding for drone technology, making it more accessible for teaching and learning.

    What are the best educational drones?

    DJI Matrice 350 RTK

    The DJI Matrice 350 RTK is designed for the most demanding applications and can carry up to three payloads simultaneously. At around £10,000 for the frame, this drone is compatible with various sensors, including thermal, LiDAR, and multispectral sensors. This enables vast and accurate data collection necessary for advanced research applications.

    Its 55-minute flight time is unparalleled, offering extended periods for data collection and research.

    The drone can use custom 3rd party payloads and robotic attachments, expanding its utility for unique research needs. This feature enables tailored modifications for specific projects and institutions looking to push the boundaries of drone technology.

    DJI M350 RTK

    Students at the University of Worcester used the DJI Matrice 300 with the Zenmuse P1 during a trip to the Alps. They used the drone to map sections of a river and create photogrammetry models of the landscape. Students can analyse the river’s movement, erosion patterns, and sediment deposition by comparing their digital twins to previous surveys.

    University of Worcester

    DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise

    Priced under £5,000, the Mavic 3 Enterprise drone is ideal for surveying, geography, and research. With an RTK module, it offers exceptional precision for detailed mapping, 3D modelling, and data collection applications.

    The DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise is a professional and powerful drone under the range of £5,000. It tailors to applications such as surveying, geography, and research. With an attached Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) module, the drone can collect centimetre-accurate data. This expands its capabilities to accurate mapping, 3D modelling, and data collection.

    DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise

    DJI Mini 4 Pro

    The DJI Mini 4 Pro, priced under £1,000, marks a significant leap forward in videography and photography.

    It boasts an impressive 34-minute flight time, providing ample opportunity for long shoots. The onboard 4K camera offers ultra-high-definition footage that can bring any project to life with crisp imagery. Furthermore, its automatic flight features simplify complex shots like Hyperlapse and MasterShots, making it a great cinematic storytelling tool. Its compact size and ease of use make it a no-brainer for students to create high-quality content for their projects.

    Parrot ANAFI AI

    The Parrot ANAFI AI distinguishes itself with a 32-minute flight time and 4G connectivity, ensuring uninterrupted data transmission even in urban areas.

    Its autonomy features simplify drone operation, allowing students and researchers to focus more on analysing data rather than piloting complexities.

    This drone excels in robotics, engineering, and 3D modelling, providing a practical platform for experimenting with advanced drone technology and autonomous flight algorithms. The ANAFI AI can generate 3D models and has AI features like the ‘one tap photogrammetry’ mission. The model is under £5,000 and doesn’t require any extra accessories. Please note that these models do not have survey-grade capabilities, and you cannot attach an RTK module to achieve this either.

    Parrot ANAFI AI

    DJI Mavic 3 Multispectral

    The DJI Mavic 3 Multispectral drone is designed for precision agriculture and environmental monitoring. Its multispectral sensor captures data across different light spectra, providing data on crop health, vegetation distribution, and water usage.

    This drone, priced under £5,000, can identify areas that require attention, enabling targeted interventions that can lead to more efficient resource use and improved yields.

    By incorporating the DJI Mavic 3 Multispectral into educational programs, institutions can prepare students for future careers in agriculture, environmental science, and land management, where understanding and utilising drone technology will be advantageous.

    DJI Mavic 3 Multispectral

    Toy Drones

    A cheaper and simple alternative are toy drones. They allow students to explore drone coding, robotics, programming, and aerodynamics to a basic level. The structural design of toy aircrafts are very safe and friendly to beginners, but they lack much complexity in technology and capability.

    Parrot Mambo Fly

    Under £200, the Parrot Mambo fly educational drone is great for teaching programming and robotics. With its modular design, the Mambo drone is perfect for programming with languages like Scratch and Python with Parrot’s drone SDK.

    Parrot Mambo Fly

    DJI Tello

    Priced at around £100, the DJI Tello education drone is suitable for beginners and basic programming lessons. However, its low-quality camera, limited flight time, and basic SDK capability may hinder its potential for advanced educational applications beyond basic practice.

    DJI Tello

    Software Development Kits

    The Parrot Drone SDK is a set of libraries and frameworks that enables developers to operate Parrot drones. It has Ground SDK for controlling drones on iOS and Android, and Olympe for developing on Linux Desktop.

    Air SDK lets developers write and run code on the drone using its sensors, cameras, and autonomous functions.

    The SDK also offers tools like Sphinx for drone simulation and PDrAW for video playback. Furthermore, Parrot drones expose REST and WebSocket endpoints through the Drone Web API to access various drone features.

    DJI’s suite of SDKs enables developers to create custom applications for drones and accessories. These tools support data management, cloud integration, mobile development, payload control, UI design, Windows applications, and onboard computing. They cater to various development needs, enhancing DJI product capabilities for diverse industrial applications.

    Summary

    In conclusion, the dynamic world of drone technology offers boundless opportunities for enhancing education across various disciplines. By integrating drones into STEM curricula and beyond, educators can provide students with hands-on for the future workforce. The range of drones available today means that institutions can tailor their drone programs to fit their educational goals.

    As your dedicated drone solution provider, we are here to handle all the details for you and create the perfect package tailored to your cohort.

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