Surf Life Saving NSW’s Australian UAV Service (AUAVS) has partnered with She Maps and launched a drone program for school students in Years 5 to 9 on the Central Coast with a focus on getting more girls involved in engineering and technology.
The 2.5-hour program covers the She Maps Classroom Drone Essentials Course that highlights STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) opportunities to school students and shows them how drone technology can be utilised to support problem-solving, digital storytelling and technological development.
Surf Life Saving NSW UAV educators deliver the program on-site during school hours which covers not only the opportunities available to students within Surf Life Saving such as beach surveillance, shark management and event safety but also off the beach uses in mapping, 3D modelling and surveying.
The program gives students real-world experience using state-of-the-art technology.
In the session, they become geospatial scientists where they explore applications of drone technology through the safety of microdrones.
They explore hands-on applications of drone technology, learn about drone safety and how to use coding to automate missions and have the chance to manually fly drones under the supervision of professional pilots.
The program also addresses challenging social issues such as unconscious bias, particularly toward females in STEM.
Surf Life Saving Chief Remote Pilot and AUAVS Manager, Paul Hardy, said the organisation was pleased to join forces with She Maps to introduce the next generation to the power and potential of drone technology.
“It’s great to see the experience of our UAV pilots can be utilised to inspire students.
“Our instructors have pivoted to become professional educators and take their skills and knowledge into the classroom to encourage greater uptake and diversity in the STEM workforce,” Hardy said.
She Maps Co-Founder and Education Director, Dr Karen Joyce, said she was excited about the impact the program would have in schools with the Surf Life Saving NSW Australian UAV Service partnership.
“To be able to partner with Surf Life Saving to scale our impact into more schools across NSW and the ACT is fantastic,” Joyce said.
“The Surf Life Saving brand is synonymous with caring for our community and innovation, so we couldn’t be prouder to be taking this journey with the team,” she said.
The Surf Life Saving NSW Australian UAV Service is the provider of the largest coastal drone surveillance program in the Southern Hemisphere.
Media release, May 20
Surf Life Saving NSW