The drone industry is growing at an accelerated rate, and the Global Air Drone Academy is committed to building the next generation of professional drone pilots. Since 2016, the FAA-licensed drone academy has provided STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) based training in drone engineering, coding and entrepreneurship to underserved youth in more than 400 schools across eight countries.
Co-Founder, Eno Umoh, launched the Baltimore-based academy as a non-profit affiliate of his commercial business, Global Air Media, a drone services company.
In the last several months, as schools everywhere transitioned to virtual learning, the Drone Academy followed suit. “Since March we have developed a series of programs that have enabled us to run the Drone Academy 100% online. Because of school closings and social distancing measures put in place, we have had to adapt and think outside of the box when it comes to how we engage our students,” shares Umoh.
One such digital program is the Virtual Drone Club, a free online meet-up for students ages 9-15 interested in drone technology and other STEAM activities. The sessions meet once a week over Zoom, creating an interactive environment where students from around the world can interact, discuss the latest tech news and find answers to their tech questions.
This conversion to a digital platform has enabled youth from Nigeria, Zambia, Ethiopia, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States to join in on the activities.
The Drone Academy also offers digital learning through a series of virtual courses. “Our interactive online courses are designed to keep youth engaged in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math). Our curriculum can be used for homeschool, after-school, summer study, and general skills building. If you are new to drones, try our FREE self-paced course called GADA 101: Intro to Drone Technology,” Umoh explains.
Amid the shift to virtual learning, the Drone Academy continues to advocate the importance of hands-on learning. Their new summer initiative, Drone Camp In-A-Box, will provide a simple solution to parents looking for fun science and tech-related activities for their kids while at home during this time. Each Drone Camp In-A-Box comes with a drone, an activity guide for flight lessons, a GADA ‘Swag Bag’ along with a T-Shirt, lanyard, and pen, as well as access to all of our online live learning sessions.
The Global Air Drone Academy is actively seeking individuals to donate boxes that allow inner-city youth in Baltimore to be proactive in building their future, while at home during these times. “Without the ability to provide a structured, traditional learning environment where our instructors can mentor and teach, it is imperative our children still receive STEAM learning in the most engaging and interactive way,” the Drone Academy shares on their website.
Digital tools are supporting the Drone Academy in more ways than one. “We have significantly increased our outreach and posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These outlets allow us to reach out to our core audience, and helps them keep up to date with everything that we have going on,” he says.
“In addition to ramping up our social media presence, we have utilized a combination of platforms like Canva, Thinkific, Google Classroom and Zoom to conduct our programs.” Umoh notes that each of these resources, and more, have been important as the team continues developing their programming.
Now more than ever, people are relying on technology to stay connected. Umoh and the Global Air Drone Academy team adapted quickly by transforming their operations to create digital initiatives that educate and engage students while at home.