A New Brunswick high school has launched a pilot course in drone flight, in what may be the first class of its kind in Canada.
Teacher Benjamin Kelly helped the program get off the ground by pitching it to his school board last summer. Kelly says he was inspired to add drones to the curriculum after he learned how useful they were in ending last summer’s armed shooter situation in Moncton, N.B.
“I was just interested with the story of a drone pilot who wanted to help out,” Kelly told CTV Atlantic.
Now his students at Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough, N.B., are getting a crash course in how to fly the next-generation aircraft.
“It’s nothing we’ve really experienced before,” student Carrie Lafford said.
Student Alyson Furness said the class will probably come in handy in the future, when drone use becomes more widespread. “I might be using a drone to go get pictures of scenery, or for medical use in the woods if someone’s lost,” Furness said.
Drone instructor Marc LeBlanc says he anticipates other schools will launch their own drone courses as the technology becomes more widespread.
“I hope that other schools get on board and start their own ‘droneography’ course,” LeBlanc said. “The possibilities are endless.”
Kelly obtained the three drones for the course through a corporate grant to the school.
But he said the whole thing would not have been possible if not for the support of the school board.
“Because you initiate something and because you’re willing to show that you’re serious about a program, the district is really good with supporting those programs,” he said.
Kelly says he believes his course is the first of its kind in the country for high-school students. That means there’s a lot of pressure on him not to crash and burn, he said.
“If we are the first program in Canada, we don’t want to mess up,” he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic