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August 31st, 2022
DroneBlocks Donates STEM Drone Kit to Villanova Computing Sciences Program

AUSTIN, TexasDroneBlocks is proud to expand its relationship with Villanova University Alumnus and adjunct Computing Sciences Professor Jim Solderitsch by donating 10 Tello EDU Drones and the DroneBlocks enterprise license to Jim’s Computing Science Course Curriculum. DroneBlocks is a popular STEM Education tool that teaches math, science, and computer coding through the use of classroom-friendly Drones.

DroneBlocks curriculum is specifically developed for Middle and High School students- however, the technology has layers and layers of deeper technology to mine for advanced college students.

The Drones will be used by Junior and Senior Computer Science majors with a prerequisite requirement in programming. The University focuses on both Java and Python as the main teaching languages and students will also be exposed to Arduino in this course.

“From these drones, opportunities to explore will flow out of the engagement” Jim explained, as he pondered the possible avenues the students may find themselves inquiring about. The name of the course is “Special Topics in the Internet of things and Security” which Jim says “leaves a lot of room to steer the ship in new and curious directions.” Enter: Drones! which offers an interactive and exciting hub to build a web of topics around. The curriculum aims to include remote control actuation…or the building of a hardware controller kit that allows control of the Drone independently of a smartphone device by harnessing the power of the ESP32 Chip that is the driving center of the Tello Drones Technology. “The ESP32 is interesting and powerful and could be used to demonstrate exercises in internet security such as information being transmitted in the clear, taking control of drones mid-flight, data risk in motion, and over-the-air firmware updates to the control.” Jim also sees the opportunity for outreach to other departments within the University by experimenting with the ESP32’s data science capabilities, a similar application of data retrieval to the DroneBlocks databot attachment.

The team at DroneBlocks is excited for this partnership to encourage advanced inquiries to further unlock the valuable learning capabilities of DroneBlocks. The pioneering and development of a new curriculum for the greater DroneBlocks network of users would benefit many. DroneBlocks is currently implemented in hundreds of schools around the U.S. and also shared around the world, reaching thousands of students every year. Dave Erath, a co-founder of DroneBlocks puts it this way: “For us, it’s all about sparking student interest in STEM and putting the power to create in their hands. When any teacher, or in this case Professor, walks into class and sets drones down on the desk, excitement builds no matter the student’s age. The more people we can bring that to, the better.” Jim agrees, stating simply “Who doesn’t like to fly drones?”