Drones in Education

#AISDigiSTEM17 conference

23-24 October 2017
The 2017 conference for Association of Independent schools focussed on future applications for technology. One theme was drones. Dr Catherine Ball was the keynote on Day 1 and spoke of future applications for drones and gender equity in education Jackie Slaviero and Bob ran a workshop on Drone safety and regulations.

Summary of the Drone Workshop

with Jackie Slaviero and Bob Carpenter from One Giant Leap Australia

WHS and Legislation

  • CASA owns the airspace from the grass up
  • Can’t fly over people ever
  • Drone must be in visual line of sight at all times unaided - no goggles
  • Must be 30m away from people and buildings
  • Only fly one drone at a time
  • Must not fly if within 5.5km from all airport or airstrip or helipad as of 20/10/17
  • Must not fly near emergency operations or somewhere with public safety.
  • Public schools students under Year 9 can’t fly drones
  • Pilot does not have to be 30m away from the drone just other people.


  • CASA regulations do not apply if flying a drone inside
  • Eg: You can fly a drone in the school hall
  • It is recommended that every person should wear safety glasses if flying inside

Education and competitions

LIPO batteries

  • Storage of lipos must be in a metal fire proof cupboard
  • Deplete LIPO batteries with a salt solution before disposal
  • Keep a LIPO battery log for maintenance
  • LIPO batteries must be stored and charged safely
  • When LIPO batteries catch fire they can not be put out only the fire around them
  • WHS applies for use of drone batteries
  • Must do site inspections for storage and use of drones and batteries
  • When flying on a plane with a LIPO battery it must be declared
  • Do more research storage and disposal of the use of Lipo batteries

To stop Drones in airspace key search terms would be
  • Geofencing
  • Drone shields

My take aways

  • When using drones the educational application is only a minor part of the the plan.
  • Drones are a minefield for WHS. The storage of batteries and drones needs to be well considered and addressed promptly.
  • Drones do have applications in the classroom
  • Carefully consider how drones achieving educational outcomes?
  • Given the cost, CASA legislation and WHS consider is there other ways these educational outcomes can be achieved?
  • What WHS procedures are in place to ensure safety with LIPO batteries?
  • Who is responsible for storage, maintenance and disposal of the batteries?
  • Drones have many future applications for society but we need condition potential impact on employment. This is worthy of discussions with students on the ethics of applications of technology and social justice issues.
  • Educational institutions should not to publish any footage and are currently classified as commercial as schools are not hobbyists so the legislation is grey. Currently there is no consideration for schools.

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