Drone Pilot Licence – please comment!

I need your advice and feedback please!

In time, it is intended that the college drone will be available to some members of staff for use in education and learning activities,  With that in mind, I am trying to devise a ‘drone pilot licence’ (achievement will only permit the user to fly the college drone, of course!).  Those wishing to apply for the licence will be provided with information regarding both the legalities and practicalities of drone use.  Once they feel ready, they can then apply for their test.  Below is my draft attempt at writing this test (the format hasn’t quite held but I think you should be able to see what I intend) but I would greatly value any views/advice/suggestions.  Thanks in advance!

Drone Pilot Licence

The Drone Pilot Licence must be achieved before you may borrow the college drone, or fly it independently.

The test has 3 parts: 1 – drone theory; 2 – ground station understanding; 3 – a flight test. You must pass all 3 elements to achieve the licence.

  Activity – Drone Theory Achieved
1 What is the maximum distance you are allowed to fly the drone?
2 What is the maximum height you are allowed to fly the drone?
3 How do you regain manual control of the drone from a pre-programmed flight?
4 How often should you calibrate the compass?
5 How can you tell how much battery life is available?
6 How close to an airport can you fly the drone?
7 What distance should you maintain between the drone and any people?
8 How does the Data Protection Act relate to using the drone?
9 What is the minimum distance required between the drone and any vehicle or structure which is not under your control?
10 Why is it essential that the college drone is not used for commercial purposes?

You must achieve all points below in order to qualify as a drone pilot.

  Activity – Ground Station Understanding Achieved
1 Connect the drone Wi-Fi
2 Calibrate the compass
3 Set a flight path of 5 waypoints
4 Set video for recording
  Activity – Flying Achieved
1 Take off and land with camera facing away from you, battery facing toward you
2 Hover in one spot, keeping camera facing away from you
3 Fly forward, back, left, right
4 Fly the Phantom 30 feet away from you, then fly back, keeping the camera facing away from you
5 Fly a 4-point square box, clockwise, hovering at each corner before proceeding
6 Fly a 4-point square box, counter clockwise, hovering at each corner before proceeding
7 Rotate the Phantom 360 degrees clockwise
8 Rotate the Phantom 360 degrees counter clockwise
9 Fly a circle, clockwise
10 Fly a circle, counter clockwise
11 Fly a figure of eight
12 Video record flying a 4-point square box
Pilot Status Drone Theory Ground Station Flying Test Action Required
Retake required

Pilot Name:                                                                                                                

Examiner Name:             



Pre-set Flight Path and Magic Flying Carpets

For our first attempt at using a pre-set flight path, we (@axessibility and @FernFaux) limited ourselves to 3 waypoints. These were set 100 feet from each other and, for test purposes, this was a suitable distance. However, we had not thought about entering altitude settings! Fortunately, the default setting was 98 feet, which was absolutely fine, and this oversight only really became apparent when, having completed the flight, the drone remained hovering in the air above us! Briefly, I wondered how much flying time the drone had left before it would run out of power, though that would mean an inevitable crash landing which would not be great from a 98 feet height! In moments of desperation the brain seems to kick into a higher gear. This was such a moment and I suddenly remembered the ‘S1’ switch, which took the drone out of automatic flight and back into manual control, where we were then able to land it. I think this is known as making sure you know how to stop the magic flying carpet before you climb aboard … this lesson has now been learned! The biggest problem we encountered was that the iPad was not retaining the cached maps – we still don’t know why … This meant that the only way to use the DJI App for the pre-set flight path was for @axessibility to tether the iPad to his own ‘phone. This is far from ideal and is the next problem we need to resolve.  As can be seen in the video, although the drone held up well against the 35MPH gusts of wind, the video footage was affected by it.

Novice Drone Pilot

How exciting! The drone arrived! Working at the top of the available budget, the drone in question is a DJI Phantom 2 Vision. I must confess, the excitement paled somewhat under the stress of trying to figure out how to actually put the drone together, how to get it charged, how to get it connected to a handset (initially this was a Sony Xperia Z2 running Android Kit Kat 4.4.4) and how to ensure it didn’t plummet to its death on its maiden flight!  Some time later, and with the much needed help of my colleague, Andrew (@axessibility), the drone was in the air and impressing us mightily with the potential we could see for its use with students with multiple disabilities.

Wearable Technologies

The Teacher’s Guide To Wearable Tech In The Classroom – Edudemic.


This provides a brief, but interesting, overview of how we currently perceive the potential of such technologies – I like the image!  However, whilst measurement of bio data through such technologies is, of course, the instant and obvious thing to do, my own interest lies in the less obvious, and doubtless less instant, affordances of ‘wearables’.

#ocTEL Week 6 – How to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of particular TEL approaches


Think about a TEL initiative you’ve been involved with.  How did you know it had been successful or provided benefit?

When the outcomes match the aims, or when significant progress has been made in a related, though not necessarily specified, area.

Was the initiative evaluated? If not, why not?


 If yes, what evaluation took place, what did you and your stakeholders need to know and how were the findings used?

The findings were used to ascertain whether additional monies would be found for further implementation of the project.  To establish this, we needed to know how both teachers and learners were using the technology, as well as how they felt about such use.

Reflect on the different ways you have come across for evaluating the effectiveness and impact of TEL, using the headings below. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?  What do you need to know?

Where this is agreement, and where there is divergence, between the views held by both teachers and learners.

 What evaluation methods could help you find out?

Interviews, focus groups, statistical analysis, online survey

 What advantages do these methods have?

A triangulated viewpoint from a range of perspectives, providing information on a range of different aspects.

What disadvantages do these methods have? E

Technology dependent; time consuming


Activity 6.3: Exploring enhancement and evaluation in practice

Find an example of innovation in TEL which interests you.

The use of electronic badges.

Contact the innovator and arrange a short conversation to explore (at least) the following issues: – what was the impetus and rationale behind the innovation?


what has the innovation achieved so far in terms of student learning?

For me, as a course attendee, the badges have acted as a driver.  They’ve been useful in looking at what is required, then ensuring I’ve done what is necessary.

what has its impact been on the staff involved and the wider institution?

Implementation of badges in my own college.

how do you know it has had this impact? What evaluation strategies and methods have been used?

Discussions, meetings, agreement of ways forward.

Through discussion and screen sharing with Martin Hawksey I gained some ‘inside view’ of the practical implementation of electronic badges and the ways in which they are, or are not, compatible with different platforms.  As a result of this discussion, I elected to implement badges through Moodle’s own system, rather than use an external one.  Most helpful, Martyn, thank you!


#ocTEL Week 5 – Leadership, Management & Keeping on Track

Who were your stakeholders?

The Project in question aimed to provide a web-based resource sharing tool.  This was primarily aimed at teaching staff but the focus of the project was on the creation of the resource.

What resources were used?

Self-created resources as part of the project.

How clear/achievable was the project plan?

Very clear and very achievable in terms of resource creation, less clear regarding how to get teaching staff to actually use the end product.  We had assumed they would be pleased to have such a resource and had not taken into account an unwillingness to share ‘their’ resources.

What methods did you use to evaluate your project?

A varied selection but, crucially, none which included end user uptake!

How did you measure project success?

Creation of the project resource and measurement of its use.

Did you celebrate your success and did this encourage further developments?

Yes we did, both internally and externally, but whilst this resulted in some minor, and temporary, external use, there was no uptake internally from teaching staff.


From the outset, the project should have focussed on the end users, as much as the resource creation.  Had this been built into the project design it may be that greater success would have been achieved in user buy-in to the resulting resources.


Explorer Activity 5.7: Student involvement in TEL (how students in your institution engage with and influence TEL developments)

All TEL developments are initiated through the lens of what benefits they will bring to students.  It is student need which drives such developments.  However, with students who have a range of learning difficulties and cognitive impairments, it is often difficult to ensure their true understanding of project information, and project ideas rarely come from the students themselves.  That said, students are included in all subsequent stages of project work.  This includes user testing, product development, and the provision of both formative and summative feedback.  Inclusion into project work holds value for the students in many ways, not least their perception of its value and status.


#ocTEL Week 4 – Supporting learners through assessment and feedback using TEL





Why did/would you choose a particular type of e-assessment? Describe why you think it is effective and how it can help deepen knowledge and understanding.
InStep is an Open Source video database assessment tool. Whilst InStep can be used for a range of learners, in diverse settings and contexts, it was originally conceived as a tool to provide reliable assessment measures for non-accredited learning for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD), with an emphasis on learners being supported to recognise and record their own progress and achievement (RARPA). Many of these small steps of progress go un-measured, yet it is essential that learners are able to evidence progress which they have made. InStep combines an assessment continuum with a video database, where pedagogical aspects of implementing such a tool enhance learner development.

In your experience, what type of approach creates an environment conducive to self-directed learning, peer support and collaborative learning? How might technology help?
Traditional assessment methods are rarely appropriate for learners with LLDD, nor do they recognise that these learners make progress in many ways – particularly in increasing their confidence, in posture, social and life skills. Given the important role of appropriate and relevant assessment in special needs education – with stroke patients, those in rehabilitative recovery, and within speech and language therapy, for example – it is essential to develop additional forms of assessment which capture the achievements and attainments of such learners with authenticity, fairness and validity. Various e-portfolios offer a video database, however these are not combined with formalised assessment measures and, for learners with LLDD, they are largely inaccessible, being text-based. Whilst the use of video technologies in assessment is gaining momentum, and there is some clear evidence of the benefits and potential in using these devices as a tool for learning and teaching, further discussion around the development and implementation of video assessment is required.

What opportunities and challenges does this approach present to tutors?
Overall, the assessment continuum is seen as a valuable educational tool, though staff confidence in making assessment judgments based on video footage varies. Whilst the focus of developing InStep had been on the use of video evidence and the development of an assessment continuum, technical aspects played a more dominant role than had been anticipated. Initially, some staff had difficulty in capturing the required steps of progress within the limitation of 50 seconds per video clip and others had difficulty in taking quality, reliable video footage and performing basic editing and trimming procedures independently. However, all staff commented that as the project proceeded they learned how to limit their filming to that which was immediately relevant and pertinent. This is important because the ability to make an assessment judgment against a video clip is largely dependent on the quality of the video clip itself.

(Edited extract from: Fern Faux, David Finch, Lisa Featherstone in Computers Helping People with Special Needs (2012). InStep: A Video Database Assessment Tool)