By DEVIN ZERBE
Cranberry is moving up a step in the technological world with the new addition of drones.
Cranberry High School was recently the lucky recipient of a PAsmart grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This grant was used to buy drones, which members of Cranberry’s robotics team have practiced using, but now the journalism team is looking to utilize them in creative new ways, too.
These drones aren’t just cheap toys. Equipped with stunning video, flawless controls, and an easy, understandable setup, these high tech machines have proved that they were definitely worth the purchase.
Despite the amazing capabilities of these drones, CHS hasn’t yet been able to make good use of them. With the heavy restrictions on assemblies, sporting events, and general school activities, it has become increasingly difficult to find opportunities to operate them. But as it turns out, these restrictions might just be exactly why Cranberry needs the drones in the first place.
Because of social distancing related rules, schools in the Venango County area, including Cranberry, have had to put a strict limit on the amount of spectators allowed at sporting events. This has led to school faculty and students finding other ways for fans to enjoy these events, the most notable of which being live streaming.
Being able to watch a football or volleyball game as a live broadcast or simply as a Youtube video is an amazing option to have if you’re unable to attend the sporting events in person. This alternative has worked well so far for CHS, but now the question is, “Can they expand on it?”
For other schools this question may be more difficult to answer, but for Cranberry, the solution becomes much easier thanks to the brand new machines. With the drones in mind, it’s hard not to think about how much more creative Cranberry can get with their live streams and videos, and when it comes to sporting events, the opportunities are nearly limitless.
Although the imaginative uses of these drones for school events are vast, that isn’t necessarily their intended use. Two of the models purchased for CHS, the Parrot Mambo and DJI Tello drones, are smaller variants made with students in mind. They are typically used to introduce students who are possibly interested in a drone-related field of work to the mechanics of flying. The overall goal of this exposure would be for these students to eventually understand the basic fundamentals of aerodynamics as well as to give students opportunities to explore careers involving the piloting of unmanned aircraft.
This could also lead to students being able to compete in drone related competitions against other schools.
On the topic, technology education teacher Dan O’Brien stated, “These drones give our students an amazing opportunity to compete in multiple drone races and challenges during their experience.”
Competitive drone racing has become wide spread throughout the world in the last decade, and schools located in smaller areas being able to compete in such races would be a major step in the right direction in terms of technological advancements.
Cranberry is extremely thankful for this opportunity given to us by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and CHS will be putting all of the drones to good use as soon as possible.
Devin Zerbe and Ady Carter are students at Cranberry High School and members of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications class.