- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) - Teachers always are looking for a new way to keep students engaged. At Noel LeVasseur Elementary School in Bourbonnais, all they have to do is look up.

The newest teaching tool here is a DJI Quad Copter, a remote-control drone that carries a Go-Pro video camera. It’s not expected to be unveiled in teacher Ann O’Gorman’s advanced classrooms, until second semester, but principal Jeff Gindy was testing his skills Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s calibrated to seven global positioning satellites,” he explained. “Even when it’s windy, they can bring it back to where it took off.”

O’Gorman said it would be used in a learning partnership with Bourbonnais Township Park District. A group of 40 to 50 fourth graders will put together a marketing plan that uses a video production that would be shot at the district’s Willowhaven and Perry Farm locations.

“Some students might find their niche planning the video, others will be best at writing the script,” she said. “And, of course, everyone will want to fly the drone.”



“And they will get a chance,” Gindy added. “But I will always be right there to take over if they start to lose control.”

The drone, with all of its attachments - including the camera and the device that steadies the camera shot - cost about $1,400. It will fly up to 1,000 feet and execute intricate turns and dives. But the battery lasts only about 20 minutes. It requires another 30 minutes to recharge.

“I guess we’re kind of a trailblazer on this: I don’t think any other elementary school (in the state) is using a tool like this,” Gindy said. “We’re looking forward to the student’s reaction to using it.”

Meanwhile, O’Gorman is confident the device will serve as one of those extra perks that keeps young people interested in school. She noted that fascination would be shared by the students using it this year and the third graders eager to be the next group to test it out.

“It’s fascinating to watch,” she said. “It’s like a little alien up there.”

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Source: (Kankakee) Daily Journal, https://bit.ly/1orovyU

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Information from: The Daily Journal, https://www.daily-journal.com

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