The project will increase and diversify the UAS pilot workforce by recruiting more students into the pipeline and by building high school teacher capacity to prepare the workforce. The project will target increasing the number of UAS pilots trained and certified to fly small UAS (sUAS), defined as UAS weighing between .55 lbs. and 55 lbs. at takeoff. Under FAA Part 107 regulations, a person flying a sUAS commercially must have an RPC. Twenty teachers will obtain their RPC and will receive classroom-ready instructional resources allowing them to prepare more than 300 high school students to obtain their RPC in the award period alone. Teachers will also be able to apply for a mini-grant of up to $2,500 through the project to procure UAS, sensors, and related supplies necessary to teach the course.
This project will provide professional development (PD) to 20 CTE teachers, and we will partner with VDOE to recruit and select the teachers to participate in the PD.
The new CTE UAS Course can be dual-enrolled with Virginia Community Colleges.
To prepare the teachers to obtain their Part 107 RPC and to get an introduction to UAS, this project will support selected teachers to take the 2-day Part 107 workshop offered by Virginia Tech in partnership with Virginia View and the GeoTEd-UAS project. This entry-level workshop provides a thorough review of Part 107 RPC requirements and prepares the participants for success on the exam.
Teachers will complete the workshop in March 2022 and be prepared to take and pass the Part 107 RPC exam by the end of April 2022. The project will fund the tuition for the virtual workshop and the exam fee to take the RPC exam. The project team will mentor the participants following the workshop.
The selected teacher cohort will attend a four-day PD Institute hosted by Virginia Tech. The Institute will develop the capacity of educators to instruct the UAS course content. A major component of the Institute will be the instruction of sUAS skills in the context of real-world applications using the new classroom-ready modules developed through this project. Skills will be taught through project-based learning and the projects will span different employment sectors and types of missions.
Institute content will include: sUAS selection, mission planning, manual and autonomous missions, sensors, troubleshooting, maintenance, and data processing. Other topics will include creating maps and orthomosaic files, safety, ethics, and regulations. The team will discuss potential student service-learning projects that could be implemented by the teachers when they teach the course.
The project will provide all costs to support the teachers attending the Institute including a $500 stipend for completing all components. Lodging, travel, meals, supplies, data, and resources will be provided.
Selected teachers will be required to teach the CTE UAS course during the 2022-23 academic year, OR integrate the UAS course content and competencies into an existing CTE course. Following successful completion of the Institute, attendees will be eligible to submit a mini-grant proposal for up to $2500 to obtain UAS and related supplies to teach the course. VSGC will also facilitate access to its fleet of UAS, software, supplies, and guest-speakers for all teachers. Teachers will receive active support and mentoring throughout their teaching of the UAS course. This mentoring will include virtual communication, webinars, and face to face interaction as appropriate.
Virginia Space Grant Consortium