Aspiring programmers on both shores of Lake Tahoe recently received some first-hand coding experience with the use of drones.
The event, named the Community Quadcopter Programming Challenge, was hosted by Lake Tahoe School, a private school located in Incline Village. The participants — more than a dozen — used Swift Playgrounds, an educational coding app created by Apple for iPad. Swift Playgrounds teaches kids to program and control devices, such as robots, drones and musical instruments.
At the Lake Tahoe School (LTS) challenge, participants used the Parrot quadcopter — a small drone.
Russ Bradford, LTS makerspace teacher and technology director, kicked off the evening with a brief lesson in the school makerspace on the fundamentals of Swift Playgrounds and controlling the quadcopter via pre-programmed commands, according to a press release. Bradford was assisted by LTS teachers Diana Schlaff and Stephanie Mancuso
Students were then able to try it themselves by measuring distances and trying to program their quadcopter to navigate in a circle around a large wall, returning to touch down on a designated landing zone.
"Even though this event preceded the launch of SpaceX, the timing could not have been better to jump start kids' excitement about such a momentous event. It really helps them think about the possibilities that can open up with these rapidly emerging technologies," Bradford said in the press release."The students who turned out were really eager and bright. I really enjoyed working with them, and they seemed to have as much fun as my students at LTS have had with this particular makerspace programming lesson."