by Johnamarie Macias
When I received the 74-Z Speeder Bike from Propel earlier in the fall, it happened while I was helping a student find some information regarding disruptive technology. That is, advanced or new technology that replaces and disrupts an existing technology. After I opened the packaging, it got me thinking about how drones are used in the classroom. More specifically, how Propel’s Star Wars drones could make the educational experience more enjoyable. Most people think personal drones are just toys and primarily exist for fun and entertainment, but when incorporated into a curriculum, the same technology can help captivate students and make the material more relevant.
Growing up, play time and school time were mutually exclusive for me. After I was done with my homework, I could play with toys and video games. Then, the next day would come around and the only play time allowed in school was during recess. 85 percent of my school day was spent sitting in an uncomfortable chair and hearing teachers talk at me with no real interest in engaging with me or making the content fun.
“The challenge with school today is not the content being taught but the manner in which it is being delivered,” wrote authors Chris Carnahan, Laura Zieger, and Kimberly Crowley in their book Drones in Education: Let Your Students’ Imaginations Soar.
Drones, believe it or not, have been flying and inspiring children in classrooms for a few years now.
“In science and engineering classes, students are building drones and writing the programs to steer them. School administrators are utilizing the technology to create marketing materials for YouTube channels and websites, showcasing their school and grounds from a bird’s eye view. Sports programs enlist drones to record the action in the athletic fields below.”
While I’m not a teacher, I saw potential in Propel’s products not just for personal enjoyment but also for engaging a classroom. They also come shaped as iconic Star Wars vehicles, making them more relatable, since most of us at one time or another have dreamed about flying an X-wing or driving a Speeder Bike. Each drone also comes in a Collector Display Box and that alone includes a few outstanding features, such as LED lights and music.
Setting up the drone was relatively easy. The one main issue I had was installing the battery into the drone itself, since I had to force a button open on more than one occasion. Besides that, I didn’t experience any other difficulties. Well, with the exception of the flying part, of course. I’m not an experienced pilot, so the training cage helped in keeping the Speeder Bike intact after the many collisions I caused! I primarily used it indoors, and with a bit more practice, I plan to take it outside in order to navigate it in an open area.
Overall, the 74-Z Speeder Bike is truly impressive and incredibly detailed. Is it something that all Star Wars fans would want to own? Not really. I know a variety of people who are not interested in owning a drone. To be honest, I used to be one of them, but now, I’m just counting down the days until the weather warms up again in order for me to fly the Speeder Bike at a local park.
With the holidays just around the corner, now is the perfect time to surprise a loved one or a friend with something unexpected. And if you’re in the education field, like me, it’d be a fun way to liven up a classroom, inspire them to create new projects, and show them that learning can truly be fun.
The 74-Z Speeder Bike is available to purchase from Shop Disney and other online stores.
Many thanks to Propel for sending me this package for my guest review and to Tricia Barr for bringing my attention to the Propel press event that took place back in August.
Johnamarie Macias (@BlueJaigEyes) founded The Wookiee Gunner (@TWGSite) and its Star Wars Rebels podcast Rebels Chat (@RebelsChat). She also co-hosts the podcasts Galactic Fashion (@GalacticFashion), #TeamKanan (@Team_Kanan), and The Freemaker Adventures-focused Star Scavengers (@StarScavengers).