Thought Leader spotlight on La’Quata Sumter

With the prediction of the drone industry becoming a billion-dollar industry in 2020; I foresee the increase in usage of drones in the agriculture, construction and public safety sectors. With this increase I feel that the need for drone education will increase. There will not only be an increase in the need to learn the skills for flying and passing the FAA Part 107, but also in K-12 education for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) student engagement. Currently, we see that drones are not only a fun and engaging tool for students in some schools but can also be used to teach students skills in STEAM. For example, students learn principles of physics, aeronautics, logic and practical application as well as coding skills.

It will be critical to begin engaging young students in drone technologies from an early age to better prepare them for the future of drone technology. I predict there will be a need for programs and organizations to teach students interacting with drone technology through programming as well as fundamentals of math, science and logic. With autonomous flying being a developing process for drone flights, the need for programming drones will increase. With this increase students can learn programming languages such as Python. Python is an open source programming language created by Guido van Rossum in 1991 and is currently being used worldwide especially in the robotics industry.

While there will be an increase interest for drones in the classroom there will also be a need for teacher training and professional development. Professional development will assist educators with drone curriculum and building their confidence with drone technology. It has been stated that effective professional development enables educators to develop knowledge and skills needed to address students’ learning challenges with introducing new curriculum to the classroom. The increase need for professional development will be for those educators wanting to incorporate drones into their curriculum but have no idea where to start. The new professional development programs will cover how to get off the ground with drone programs in schools. I believe this would include safe regulations and laws as well.

I look forward to the new opportunities in drone education in 2020 with the growth and expansion in the drone industry.

La’Quata T. Sumter
CEO/Founder of Focusing On Me, Inc.
Electrical & Computer Engineering Program Chair/Instructor
Albany Technical College


“Expert Insight” is the independent views and opinions of the submitting named author of this article.

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