California Educator

March 2016

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The Sky's the Limit Best drones for the outdoor classroom By TERRY NG B E G I N N E R D R O N E S Price range $25 to $250. Most entry- level drones are small and light, and oen safe enough to fly indoors. The included camera captures lower-qual- ity images and videos compared to more expensive models, but are good enough to learn the basics of drone photography and flying. Recommended: Syma X5C Explorers $ 4 8 Equipped with HD (high-definition) camera and 2-gigabyte microSD memory card. Perform flips at the press of a button with 360-degree eversion. Wind resistant; can be flown indoors or outdoors; 6-axis gyro stabilization system ensures maxi- mum stability; 7-minute flight time; 100-minute charge time. I N T E R M E D I A T E D R O N E S Price range $300 to $1,000. These are bigger, heavier, and designed for more stable flight outdoors. The cameras have larger sensors for better image and video quality. Some models even allow you to attach an external action camera. Recommended: DJI Phantom 3 Standard $ 5 0 0 Stunning 2.7K-pixel videos and 12-megapixel photos; 3-axis stabili- zation gimbal; built-in Wi-Fi; live HD view. Fly up to 25 minutes on a single charge. A D V A N C E D D R O N E S Price range $1,000 and up. Instead of the standard four rotors, profes- sional-level drones often have six or even eight rotors for added stability. Included cameras can take 4K-pixel images and videos, and come equipped with stabilizing gimbal units for ultrasmooth video quality. Advanced flight controllers allow total control, including programming flight paths for completely autono- mous flights. Recommended: DJI Inspire 1 $ 2 , 4 5 9 Capture 4K-pixel video and 12-megapixel stills; 360-degree camera rotation; up to 1.2-mile radio range; GPS-based flight control system. E V E R T A K E N A "dronie"? at's the term for taking a selfie from the sky. If you and your students are ready for the world of aerial photography and video, there's a drone for every budget. (See suggested ways to teach with drones on page 46.) A couple of things to know before buying: Some are easier to fly than others Drones are stabilized by a computer inside called a f light controller. It determines if a drone is set up for more agile flying, or for greater stability. Generally, the more expensive a drone is, the more stable it is. Not all come assembled A drone labeled RTF is Ready-To-Fly, which means there's no major assembly and you can be airborne within minutes of opening the box, versus spending hours or days putting together a kit. e models below are all RTF. 12

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