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Teaching “Advanced Python” Programming with Tello Drones in K-12

June 18, 2021 — 4 minutes

Educators are invariably seeking methods to excite students with the passion for computer science, technology, and mathematics just waiting to flourish. Drones inspire students to meet STEM learning objectives, overcoming challenges to engagement for educators. 

Recently, we unveiled a three-part, accredited course designed to accomplish this task:  Advanced Tello Programming with Python 3. Each segment within this course instills a full understanding of key computational concepts, programming tools, and administrative goals.  Through the coursework, students immerse themselves in an integrated computer science education, and we’re enthusiastic about each module’s contribution to STEM policy’s mission for our youngest, most eager learners!

Continue reading to explore the lessons and progression of the “Advanced Python” series, and see how you can more easily enliven your classroom, whether in-person or remote.

Introducing “Advanced Python” Courses and Modules to Stimulate Learning

For developing games, applications, or artificial intelligence, Python3 readies young learners for advanced education and the path to a  fulfilling career. But, teaching the programming language can be complex and requires many interfacing tools. Created by architect and programmer Pat Ryan, our “Advanced Python” courses synthesize those essential aids with the ideas and processes that make sense to children/students. 

Course 1—Advanced Tello Programming with Python 3 and OpenCV

Our first course provides a  foundation for students learning Python 3-based programming and it’s designed to motivate and promote the exploration of Python programming, Drones, and STEM Education:

  • Section 1: Verifying Python 3 installation and creating virtual environments

  • Section 2: Installing OpenCV, DJITelloPy, and Jupyter Notebook

  • Section 3: Controlling Tello flight with cell execution through Jupyter

  • Section 4: Accessing video feeds and controlling drones with commands

  • Section 5: Using supplied and custom scripts with our Tello Script Runner 

Through project-based modules, Course 1 develops in complexity to prepare for the second course, which introduces augmented reality libraries (ArUco).

Outcomes of Virtual Environment Lessons in Course 1

Teachers can be confident their K-12 students will develop solid competency as they progress through the basics of the Python 3 programming language and apply it to interesting, observable, and kinetic technologies. Students will  build skills they can use in exciting industries and evolving occupations such as:

  • Web development

  • Scientific computing

  • Software management

  • Business applications

Course 2—Advanced Tello Programming with Python 3, OpenCV, and ArUco

Building on the development environment created/introduced in Course 1 , our second course focuses on ArUco marker detection and advanced Tello programming. Here, students learn how computer vision can detect black-and-white matrices to control the speed and direction of drone flight. Students will learn  to write two custom applications:

  • Application 1: Learning to program drones for point-and-click flying

  • Application 2: Programming drones to detect and obey ArUco markers

By writing these custom applications, students develop a deep, first-hand understanding of programming language protocol., This will prepare them to foster their creativity in the final coursework. 

Outcomes of Application-Writing Coursework in Course 2

Using ArUco markers—and Augmented Reality (AR) in concept—affords many applications in modern technology. Educators can offer/procure  possibilities for students in programming and developing STEM-related skills:

  • Mixed-reality application development

  • Augmented and virtual reality platforms work

  • Problem-solving within virtual environments

  • User interaction and user experience design

Course 3—Advanced Tello Programming with Python: When Art Meets Technology

Complementing virtual environment and application writing lessons with the arts—our final course in the “Advanced Python” stack– appeals to a variety of learning styles and interests. Educators may/should use this course in alignment with STEAM education while focusing on core goals through visual and artistic objectives:

  • Objective 1: Using open-source computer vision (OpenCV) to change video feeds

  • Objective 2: Exploring Tello image effects and processing with creativity

  • Objective 3: Programing live video feeds with Neural Style Transfers (NST)

  • Objective 4: Stimulating creative thinking and unique perspectives

Outcomes of Visual-Thinking Exercises in Course 3

This course merges curricula on virtual environments and application writing into impressive final projects. Computer Vision and Neural Style Transfers also represent an important, growing field for computer scientists, engineers, technologists, and artists who increasingly find value in new domains including:

  • Video and photo editing

  • Interactive game development

  • Virtual and augmented reality design

  • Commercial art creation and production

Accessing “Advanced Python” Courses for Your K-12 Students

When educators and students discover the possibility of learning with Tello drones, imagination buzzes. The set of Python courses was developed and paced to inspire the most competitive and sought-after skills in the world. 

DroneBlocks works with each educator and institution on an individual basis to teach fundamental computer science concepts ranging from elementary to graduation-level skills. We fit your teaching goals and student learning objectives to the right coursework and enrollment process that works for you. 

Even without access to a drone, educators can use this drone curriculum to enrich and engage students through our accredited coursework, satisfying STEM policy expectations. Our goal is to make computer science rewarding for all stakeholders through accessible drone programming. Our approach seeks to synergize the sciences with art and technology, which is exactly what our new, three-part curriculum, Python 3, is all about!

Get DroneBlocks’ Coursework with All-Access Membership

The best way to give young learners an exceptional education in computer science is with the DroneBlocks Membership. Educators then enjoy full access to all our Tello and Tello EDU curriculum in multiple languages. Compelling lessons span math, science, and reasoning with practical, hands-on applications and simulators. Along with Block Coding and JavaScript, students adventure into the world of  Python 3 to execute code and fly drones.

“Advanced Python” energizes students and ignites their inner passion for learning as they experience mastery of a new programming language developed before their eyes. 


Elevate Learning with DroneBlocks STEM Curriculum

It's not just about coding—it's about fostering innovation and critical thinking in young minds. Our curriculum is meticulously crafted to engage students at every level, integrating theory with hands-on activities. See all of the courses we have available today!