As my senior year as a Public Relations student at Texas State University comes to an end, I am thrilled that I was able to be apart of the first Drones and Sensors short semester course. I have learned a lot during my time at Texas State, but learning about this newer technology and actually having a hands-on experience really made this one of my favorite courses I have taken over the years.
I had barely any prior knowledge about drones and sensors before taking the course, other than knowing they were becoming more popular for many different reasons and careers. The online portion of the class, featuring mini lectures, videos and articles, stood as a good foundation for getting the gist of drones, sensors and drone journalism.
I developed a strong interest in these topics when I realized how significant this technology is in both good and bad ways. Flying drones over volcanoes? The capability to take photographs and videos of endless matters that a human could never possibly do for themselves? Count me in! Spying neighbors or general violations of privacy? No sir.
Being able to actually fly the drone with classmates was also an awesome experience that I never thought I’d have.
It really doesn’t seem that difficult to maneuver, once you get the hang of it.
Sensors on the other hand…. I don’t think will be my “thing.” As soon as Cindy handed out our sensor kits and I saw all of the tiny wires, I knew I’d be in for a difficult/frustrating experience. Luckily the classmate I was working with seemed to complete all of the sensor exercises with ease.
The Drone and Sensor workshop was perfectly topped off with a video chat with BuzzFeed’s own, Ben Kreimer. Kreimer works in their Open Lab for Journalism, Technology and Arts while also doing other freelance work. He shared many of his projects that he has done over the years, discussed the drones he uses (and makes himself!!) and ended with encouraging words for us students who see a future for ourselves in drone journalism.
Kreimer showed us many different drones and sensor projects that he has created himself. He admitted that he does not use top-of-the-line products, but instead he creates drones and sensors with products that are pretty much accessible to everyone. One of his projects even included a cheap dog toy he happened to pick up.
The best advice Kreimer had for us? “Find opportunities and sell them.”