Taking to the stage at FutureSchools Expo and Conferences, the “accidental entrepreneur”, scientist and STEM innovator tells delegates straight out that in 20 minutes she will try and convince them that drones are incredibly powerful tools for creativity and engagement.
“Ever had a dream where you could fly?” Ball asks her audience.
Drones can recreate this “hyper real experience”, she says.
If we are able to hover over Earth we see things in a different way – our perspective alters the way we see the planet, and this is an incredibly exciting revelation, according to Ball.
But drones do so much more than offer incredible sightseeing opportunities.
Highlighting the #DronesForGood movement, Ball runs through the many ways in which the technology can do good things for humanity.
When natural disasters strike, drones can be used to assess flood or cyclone damage, for example. They can be used for bio-security purposes, to help scientists to eradicate weeds and monitor marine species that would otherwise go unsighted.
In the classroom, drones have tremendous power to heighten learning across the curriculum, Ball argues.
“All teachers are directly linked with drone technology … this is not another piece of technology that you have to learn.”
If we want to future-proof our students for a world in which aerospace and aeronautical skills will be key to our national economic growth, we have to funnel children into the STEM pipeline and keep them there, Ball says.
And crucially, girls and women need to be encouraged to step up into the field.
“As an entrepreneur nobody had tackled the gender issue,” Ball reflects.
So determined to “see it to be it” Ball has established ‘She Flies’ – a program that aims to hook females into the wonders of STEM via drone education.
Intrigued? We spoke with Ball about her passion for drones and her pioneering work to re-balance the STEM gender divide. Read the full story here.