Engineer, drone pilot and now educator, Ryan Busler met with his class for the first time Tuesday Aug. 20 and kicked off the school year and Shawnee's new course: Aerospace Engineer Design.
According to Busler, he attended the University of Oklahoma, graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree, spent eight years working as an engineer for General Electric, moved overseas and spent several years as a consultant running his own drone and advertising business.
"We did marketing and drone flights and photography and video and stuff like that," Busler said.
Busler grew up in Shawnee and he said he came home from being overseas and originally applied for a math teaching position at SHS.
"They saw my resume and asked if I had any experience with drones which I happen to have run a drone business...So it was a great fit," Busler said.
The drone pilot explained at first he wasn't planning on going to college, but after attending the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, he fell in love with the subjects.
"I'm just excited to see kids embrace technology," Busler said. "I got exposed to technology and engineering...So I'm hoping to have that same kind of influence to show kids that maybe you could use drones or robots...in a career."
This is Busler's first time as an educator and he explained by the end of the course students will be able to take the FAA 107 test which would make them a commercial drone pilot.
"So they'll do that. They'll learn about why things fly and learn a little bit about programing kind of swarms of drones and stuff like that," Busler said.
This course is new to the district and Busler explained it's being funded by a $50,000 grant, in which a portion was used to purchase drones and virtual reality goggles.
"I'm really excited that the grant that we have has covered not just any drones but the really professional great drones...," Busler said.
The drone pilot said there are 17 drones total and three different types including small ones for swarms and two professional ones for video, photos and 3D mapping. In addition, students will have access to the virtual reality goggles which will enable them to see from the perspective of the drone.
"I hope that they're excited about it and that it's not just another class that they have to take but it's something maybe they'll be passions about," Busler said. "Who doesn't like playing with robots and drones?"
In addition to teaching the new high school course, Busler said he will also educate students at different levels throughout the district.
"I'll do STEM at the elementary schools so I'll be at a different elementary school everyday of the week and then I'll teach a robotics course at the middle school one day a week...," Busler said.
Busler said he believes it's important to have courses such as his drone class because it fills that divide of education and technology.
"I think the main thing is most kids are quick to adapt to technology, but what we're trying to show them is that technology and learning don't have to go separate directions...I feel like it will help them to actually like science and math more," Busler said.
Busler said he is looking forward to having a different influence in students' lives and though he's never taught before he's excited for the adventure.
"I hope we have kids that are excited about math and science and technology," Busler said.