Abstract: The “Art” of War: Re-Humanizing Drone Warfare. From toy store shelves to Amazon.com to the Pentagon, drones have become a magnet for American spending. Over the last couple of decades the United States and many other nations have invested billions of dollars in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for defense and military purposes. These vehicles are used to perform a variety of tasks including: disarming explosives, gathering data on enemies, patrolling dangerous regions and executing strike missions on people and installations. This emergence of drones into our military leads to a few questions: What are the ethics of bot-to-man combat? What privacy dilemmas can we identify? What is it like to be the person who presses “the button”? What feelings do we have about “collateral damage” from UAV strikes? What are the long-term uses for UAVs (Amazon Air)?
Humanities Context: The final product for the humanities will be a type of performance art. Our class will invite the public to an exhibit of “rethinking drone war”. Student-built copters will attack each other’s bases and drop bombs of paint onto canvases that have been prepared with stencils. The stencils will be arranged to produce words and images that RE-HUMANIZE drone targets. At the exhibition we will also display the process of designing our vehicles and share our thinking and experience of exploring and processing the dilemmas of drone warfare.
Physics & Engineering Context: To support the performance art described above, students will design and fabricate radio controlled multi-copters (drones) from scratch. They will use cardboard as the primary building material as a reminder that anyone has access to this useful, but potentially lethal, technology. In addition to designing and fabricating the drones, students will specify and implement first-person-viewing technology and ‘the big red button’ to complete their aerial assault vehicle. Lastly, students will break into teams and practice their role as either pilot, bombardier, or pit crew, in preparation for our exhibition.
- Student written EdWeek Article – How Project-Based Learning Fosters Student Independence, by Andrew Maya
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