The new Ryze Tello EDU ($129) is an upgraded version of the original Tello ($99). It takes everything that made the Tello a great beginner drone and added more programming features. The Tello itself is a great beginner drone, and one of my personal favorites. It is incredibly stable, takes excellent pictures, has intelligent flight modes, and it can be programmed using different coding languages. As an educator, I have used a fleet of Tellos at my school to teach students how to code. The Tello EDU has all the same great features of the original but it takes that programming to the next level.
The Tello EDU
There are a lot of things that make the Tello an excellent beginner drone. I love its stability. The flight modes are fantastic and easy to use. You won’t find a better HD camera on a drone under $100. One thing that often got overlooked is that you can use the Tello to teach coding. In my classroom, I teach students how to program the original Tello using both Scratch and Droneblocks. It is fairly easy and gets kids learning how to code. The Tello EDU is still incredibly stable, takes great pictures, and fun to fly. The updated version really expands on the coding aspect of the drone with two new coding languages. If you want to learn why I love the original Tello, click here.
Coding with the Tello EDU
The Tello EDU can teach coding in Scratch, Swift and Python. It is built on a brand new SDK 2.0 (software developer kit) with more commands and increased data interfaces. One drawback from the original was you couldn’t access picture and video commands in the original code. Now you can. You can even program a “swarm” of Tellos if you choose. In addition to being able to program a single Tello or a swarm of Tellos, Ryze has included new Mission Pads. These are unique guiding points that can trigger the Tello to respond how you want. You simply program the Tello EDU to respond when it flies over the Mission Pad.
Apple’s Swift coding language even has a fun tutorial program called “Tello Space Travel” where novice programmers can learn coding through interactive lessons programming their Tello EDU. The other new coding language available on the Tello EDU is Python. Python has been growing in popularity for years in engineering schools. It is powerful and free – a winning solution. Coding in Python is a great skill for any STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) student to develop.
As an educator that has used the original Tello to teach programming, I’m excited to try the new Tello EDU. The original was good, but we found programming in Scratch to be a little clunky. Droneblocks was a good program but the SDK 1.0 was a bit limited. The ability to program camera commands and use the mission blocks opens up some more opportunities for learning. I can’t wait to program my first swarm of Tello EDUs.
The new Tello EDU can be purchased from either DJI or from Apple for $129. You will get the Tello EDU, two sets of propellers, battery, propeller guards, charging cable and four Mission Pads. The original Tello can be found at DJI.com or on sale right now on Amazon for $79.
I believe that drones can be useful tools in education. This new Tello EDU is just one example. If you want to know how to incorporate drones in STEM classes send me an email at Jack@DroneDJ.com. I’d love to help.
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