Drones are descending from the skies and into Anoka-Hennepin classrooms next year.

Anoka-Hennepin is launching a drone course for the 2018-19 school year, where high schoolers will learn to build, program and fly the aircrafts, said Pete Groebner, who will be teaching the course.

The ultimate goal? Getting students certified as commercial drone pilots. “I see drones as an absolute utility to solve a numerous amount of problems,” said Groebner, an aviation and engineering instructor at Anoka-Hennepin’s Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP).

While some schools have drone clubs, Groebner said he doesn’t know of any in Minnesota with formal drone courses at school.

The course will be stationed at STEP, and will be open to any high school student in the district when registration starts in January. Anoka-Hennepin is working with Northland Community and Technical College for course college credit options.

“The more we explored it, the more we realized there’s a high career demand for people that can fly drones,” said Jessica Lipa, director of career and technical education and STEP.

Drones have become hot tech gadgets in recent years, with purposes ranging from aerial videography to product delivery. Drones can collect a wide range of information, Groebner said. “Any sensor that you can basically hang on a drone, you can record that information,” he said.

The idea came from Associate Superintendent Jeff McGonigal, Groebner said.

He said the students will build and program their drones, and will also learn practical skills. One fun drone experience: first-person view goggles, which display the same image the drone is seeing in the air to the student in the classroom.

“The only limitation is not being creative,” he said.