KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Two Kaiserslautern High School seniors and a teacher used an aerial camera to get construction pictures of the new high school for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District Nov. 1.

As 21st-century schools emerge to provide new ways of learning, the flyover was a great STEM-related activity, said Joseph Toups, a district resident engineer. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)

"It's only fitting that students participate in this activity in a way that encourages them to use modern technology to learn about construction," Toups said.

Chris Putnam, who teaches Career Technical Education courses at the high school, flew the aerial camera while Evan Mackie and Christopher Craven operated the camera. The school has used the aerial camera to film graduation, pep rallies and football practices.

The construction site was a first, but Bernhard Ochsenreither, a district senior project engineer, worked with Putnam, to fly an aerial camera on a Rheinland-Pfalz holiday so it wasn't an active construction site.

Ochsenreither and Putnam said the project is beneficial to both the Corps and the school -- the district gets a bird's-eye view of the construction and the students get practical experience. And they said they hope to continue to film the high school construction process.

"They're building a technical skill before they graduate," explained Putnam as he listed markets for aerial photography.

"Evan and Chris are both in the video communication class. The (aerial camera) makes a great addition to the course," said Putnam, who will teach in the school when it opens for the 2018-19 school year.

"The (aerial camera) has applications for the engineering and robotics courses -- when we start talking about how motors and sensors work," he continued. "Right now, the (aerial camera) can only be flown by a teacher, but as experience and trust build, I see students piloting (it)."

Jose Tovar, chief of Department of Defense Education Activity -- Europe facilities, said it was appropriate for the site to be used as a learning tool because that is a key component of 21st-century learning.

"One of the key aspects for our facilities is that it is a teaching tool, the learning is student centered and kids are not just sitting in classrooms but are actively engaged in the learning process throughout the school," Tovar said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the design and construction agents for the construction and renovation of DoDEA schools worldwide.

The 185,100 square-feet, 21st-century school was funded in fiscal 2010 for a programmed amount of $74 million. DoDEA calls the design of the school "student centered" with seven learning neighborhoods. This is a shift from traditional classrooms. The more flexible spaces with moveable walls -- called learning hubs and learning studios -- will accommodate large, medium and small groups, individual learning and one-to-one pairings. According to DoDEA, true 21st-century learning moves beyond the school and extends the learning space to the global community through technology, virtual instruction and real-time projects.

For more information on 21st-century schools, visit www.dodea.edu/edSpecs.