KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Two Kaiserslautern High School seniors and a teacher helped the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District get construction pictures of the new 21st-century high school Nov. 1.

They used the school's aerial camera to help the district's senior project engineer get video and still photos of the high school's construction.

Chris Putnam, who teaches Career Technical Education courses, flew the aerial camera while Evan Mackie and Christopher Craven operated the camera. Using the aerial camera previously to film graduation, pep rallies and football practices, this was the first time they filmed a construction site. Because of safety concerns Bernhard Ochsenreither, the 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 site and the students get practical experience. Both said they hope to continue to film the construction as building progresses.

Putnam listed markets for aerial photography as he described the skills congruent with the Department of Defense Education Activity 21st-century curriculum.

"They're building a technical skill before they graduate," he explained.

"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 is scheduled to open 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)."

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.) One of the benefits of a 21st-century facility is it becomes a teaching tool and is used to provide real-world relevance to reinforce STEM curriculums.

"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.

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 185,100 square-feet, 21st-century school was funded in fiscal 2010 for a programmed amount of $74 million. The student-centered school features seven learning neighborhoods, which is a shift from traditional classrooms. With moveable walls, the space is more flexible and will accommodate large, medium and small groups, individual learning and one-to-one pairings. According to DoDEA, 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.