Academics News

Capturing changing landscapes with 360 degree video

Posted on September 15, 2016 by Julie Funasaki Yuen

Through the use of immersive technology, Mid-Pacific offers students opportunities to address real-world challenges in meaningful ways. On Sept. 13, 8th graders in Leilani Sills' Advanced Design Thinking course traveled to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park in Hilo, Hawai'i to capture 360 degree video as part of a partnership with Catalog.Earth, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting the world's vanishing landscapes with 360 degree video for free and public use. Mid-Pacific is the organization's first and only educational partner, and is a pioneer in offering the opportunity for middle school students to learn 360 degree video capture.

"They (Catalog.Earth) said that in working with a number of universities and professionals in the field, only graduate level students do this kind of work in their experience," said Mid-Pacific Middle School Principal Dwayne Priester in a recent interview with KSSK Reporter Julia Norton-Dennis. "We heard the voices of our students who said, you know, you give us these kinds of challenges and we'll rise to that challenge, and do things that you never thought we could do. Everyday they are amazing me with the kind of work they are doing."


Mid-Pacific 8th grade Advanced Design Thinking Students hiking through Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park in Hilo, Hawai'i.

The 8th grade students caught the attention of Catalog.Earth representatives who saw 360 degree videos taken and stitched together by the students of trips to Makapu'u. The videos were posted online by Advanced Design Thinking Teacher Leilani Sills.

Joined by Dr. Dwayne Priester and School Technology Specialist Tony Johansen, Leilani Sills and her students captured five different areas of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park including the Holei Sea Arch, Pu'uloa Petroglyphs, Pauahi Crater, Sulphur and Steam Vents, and lava fields using two highly sophisticated GoPro Omni Rigs - six cameras mounted together. The rigs were donated by GoPro and the trip was made possible by a generous donation from Mid-Pacific alum, Dr. Rudolph Puana '90.

The goal of this project is to record images of Hawai'i Island's volcano, to help build a public platform, and allow anyone to access 360 degree footage of the rapidly changing landscape of Hawai'i. This information will be free and available under the Creative Commons license. Mid-Pacific 8th grade Advanced Design Thinking students are currently stitching together the 360 degree volcano video and will publish the footage upon completion later this fall.

Please click here to listen to an interview Dee Priester on Hawai'i Public Radio.

Watch the Mid-Pacific 8th grade students with Advanced Design Thinking Teacher Leilani Sills discussing their trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii News Now Sunrise and KITV Good Morning Hawaii.