Students explore photography with ‘little planet’ maker

PENDLETON — Students sometimes live in their own little worlds, which can be quite spectacular when looked at more closely.

Erika Matthews, media and eLearning specialist at Pendleton Elementary and Pendleton Intermediate schools, is trying to help students capture moments from their worlds by working with the latest video and photo-technology — a 360-degree camera.

Matthews attended the Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators conference in Indianapolis in November, an event designed to help educators use technology in the classroom.

For attending the conference, the school received a new 360-degree omnidirectional camera.

The technology allows users to take pictures looking out in all directions from a stationary point; the results are images some call “little planets” because of their spherical appearance.

Matthews has been tinkering with the camera to see what she and the students might be able to do with the technology. So far she’s also been able to capture a 360 video of the school.

She’s working on creating a time-lapse video as well as capturing other 360 photos, which she plans to share with the South Madison Community School Board at an upcoming board meeting.

The 360 camera allows students to look at their surroundings from a different perspective, Matthews said.

Matthews has been studying the new technology so she will be able to answer questions once students start working with and pushing the limits of the camera.

Matthews is developing projects for the school’s fifth- and-sixth-grade “tech ninjas,” students who apply at the beginning of the year and are selected through teacher recommendation to represent their class. They become class technology experts for their peers and teachers.

The “tech ninjas” meet with Matthews for lunch once a week. They recently worked with the 360 camera and learned how to use ozobots — small toy robots that blend the physical and digital worlds.

Matthews created the school’s first “little planet” by taking a 360 photo outside of the school and then edited a final photo together with an app that works with the camera.

She also has made some “little planet” images of her house and family snapshots.

Students have mastered other video and photography technology, so getting something new is exciting, Matthews said.

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.