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The 360-Degree Filmmaking Challenge: Utica Center for Science and Industry, Sterling Heights, Michigan Utica Community Schools.

The Utica Center for Science and Industry began in 2008 as a way for Utica Community Schools to provide three career-focused pathways--multimedia production, engineering technology and mechatronics. Each semester includes a cross-curricular challenge where students from the three pathways collaborate on a final project.

In 2017, students were given a high-resolution 360-degree camera and VR equipment, and were tasked with producing a film in a semester. This virtual reality filmmaking challenge was sponsored by the nonprofit Digital Promise.

"The biggest challenge was that filmmaking is a core part of our program, but learning to shoot in a 360-degree environment was like having to relearn the whole process in a completely different way," says Mike Allore, multimedia instructor.

Since the camera is filming in all directions at all times, traditional film setups and elements--such lighting and microphone booms--had to be approached in new ways. The students also did not receive the camera until November, giving them only a few weeks to learn how to operate it and to make the film. The finished product was a seven-minute look at how students and educators should be using such equipment to create new learning opportunities.

Upcoming projects include creating a virtual tour of the Center for Science and Industry's career and technical education elective classes, and developing a showcase of local manufacturing featuring students visiting area businesses.

"As we move forward with using more 360-degree media, we will be looking into additional technology to make this a regular part of the Center for Science and Industry multimedia program," says Allore.


The Utica Center for Science and Industry, a career pathway program, wanted an extra hands-on learning opportunity for students involving virtual reality, 360-degree filmmaking.


The Digital Promise 360 Filmmakers Challenge provided a project-based experience for students to further study multimedia production and to use the latest technology.

Evidence of success

Students are now able to use industry-grade technology to solve problems in creative and collaborative ways.

Lesson learned

Although students already understand basic film production, learning the nuances of a 360-degree production environment requires extra instruction and time to explore the equipment involved.

Next steps

Adding VR 360-degree media projects at each grade level.

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Publication:District Administration
Date:Jun 1, 2018
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