HONOLULU— The Bishop Museum has partnered with Creative Academies and junior high students from Hawaii Technology Academy (HTA), a WASC-accredited public charter school, to continue building and expanding the virtual ocean exhibit Deep Sea Experience. Students program 3-D computer models of fish and simulate a deep-sea dive in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which is projected on the Bishop Museum’s new permanent “Interactive Wall” located in the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center. When it first opened the Deep Sea Experience in October 2010, Bishop Museum became the first museum in the world to incorporate student-generated photorealistic 3-D simulations of an actual marine environment in a permanent installation. The students are expected to complete the updated Deep Sea Experience for Bishop Museum’s visitors later this year.

“Bishop Museum brings cutting-edge simulations in the world’s most advanced graphics environment thanks to donors and partners like Creative Industries and Hawaii Technology Academy,” said Timothy Johns, President and CEO of Bishop Museum. “By incorporating the latest discoveries made by our scientists in the field we help make learning an adventure for Hawai‘i’s youth. By involving students in the exhibit development, we bring them to the front line of discovery while giving them real-world experience in animation.”

The deep-sea dive simulation features renowned ichthyologist Dr. Richard Pyle and allows the student to accompany Dr. Pyle as his virtual dive partner and research photographer on a 300­foot dive to dimly lit ocean depths, or “twilight zone,” to identify new tropical species. “The introduction of new advanced diving technology is helping us to collect specimens of new species in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific. I am pleased to be able to share this new technology and new specimen findings with the students,” says Dr. Richard Pyle.

Based on Dr. Pyle’s most recent dive, he estimates that 90 percent of species found at depths of 300 feet are endemic to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and are found nowhere else in the world. As new fish species are discovered, the students will consult with him and ask him questions. Based on his answers, and on videos, photographs, and the specimens he collects, HTA students will reconstruct the species in photorealistic 3-D. The students will then program the virtual species to emulate behaviors of the actual fish, and set the virtual fish free into a virtual ocean for all to visit. This project is part of HTA’s Digital Media elective classes. “Through partnerships with the Creative Academies and Bishop Museum, and having our students work alongside real scientists like Dr. Pyle, we hope to encourage more students towards careers in science.” said Jeff Piontek, Head of School of HTA.

Creative Academies adds digital media prowess to this innovative project. Its founder, Mark Loughridge, previously co-founded Foundation 9 Entertainment, the largest independent game developer in the world. After 11+ years in the video game industry, Mark is now focused on helping students increase STEM skills through the same interactive digital media he helped develop. “This collaborative approach to transform STEM education in Hawai‘i up and down grade levels, will hopefully lead to greater student interest and achievement in STEM,” says Loughridge.

About Hawaii Technology Academy

Supported by a local Hawaii grassroots community, Hawaii Technology Academy (HTA) is a tuition-free public school chartered by the State of Hawaii Charter School Administrative Office.

As a public charter school, HTA combines the accountability of public schooling with the highest-quality distance-learning curriculum available to provide an innovative, highly effective education for Hawaii’s students. In addition to providing individualized learning, Hawaii Technology Academy uses a “hybrid” model of schooling that combines classroom and virtual learning through two Learning Centers on Oahu and Kauai. For more information, please call

(808) 676-5444 or visit

About Creative Academies

Creative Academies offers classes, museum exhibitions, and other approaches to learning using cutting-edge digital media. They combine creativity and the arts with STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math). Courses emphasize 21st century literacy and higher order thinking skills. Creative Academies gives elementary, middle, and high school students the opportunity to innovate through creating their own software, such as educational games, simulations, animations, web sites and more. While working on their original technology projects, students learn 21st century workforce skills and entrepreneurship. For more information, please call (808) 372-3727 or visit

About Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. Today, the Museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens. More than 340,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren. For more information, please visit



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