Page 12 - THE Journal, June/July 2017
P. 12

Chad Lewis, Director of Technology for Tampa Preparatory
School, Has Reimagined and Transformed Classrooms
Chad Lewis and his school, Tampa Preparatory School, have received a fair amount of attention lately.
Lewis, the director of technology at the Florida private school, has transformed classrooms throughout his 670-student institution, which starts with sixth graders and goes up through 12th grade.
All the kids are 1-to-1 with iPads. Lessons and student work are projected onto three
Ninety percent of books are digital on the students’ iPads, meaning the kids don’t have to lug around heavy texts and they even wind up saving money. Updates to texts can easily be downloaded onto the iPads.
In 2014 and 2016, Tampa Preparatory
was selected as an Apple Distinguished School, recognized as “an exemplary learning environment for innovation, leadership and educational excellence.”
Chad Lewis: We’ve been that way for four years. This will be our fifth year.
THE Journal: Did you consider the Chromebook? It’s been gaining in popularity in the schools.
Lewis: We did. Five years ago, we started the conversation — we knew we wanted to be a 1-to-1 school. We explored what kind
| JUNE/JULY 2017
interactive projectors per class, and all the walls are “writeable,” meaning the students can use special markers or their fingers to write on erasable, interactive whiteboards.
The classes are furnished with mobile desks, so students can move their desks anywhere. The classroom configurations are different every day.
All teachers are equipped with Redcat wireless microphones, which means they’re not tethered to the front of the classroom. In fact, they can be anywhere in the class and students can hear them clearly from a speaker — upending the very notion of front and back of the class.
Lewis has implemented what he calls an “active learning environment,” with project- based learning, flipped classrooms and students doing podcasts, learning code and filming movies — all facilitated by technology.
For his efforts, Lewis, a member of the FETC executive board, has received local media attention and was named nonprofit CIO of the year in 2016 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Also last year, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum selected him as technologist of the year.
THE Journal: When did your students go 1-to-1?
of functionality we needed: We wanted to create multimedia projects, videos, use green screens, record lectures, have our books on our devices. We wanted a long battery life. We looked at Chromebooks, Windows-compatible laptops — Dell and Lenovo. The iPad really fit the bill because it hit all those criteria. You can create videos really easily in that device. Since 90 percent of our books are digital textbooks, that was the device that
was chosen.
THE Journal: Do you have a policy regarding cellphones on campus or in class?
We explored what kind of functionality we needed: We wanted to create multimedia projects, videos, use green screens, record lectures, have our books on our devices.

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