by Richard Chang l 9/14/16
With about 650 students in grades 6 through 12, Tampa Prep has abandoned the old classroom model of stationary desks and a teacher standing in front of the room, and has created what it calls “Active Learning Environments” (ALEs). After converting all middle school classrooms to ALEs in 2015, the school is continuing the trend in its upper school. Each classroom is equipped with a Lightspeed audio system, interactive projectors and movable desks, so no student should suffer from being “in the back of the class.”
“The integration of Lightspeed audio systems, visual equipment, wireless networking and educational software has been a fun and exciting process,” said Chad Lewis, director of technology at Tampa Prep, in a prepared statement. “Our students can’t hide from learning in the back of the room anymore, and with these new collaborative learning tools, they don’t want to. Our flexible environment, combined with innovative technologies, gets our students out of their seats and learning in new, creative ways.”
Teachers and students use the Redcat every day and during every lesson, according to a news release. The system includes a wearable, wireless microphone for the teacher and a speaker that can be placed anywhere in the classroom. The combination allows teachers to move around the classroom and saves them from voice fatigue.
Tampa Prep’s foreign language teachers also use the Redcats to help each student clearly hear the pronunciation of every word, the release said. They use the Flexcat systems — which consist of a wearable microphone for the teacher, a speaker for whole-group instruction, and a set of two way audio pods that allow teachers to listen and speak to small groups — in the school’s soundproof practice spaces where teachers can see students working, but cannot hear them. With Flexcat, teachers can push a button and hear what students are saying during small-group instruction. The student, in turn, can push a button on the Flexcat pod and ask the teacher a question — even without the teacher being in the same learning space.
As a result of its commitment to expanded curricular offerings and technology supporting a variety of learning styles, Tampa Prep has been recognized as anApple Distinguished School for innovation, leadership and educational excellence.
The Redcat and Flexcat are both part of the newly launched Lightspeed Access Technology System, and are designed to work seamlessly together and with Flexcat pods. For more information about Lightspeed, visit the company’s website.
About the Author
Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org