The new middle school classrooms at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa, FL are bright, open spaces that are constantly changing. One day, the teacher is wirelessly presenting with an iPad® in the classroom. The next day, the desks are completely rearranged, as students gather for group activities around different projectors. Some students are interacting with a lesson projected by an ultra-short throw, touch-enabled Epson BrightLink® 595Wi interactive projector, which transforms the classroom walls into interactive spaces.
Phasing Out “Old School”
Challenging the traditional classroom layout, Tampa Prep, a high achieving, independent school serving 650 6-12 grade students in downtown Tampa, is replacing “old school” lecture style teaching with more flexible, collaborative learning. Last year, the school completely rebuilt 12 middle school classrooms and collaborative areas to reflect its philosophy about the future of learning.
Opening up classrooms to natural light, the school added more glass windows, two Epson BrightLink 595Wi interactive projectors per classroom, an iPad for each student, wireless microphones, dry-erase wall coverings turning entire walls into multimedia and writing spaces, and colorful ergonomic desks with the mobility of bumper cars.
When the middle school reopened its doors this year, students were excited to explore their newly renovated active learning environment. With two Epson projectors in each room, there is no longer a front or back to the classroom. New presentation areas allow teachers and students to be more collaborative, whether working with curriculum software, presentation slides, webpages, flip charts, eBooks, videos, DVDs, or scanned images.
“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,” said Chad Lewis, the director of technology at Tampa Prep. “Our flexible environment, combined with innovative technologies, gets our students out of their seats and learning in new, creative ways.”
1:1 Offers Collaboration Opportunities
“When I first joined the school five years ago, each classroom had an interactive whiteboard and projector, but we’ve now turned a new corner in collaborative technology,” said Lewis. “The school today has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, requiring our students to bring a standardized iPad with them each day.”
No longer tethered to the front of the room, Tampa Prep’s teachers walk around the room while transmitting their iPads’ displays to the BrightLink 595Wi, projecting on large dry-erase laminate walls. Many are wirelessly sharing and comparing student work from multiple devices using the Epson iProjection™ app and Epson Multi-PC Projection with built-in Moderator device management software, allowing up to 50 computers, tablets and other handheld devices to be connected via the network for ultimate classroom collaboration.
Touch-enabled 3LCD Projector
With the BrightLink 595Wi projector’s touch-based interactivity, up to six students can touch, draw, select and interact with projected content using intuitive, familiar gestures. “The projectors sense the touch of our hands and allow us to use fingers as writing tools,” said Mrs. Laura Bridges-Pereira, Tampa Prep’s Spanish and French teacher. Today, she divides her students into two groups, one group to practice conversational Spanish and the other to learn a new list of vocabulary words, using their fingers to select the right translation on the projected lesson.
Students have no problem viewing the projected images in their renovated, bright classrooms. Using 3LCD, 3-chip technology for brilliant, true-to-life color, the BrightLink 595Wi has 3,300 lumens of color brightness and 3,300 lumens of white brightness.1 The level of brightness stands up to the natural light that now shines through the new glass windows of each middle school classroom. Teachers can project up to 100 inches of large, interactive, HD images without shadow interference.
“The BrightLink interactive projectors have an amazing image throw, which allows equitable access for all students to the same amount of information from anywhere in the classroom,” said Bridges-Pereira. “Because of the brilliant color, each student in my classroom has a front-row seat to participation and learning.”
“Bang for the Buck”
As technology director, Lewis is pleased with the projector’s “bang for the buck,” its reliability and the long-life, low-cost lamp. “We’ve definitely seen a lower cost of ownership with this solution,” he said.
Now that the middle school is equipped with BrightLink 595Wi projectors, Tampa Prep plans to replace the SMART Boards and projectors in the upper grade classrooms with new model BrightLink projectors in the future.
“Classrooms need to reflect our changing world where teachers and textbooks are no longer the sole source of learning,” said Lewis. “The middle school students at Tampa Prep now have the technology tools for more interaction with multimedia and each other, stirring up their critical thinking skills with equal access to information.”
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