Reimagining Education at Webb School of Knoxville

25 September 2020 | By viviedu
Webb School of Knoxville Knoxville, Tennessee Webb School is a PreK-12 private school in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Because extraordinary people need extraordinary environments.

When your mission is to inspire and nurture the full potential of each individual and prepare students to serve as leaders of character in tomorrow’s world, you always need an eye on the future. Having developed a reputation for educating young people in extraordinary ways, the challenge for the Webb School of Knoxville was how to ensure it had the programs, resources and buildings to continue to reimagine—and plan for—extraordinary.

The Challenge

To support and inspire learners at every level by promoting higher learning, and designing innovative spaces to tailor the learning experience and allow teachers and students to collaborate

The Outcome

A three-building construction project, including a brand new Innovation Center that opened in August, 2020. Throughout the school, teachers are using Vivi to enrich the learning experience and continue the school’s pursuit of extraordinary.

Through its planning and design, Webb School of Knoxville has been able to:

1. Create spaces designed by teachers

Rather than build spaces and ask teachers to adapt, the school formed teacher-led committees to really define what extraordinary learning looked like, and deliver the right environment and technology to make it happen.

2. Inspire learners at every level

The school has created spaces to tailor learning to the individual by designing comprehensive learning resource centers and state-of-the-art science facilities.

3. Unlock the value of its investment in big-screen interactive displays

The school and teachers knew using such displays were an essential part of creating an extraordinary learning environment. They needed Vivi to make it happen.

“The uptake of technology for teachers tends to be very slow. 
Vivi picked up very quickly and we had most of our teachers using it almost immediately.”

Jim Manikas, Director of Technology, Webb School of Knoxville


Over more than 60 years, the Webb School of Knoxville has developed a reputation as a pillar of excellence in education. It has set a high bar for others to follow, through its pursuit of extraordinary; a vision to educate young people in extraordinary ways.

Its challenge for the future was to continue to find new ways to inspire and nurture the potential of each individual attending the school. To do so meant reimagining extraordinary; revisiting its programs, resources and buildings and finding ways to maintain its already high standards long into the future.

The school—a private, pre-K-12 co-ed day school in Tennessee, with an enrolment of just over 1000 students—wanted to develop a learning and teaching environment that captured the school’s spartan spirit and created a lasting legacy. Its vision of the future included spaces in which the learning experience could be tailored to support every student and would inspire those at every level to go on to be leaders of character in tomorrow’s world. The new spaces would promote higher learning, foster collaboration and creativity, encourage informal interactions and provide the foundation on which relationships were to be built.

The school had already purchased a number of big-screen, interactive displays to place in classrooms, and it knew there was a need to find an efficient and effective way to present to those displays. It was clear that creating an extraordinary learning environment would also require the support of the right technology, and the school talked to the people who were actually going to use it—the teachers—to identify existing and potential problems that technology might be able to solve. It established that any wired solution would create a jumble of cables at the front of the class and force students to physically relocate in order to connect. That, it concluded, was far from extraordinary.


In 2018, the school began the planning process for:

To ensure the plans truly represented the reimagining of extraordinary, a wide group of stakeholders gave their input, including School President, Michael McBrien, the school’s leadership, Board of Trustees, staff, parents, alumni and students. As a group, what they delivered in the buildings—that opened for the first time in August, 2020—was truly extraordinary.


When it came to using the right technology, Jim Manikas, Director of IT at the school, knew he had found the solution when he saw Vivi presented at the FETC technology conference in Orlando. Vivi clearly had the capability to unlock the investment the school had already made in big-screen displays, and allow teachers to really tailor the learning experience to every individual. As a system, Vivi checked all the boxes; easy to use and install—all Jim had to do was create a VLAN. It even aced the test Jim and his team conducted.

Vivi was implemented across the existing school buildings, in 2019, and was ready to go in the new buildings when students return. And the school’s experience to date has been extremely positive. In Jim’s experience, teachers can be quite slow to embrace new technology, but that’s not been the case with Vivi. They love the convenience and are no longer tethered to the front of the class. And getting students involved in presenting is so easy; they no longer have to make their way to the front of the class to share their work and ideas from their personal devices.

To find out more about how Vivi can help build collaborative learning environments, contact our team here.