Today on Artist Strong we welcome Tony Deprato. While his professional expertise is in technology, which many may not associate with the arts (but I think more and more are beginning to see wonderful connections, through tools of technology or means of collaboration), I think he is a perfect example of how creativity and the arts can permeate any and all disciplines! Thank you Tony for taking time to speak with Artist Strong.

Creative Spirit Tony Deprato

Creative Spirit Tony Deprato


Carrie:What is your book about?

Tony: My book is about BYOD, Bring Your Own Device. This is a trend in education, and in the corporate world, where people/students are encouraged to bring their own devices- with software and services supported by the organization.


Carrie: What inspired your desire to write this book?

Tony: Going through the BYOD process was a two year journey. I was taking notes and writing about events as they occurred. When the dust had settled, I realized that if I collected all my notes and writings, I could help other people setup their BYOD program and avoid the mistakes I had made. It seemed like a really good way to give back to the Educational Technology community.


Carrie:Where can I obtain your book if I want a copy?

Tony: Right now, you need to email me.  Go to, and send a request. It will be in the iTunes Store very soon, I am just waiting for the semester to end to finalize all the things I need to do to be compliant.


Carrie:What made you decide to write an ebook?

Tony: I am pushing people to work paperless whenever possible. My book is mostly designed as a guide. It has various sections with steps to follow. Most of these steps require someone to create something and share it. So I was thinking, “The book needs to be open on the screen at the same time they are creating so they can copy and paste.”


In this case, an e-book is easier and more practical. Also, you can search an e-book by topic. I figured most people will not need to follow all the steps, so having a searchable medium was a core design feature.


Carrie:Were there any major obstacles to writing your ebook? What were they? How did you overcome them?

Tony: The major obstacle is time. I could not write during normal work hours. Then of course, the editing. I leveraged the power of Google Drive though. I was able to write and have 2 editors working on the manuscript at the same time. Using the advanced commenting features in Google Drive this is very efficient, yet, not obtrusive.


Another challenge, I am really bad at using commas. 🙂


Carrie:What is your advice to people who want to write about a topic they have expertise in?

Tony: Start blogging. You need a space to write down the seemingly unrelated ideas, that are actually going to eventually make sense when put together. Blogging is fast, easy, and you can do it from almost any web-enabled device. Also, your ideas get put out into the world, and come back to you with comments. This helps focus and adjust them before you commit them to a manuscript.


Carrie: What other ways do you communicate on this topic and technology in schools?

Tony: I have a website, a blog with people collaboratively on, and I write for online publications sometimes, like TIE ONLINE.


Carrie:Would you describe yourself as an author? Why or why not?

Tony: Not really. If anything, I am more of a historian/documentarian. I just want to report what happened and analyze it so it is useful to people. I do not care about characters, story arcs, or commas (but apparently I have to care about commas or people will think I am an idiot ~ from my editor).


Carrie:What are other ways you express your creativity?

Tony: I like video editing, I have been doing it since 1997. I also enjoy graphic design and creating web-layouts and templates.


Carrie: How does an idea develop for you? (Do they come to you spontaneously, for example?)

Tony: I formulate and work ideas out while playing sports or through physical activity. I will be working out on the punching bag, and then all of a sudden my brain will kick out and idea. Or I will be attempting to improve my 3-point percentage from 15% to 17% and as the ball drops my brain will be like – HEY WHY DONT YOU DO THIS.  It always communicates in block letters, no punctuation, and never even the thought of a comma.


Carrie: Who or what inspires you?

Tony: People with problems inspire me. I notice negative patterns all the time, and inefficiency. It annoys me so much, I want to help. Mostly to stop being annoyed, but eventually I start to care about the big picture.


Carrie:How do you define creativity?

Tony: Being original and not copying from others. In whatever you do, you should learn to do it in your own way. Make something, and say, “I may not be the first, but I did this on my own.”