Spend time in an engaged classroom and you’ll most likely hear the hum of teacher and student voices, multiplication tables explored, crayons and crayons tapping on paper, and a variety of devices humming backwards. – plan (printer, tablets, 3D printers, scientific equipment, etc.). The classroom can be an incredible and dynamic space of active learning, but for some it can also be a cacophony of sound that makes learning difficult and communication a challenge.
Students must be able to clearly hear the instructions given, which often requires high quality, highly intelligible audio. When there is distracting background noise, poor sound, and difficult acoustics in a classroom, not only can learning become difficult, but teachers may need to force themselves and repeat themselves, which adds general fatigue in a classroom. Easy to use, high quality sound system which includes speakers, Bluetooth capabilities and microphones supports an active and enhanced learning environment where sound is less of a barrier.
What can be achieved with sound technology in the classroom? Here are six reasons why great sound is essential in a classroom.
1. Improves student behavior and concentration
Listening is a skill and it can be hard work for young learners or new learners, students who don’t speak the classroom language well, or if a lot of information has to be absorbed each day. Because of this, students’ minds can wander, which can lead to misbehavior and disengagement from the learning environment. But sound technology in the classroom helps improve student concentration and demeanor because it reduces distractions and helps students hear lessons more clearly. When concentration and clear instructions are successfully facilitated, attention, comprehension and behavior are more likely to improve.
2. Increases understanding
Students, especially younger ones and English language learners, can miss up to 40% of what the teacher is saying for a variety of reasons – seating arrangement, background noise, reverberation, vocabulary and still developing brains – which is a huge drawback. By ensuring that the teacher’s voice is clear and evenly distributed throughout the room, classroom sound systems can be extremely helpful in overcoming these obstacles. The likely results? Improved literacy, comprehension, retention and participation which can all lead to positive academic progress.
3. Creates a more inclusive learning environment
While sound technology in the classroom is valuable for all students, it has even more benefits for children with hearing loss and learning disabilities. Classroom audio and lecture capture help compensate for the difficulty these students may have understanding spoken content. Quality sound provides an even playing field so all students can hear and participate with more confidence – a powerful indicator of future learning experiences. In some schools where classroom sound systems have been installed and implemented, they have seen a reduction in referrals to special education.
4. Reduces Teacher Voice Fatigue
Teachers need to project their voice to the back of the classroom, and because of this, about half of all teachers will experience a voice disorder during their career, resulting in time off so their voice can recover. Free time for their voice also means free time out of the classroom, which disrupts learning. First rank, an audio solutions company that develops technology for effortless communication in any learning environment, offers solutions that eliminate this additional constraint. Most teachers using FrontRow technology report more energy and greater teaching satisfaction. Using a PA system in the classroom has been shown to reduce teachers’ sick days due to voice fatigue by 63%.
5. Empowers Calmer Students by Building Confidence
Students who are hesitant to participate in class might be encouraged to engage more if they can hear and be heard well. Most classroom audio systems come with student microphones that can be used for reading aloud, oral presentations, and class discussions. Getting the sound system to talk for a shy or quiet student often has the remarkable effect of build self-confidence in public speaking and interactions with peers.
6. Compensates for background noise and seating arrangement
Think about all the potential background noise in a classroom. From outdoor traffic and construction to indoor heating and chatter in the hallways, there is an endless stream of potential distractions for students. Children with normal hearing need the teacher’s voice to be 15 decibels louder than this background noise to be intelligible, but direct speech (teacher’s voice) loses 6 decibels for every doubling in distance. This means that a child sitting one meter away from the teacher can hear their voice at 65 decibels, but a child sitting four meters away will only hear their speech at 53 decibels. As noise levels remain fairly constant in the room, the child sitting farther away will inevitably miss more important content. This is the fundamental reason schools use public address systems in the classroom – to ensure students have equal access to clear verbal information. no matter where they sit in a classroom and no matter how the noise conditions may change throughout the day or year.
A high-quality classroom audio system clearly does more than amplify sound – it can also improve student behavior, concentration, comprehension and confidence; creating a more inclusive and active learning environment; and reduce teacher fatigue and learning disruption. A win-win situation for all.
To learn more about how audio solutions for classrooms and campuses have helped schools and county districts, click here – FrontRow Case Studies.
To learn more about dynamic and award-winning audio solutions, visit www.gofrontrow.com.