We may not even realize the breadth of invisible barriers our kids face each day during class. These include the inability to access the instruction because of how a teacher presents a lesson or where they are projecting their voice in the classroom, learning and/or language ability and level of the student, poor acoustics of the physical space, and downgraded audio quality when streaming lessons online. Technological advancements in classroom audio distribution systems (CADs) have helped meet a variety of such needs for teachers and students, with greater demand for easy-to-use sound technology given the rise of remote and hybrid learning, concerns regarding missed learning, and the need to ensure equity and access as education rapidly evolves.
Mark Jones, VP of Sales from FrontRow, discussed the benefits of classroom audio technology with Larry Jacobs from Equity and Access Pre K – 12 (ace-ed.org). Jones understands just how much innovative audio technology positively impacts teaching and learning, especially for students who struggle with accessing instruction for reasons such as hearing issues like temporary hearing loss and auditory processing disorder, learning disabilities, and learning English as a second language. With 20+ years of experience in the classroom audio market, Jones shared why audio technology also benefits students and teachers.
“Teachers are one of the leading occupations for vocal damage and laryngitis,” Jones explained. According to research studies, teachers have more than two times the voice problems than those in other professions. This seems obvious as teachers spend most of their time speaking for prolonged periods in environments that can be noisy. Jones explained that having an audio system that includes an easy-to-use, wearable microphone allows teachers to ease the level of their voice projection and lessen the need to use a BOOMING TEACHER VOICE. He added, “They can use a soft, nurturing tone that the inflection that engages (students) – that gets them to listen because not I’m talking in this manner – is something teachers aren’t able to do if they want to be heard across a normally busy, active room.”
Because of the variety of factors that can adversely affect students’ learning, from undiagnosed hearing loss to not having breakfast, teachers carry a heavy load of responsibility wherein user-friendly tools and dynamic resources can help make a clear difference. Jones commented that FrontRow is “providing a tool that hopefully makes the job a little bit easier.”
Jacobs pointed out that classroom audio technology should be essential for the well-being and effectiveness of both teachers and students. “How important this is to the educator. If it works for the educator, it’s going to work better for the students,” he emphasized.
With the ongoing challenges of a changing post-pandemic world, audio technology is helping teachers build social and emotional learning into their daily practice. Jones said, “Even your tone, even yelling...all the different things they’re teaching kids about how that affects their fellow students and all of that...Perhaps it could be improved if we didn’t have to broadcast our voice.” He stressed that the tone, volume, and inflection all play a role in how students can access instruction in the classroom - “Just being able to create a nurturing conversation in a room, making sure that all those voices are heard when it’s their turn.”
To hear the rest of this captivating podcast on the value of sound equity in the classroom, click here: Sound Equity in the Modern Classroom.