Why Have Sound Systems in Each Classroom? Second in a Series of Blog Posts Highlighting NPS Tech

With the passage of the technology bond, we have been able to install multi-media systems in each classroom.  Last week, I posted some information on document cameras and how the Elmo is used in instruction.  This week, I review why sound systems were purchased and installed over the summer.

NPS installed the Lightspeed sound system along with 4 in-ceiling speakers in each classroom.  In the past, if a teacher stands in front of the room, students in back areas of the classroom may or may not have heard everything that was said.  With the four speakers and the Lightspeed system, the result is that no matter where the teacher is in the room, all students have equal access to the sound.  Teachers wear a small black microphone around their neck (as modeled below by MS Teacher, Ms. Dietz) and the voice is enhanced.  These classroom sound systems are not designed to function necessarily like a P.A. system you might hear in a gym, but to increase the sound of the calm teacher voice so that all may hear.  In other words, when used efficiently, students can hear better without feeling like somebody is ”yelling” into a microphone.

There is a lot of ambient noise in a typical classroom.  Nearby hallway distractions, projector fans, HVAC systems, poor classroom acoustics, and small movements from students can all create excessive “noise” in a learning environment.  A classroom sound system can assist teachers in projecting a “calm” voice and make listening and learning easier for students.

Some research supported reasons to install a sound system in a classroom include the following:  increased on-task behavior, getting & keeping attention, enhanced sentence recognition, fewer requests for repetition, ease of listening, less voice strain & fatigue, increased mobility for instructors, and higher test scores.*

Improving the listening and learning environment in the classroom benefits all of our students.  Thank you to our community for supporting NPS with the technology bond dollars.

Gena Dietz (2)

* Some information taken from www.lightspeed-tek.com

 

What is a Document Camera? First in a Series of Blog Posts Highlighting NPS Tech

In 2011, the Newaygo Community supported a School Improvement Bond for technology.  We have carefully spent some of those funds on technology that can be found in each and every classroom in the district.  The first thing we did was upgrade all teacher desktop computers.  During the summer of 2012, all elementary teacher machines were replaced with a Dell OptiPlex 9010 All-in-One computer.  During Christmas break of 2012-13, all middle school and high school teacher machines were replaced with the same model of computer.  Any existing teacher machine that was suitable to be re-deployed was use to replace older computers in student labs.

One item placed in each classroom last summer is a tool called a Document Camera.  There are many types of document cameras but NPS has the “Elmo” brand.  This tool is connected to a projector where anything placed under the document camera can be projected on a large screen.  Among the things I have observed include using the Elmo to project a class handout, project some text or pictures from a book or selected reading, project student writing samples and work, and demonstrate a new drawing or art technique.  The Elmo makes it possible to eliminate the old style overhead projectors so there is no more trying to make plastic transparencies in a copy machine.  The Elmo also makes it possible to decrease the amount of paper and copies used in classrooms due to the fact that one copy can be projected for all to see.

Elmo Document Camera

Elmo

Document Camera Projected Image

Shown above, a middle school English class collaborates on a reading activity they completed, and the Elmo allows the image to easily be projected for all to see.

Before the Elmo’s were purchased, NPS had a few Document cameras throughout the district.  With the approval of the Technology bond, we now have every classroom equipped with this technology.  Teachers are increasingly finding ways to use this technology to streamline their teaching and lessons.  Thank you to the NPS community for supporting the tech bond and these efforts!