Wireless Learning with Infrared

6th in a series of articles about multimedia players

The increasing use of infrared technologies is benefiting whole classroom audio amplification systems as well as individual and small group learning centers. While there are other wireless technologies such as UHF and VHF radio frequencies applied to portable and installed sound systems, infrared media players are practical and very accommodating for individual use and by a group of students.

Infrared technology eliminates the need for wired headphones (that would be plugged directly into the media player) and consequently avoids the potential for tangled cords which children could trip over. Not having to repeatedly replace cords (from being chewed on) or damaged headphones (from falls) means no down class time and is therefore more cost-effective. (Wireless learning centers that come with multiple wireless infrared headphones are the 2395IRPLC-6 or the 3432IR-PLC.)


“I use the 2395IR to help my K-6 students with their reading fluency,” shared the librarian at Eagle River Elementary School, in Eagle River, AK

Infrared products operate in line-of-sight mode which means that there cannot be a visual obstruction between the source and its destination. When using an infrared media player such as the Music Maker™ 2395IR multimedia player/recorder or the 3432IR cassette player/recorder, students can put on the matched 34B-IR infrared headphones for use with either player. Having multiple headphones enhances differentiated learning and fosters a comfortable classroom environments, much like connecting multiple headphones via a jackbox can do – only without the jackbox or wired headphones. As the use of learning centers relies more on wired or wireless computer-based learning, students still feel at ease using in their labs for reading activities and other learning applications.

“We use the Infrared Music Maker with our Kindergarten students because they are able to use the wireless headphones independently. We tried using wired headphones, but they were constantly tangled together and required alot of supervision,” shared Stephanie Marino, of Wren Hollow Elementary in Manchester, MO.

When using wireless infrared headphones, the optimal student placement is to gather them around the media player in a 15’ (maximum) semi-circle formation so there’s a clear line-of-sight path between the media player and the headphones. Make sure they don’t put their hands to the earcups as this too can block reception. As long as students remain within the unobstructed 15’ range, they will continue to receive the audio signal.


The 35IR headphone nurtures independence with cord-free comfort for computer-based activities.

Creating scenarios where students cooperatively work with an infrared media player provides the convenience of having them learn their lessons simultaneously and cultivates teamwork without the distraction of headphone cords.

While the 34B-IR headphones are dedicated for use with 2395IR & 3432IR, the wireless infrared 35IR-USB headphones can be used with any audio source that has a USB port. Simply plug its infrared transmitter to the USB port and it will send out its signal to students who are wearing these headphones within its 5’ transmission range. These too are available as a wireless computer listening center for multiple students (comes with a single transmitter for each package of four headphones). In computer labs with a low ratio of computers to students, these headphones are ideal for small group use.

If you have a larger group of listeners and or they need to be further away from the transmitter, Califone also offers Wireless Listening Systems that uses VHF based frequencies. With a transmission range of at least 100’+ and has no limit for the number of listeners, these are ideal for translation activities for back to school nights for example. There are three available frequencies which can all be used at the same time with no interference.

Read the next in the series or read the previous article


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