Creating Interactive Classrooms

Polls continue to suggest the role of (audio-related) technology in K-12 classrooms is increasing due in part to the ability of multimedia presentations to hold students’ attention for longer periods of time. But even with the best of intentions, unless the room was planned for this kind of integration, challenges such as the disconnect between video without any audio, low volume, poor sound quality, the inability to connect all of the desired equipment, and even the inability to participate in group teleconferencing can remain. One solution which can create some audio “cohesiveness” is the Infrared Classroom Audio System.

If you’re new to operating an audio amplification system, you may want to refer back to an earlier series of “How To” PA articles, which explains many of the same fundamental operations on the Infrared Classroom Audio system which also appear in other PA gear, specifically the Line In function and the multiple Volume Controls.

The easy to use controls for the system are within its small box, which was designed for wall-mounting in either new construction or remodeling into existing rooms. Installers appreciate the reversible external flanges for flush-mounting or recessing it into a wall. It also has a total of seven possible knock-outs (three on top, two on each of the back and underside panels) to feed wires through to the connecting terminals. Audio delivery is through a choice of two different speakers. The Array Speakers make retro fitting easy and seamless while new construction projects may prefer Ceiling Speakers instead.

Front facing panel of the Infrared Audio System  Inside Panel of the Infrared Audio System

Front facing panel (shown left) is where all of the controls are, while the inside facing panel (right edge of the left photo and full photo on right) is where all of the connections are made.

The  controls are laid out so there’s a front facing panel with all of the day-in and day-out controls readily accessible. The permanent connections, or the ones you’re not apt to connect on a daily basis such as speaker wires, are off to the side on an inside facing panel. So back to the initial question at hand of whether or not you can connect the audio from external sources such as an MP3 Player, a computer, a projector, a DVD Player, or a media player. There are two auxillary (or simply “aux”) inputs on the inside facing panel to accomplish this. One is a 3.5mm jack and the other is an RCA jack. Both could be used at the same time (such as playing background music from an MP3 Player and playing a short tutorial from a connected computer).

The world is becoming a smaller place, thanks in part to the internet. More and more students are connecting with other classes in distant countries for distance learning opportunities. While a video camera will show everyone, now you can also create classroom teleconferencing with the Infrared Classroom Audio System by connecting it to a MAC or PC-based system such as Microsoft® Netmeeting.

“We wanted our Title 1 students to have the same opportunities to learn as everyone else and installing amplifications systems enabled all students to hear their teachers”

The line out feature enables the use of a secondary Assistive Listening System for students with special needs. Students who have speech impairments or learning disabilities also are significantly affected by poor classroom acoustics, similar to those students whose first language is different than the teaching language. All of these students are at an additional risk of struggling academically because they cannot hear what the instructor and other students are saying clearly enough. “We wanted our Title 1 students to have the same opportunities to learn as everyone else and installing amplifications systems enabled all students to hear their teachers,” shared Christie Valenzuela, the Title 1 Coordinator for J.D. Lever Elementary School in Aiken County, South Carolina. The district decided that one way to meet students needs would be to install an amplification system in each classroom so that students seated near the back of the class could hear the teacher just as well as students near the front.

Enhanced audio helps teachers and students everywhere. With enhanced sound, connected video and animation, students become more involved as the demand for the Infrared Classroom Audio Systems increases.

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Helping teachers and students with educationally appropriate classroom AV equipment since 1947.