Ah, the wonders of technology. It’s funny now to think that picking up the phone to speak to someone seems like a lifetime ago. It wasn’t that long ago either that a certain phone company’s slogan was “Reach out and touch someone.” Fast forward to present day and technology is to today’s students what touch tone phones were to the rotary kind – innovative.
One of the more creative applications today is the ability to expand learning opportunities beyond the immediate four walls of the classroom. Partnering with schools in other countries and distance learning programs first mushroomed with the assistance of improved headphones and headsets. Then along came Skype and its potential to close achievement gaps. Mix in the ability to add video so you can Skype with a document camera and the possibilities are endless. Hook up the computer to the upgraded Installed Infrared Audio System and students can be on their way to talking with several students all over the world or as close as a group in another classroom for distance learning. Connect a cable from the audio out on the computer (MAC and PC-based) to either the AUX1 or AUX2 inputs on the infrared system so that any audio being transmitted through the computer will be audible through your choice of either the non-powered field array or ceiling speakers.
In order for the audience on the other side of the computer to not only see the students, if using a webcam or video conferencing system, but also hear students responding, they can use either a computer microphone connected directly to the computer or use one of the two infrared mics which accompany the infrared system. Students can speak into either one to be able to communicate with their peers to further expand their knowledge and learning by keeping in contact through this technology. By attaching a cable from the line out on the infrared system to the computer’s line in, the back and forth communication can be endless and beneficial, especially if students are learning about another culture or are discovering historical or scientific data.