RYAL SCHOOL IN RURAL Oklahoma is unique. Serving grades pre-K through 8, its population is almost 90 percent Native American and 100 percent of their students qualify for free and reduced lunches. With this comes certain distinct challenges, but they also face the same hurdle that every school faces: increasing test scores. In 2010, Ryal was outfitted with Audio Enhancement systems in every classroom, allowing the students to hear their teachers more clearly. They continue to experience the benefits of sound enhancement today, including reduced teacher vocal fatigue and absenteeism. The Audio Enhancement component was a crucial part of the strategy to increase student performance.
Newton County Schools released their research findings on Audio Enhancement in the classroom. Here is an excerpt of the study:
“In April of 2011, 24 teachers and 2,762 students responded to a district survey—completed anonymously—regarding their exposure to an audio-enhanced classroom.
Of our students, 90% responded that “it is easier to hear my teacher when he/she uses the audio sound system.” 85% responded yes when asked if “my teacher’s voice is loud and clear with the sound system.” 76% responded yes when asked if the sound system helped them listen better. 88% responded yes to the question, “When my teacher is writing on the board [with back turned], I can hear him/her with the sound system?” Finally, when asked if they “liked having my teacher use the sound system in our classroom,” 78% responded yes.
Of our teachers, 90% responded yes to the question, “Do students focus on instruction well?” Prior to audio enhancement, only 21% said yes. 95% said that students “understand instruction better” using audio enhancement compared to only 22% who thought
so prior to audio enhancement. 88% responded yes when asked, “Do students follow directions well?” Only 21% thought so prior to audio enhancement. When asked “Do students stay on task more often with few reminders using audio enhancement,” 96% responded yes. Prior to audio enhancement, only 23% of teachers felt students stayed on task with few reminders.”
Read the whole study
Students at Ben Milam Elementary are speaking up in the classroom thanks to new technology. It may look like they’re making presentations or singing karaoke, but using a microphone in class is now a regular practice.
Kindergarten, First and Second Grade teachers in 12 classrooms now wear microphones around their necks, projecting their voices through new ceiling speakers. Students also use a hand-held microphone to answer questions and read out loud. Ben Milam Principal Jesse Thomas said the technology keeps kids involved. He said, “If you’ve got a kid that’s reading out loud in a group and then you’ve got another kid across the room, well, anyone whose spent time in a classroom knows if you can’t hear that kid
across the room you just start doing something else you get distracted. That’s no longer a problem”.
The system has only been in place for about six weeks, but teachers say they’ve already seen a difference. First Grade teacher Alyssa Newcomb said, “They remind me to put it on in the morning. I think its easier for them to hear from anywhere in the classroom”. Patricia Robinson also teaches first grade. She said, “It brings out the kids that are really shy, they love getting on there and hearing their voice projected. They will do reading for us and things they normally wouldn’t do because they think its fun”.
On a quiet Tuesday afternoon in Nye County School District, a student’s behavior escalated out of control. He became angry and destructive, tearing down posters, throwing books and upsetting the other students in the classroom. When the substitute teacher was unable to gain control of the child, she realized she needed help. Luckily, the teacher had been equipped with the SAFE System. At the push of a button, the administrative office was notified with a visual and audible alert of the situation and the ceiling-mounted camera began recording the incident. Proper authorities were also notified. Three staff members and a security officer arrived in the classroom within thirty seconds of the alert. They removed the child from the classroom and were able to calm him down as he was escorted to the administrative office. The child’s parents were notified of the incident and, upon arrival to the school, were able to watch the recording and verify exactly what occurred in their child’s classroom. They were supportive of the disciplinary action taken due to their child’s out of control behavior. When the police arrived, the administrators provided video access on their iPads so they were able to view the entire incident.