ACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Bibb County School District plans to put cameras in every middle school and Veterans Elementary next year.
Ballard-Hudson Middle School tested the new audio/visual system this year. Teachers received their classroom cameras and speakers in October.
It took some time for 6th grade teacher Doneshia Gordon to get used to her new accessory.
“When it first came in, it was very hard to remember to put it on, to charge it before you leave. I even got to the point where I was like I don’t even need this mic! You can hear me,” said Gordon as she gestured to the teardrop shaped microphone hanging from her neck.
The new teaching tool is now a staple in Gordon’s daily routine.
“It’s called audio enhancement and what ends up happening is there are speakers in our room so it enables [students] to be able to hear better,” explained Gordon.
She said it’s especially helpful for students who sit in the back of large classrooms.
“Some students can’t hear if you have a lot of students talking, if you’re trying to get everyone quiet. When they start hearing you through the speakers it’s like oh, okay, I can hear everything she’s saying,” said Gordon.
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Audio volume is an essential element in effective, quality communication and classroom instruction, therefore it is a critical component as we are educating our students in our classroom environments. Inadvertent behaviors such as turning ones back to write on a board, reading a difficult passages or classroom distractions often have a negative impact to the quality of verbal communication. In order to ensure the quality of communication and address inadvertent negative impacts, we are in the process of implementing the use of Audio Enhancement Classroom sound system this school year. We are already seeing a positive impact; one such example comes from Ms. Lackey from Hyman Elementary: “Even though it took some getting used to, I now use my microphone daily. This helps keep my students focused and keeps me from having to raise my voice”. We also have reports from teachers that the use of the system assists them with their classroom management. Learn more on the benefits of classroom sound on Audio Benefits Montage.
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One Bibb middle school is piloting a program that would bring overhead cameras to every classroom. It might look like an ordinary middle school classroom, but there’s something looming up above.
“It’s not like a Big Brother thing. I felt that way initially, but not anymore,” Ballard-Hudson Sixth grade English teacher Maya Boston said. She’s talking about the new camera and audio enhancement system that’s now a part of her regular day.
“It’s a great tool to monitor growth of students and develop teachers,” Boston said.
All a teacher has to do is push the record button on their microphone and then, instantly, a video starts recording of their lesson, a discipline problem, or an emergency situation.
“Teachers give me access if I request it, so I can assist them by looking in and seeing some things they may not be seeing because their backs are turned as they’re delivering instructions,” Principal Eclan David said. He said along with the cameras the audio amplifiers make sure each student can hear the teacher.
“I don’t have to use my teacher voice anymore. I can simply talk in a comfortable tone, and all I have to do is press this button, and now my voice is amplified and everyone can hear me at the same decibel,” Boston said.
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…A simple law of physics that we do not realize as teachers is that the further away a student is from the teacher, the less the student hears. Add to this fact the reality that classrooms are inherently noisy — especially if you have the “easy to clean and maintain” tile floors — due to ambient noises, such as air conditioning, computer fans, buzzing florescent lights, hallway noises, and vehicle noises from outside. Let’s not forget the inescapable people noises of scratching, shuffling, crumpling, talking, and tapping.
I wear an infrared microphone that picks up my voice and amplifies it to speakers in the ceiling. I can walk around the whole classroom and be confident that the students on the other side of the room can still hear me. Students hear the instructions clearly and do not have to ask their peers what was said. I have seen an increase in student recall and performance simply because of students being able to hear better.
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Gary Shattuck thought he knew a bad idea when he heard one. In 2011, Shattuck, the director of technology and media services for Newton County Schools in Covington, Georgia, put microphones on some of his teachers to see if amplifying their voices improved instruction. It did, and it created a bigger impact than he or his colleagues had ever imagined. But when a partner of the 23-school district suggested Newton raise the bar on its experiment by adding video cameras to classrooms, Shattuck’s first reaction was “No way”—teacher concerns ranged from privacy and vanity issues to worries about being disciplined for every misstep.
With less than a month left in the school year, Shattuck agreed to a small pilot. The results surprised him. Teachers—who had been given total control over what to record and whom to share the videos with—were amazed by the differences in their classes, mentioning specifically how discipline changed for the positive.
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RENO, NV– In 2010, Wooster High School in Reno implemented a new audio enhancement system designed to help hard of hearing and deaf students by placing speakers in all the classrooms. The system cost $126,000 and was funded by state bonds.
Teachers also wear an egg-shaped microphone around their necks to broadcast their lessons.
“The first thing I thought that was the weirdest thing I have ever seen,” said Chad Coley, math teacher, Wooster High School. “After the first or second period I was so glad I had this thing because my voice isn’t tired and it has just helped immensely.”
Kyl Garrick is deaf and the audible enhancement system can still give him signals to help in his studies.
“For example if I am working and I am paying attention to my work at the table and the teacher starts talking or something, the kids will look up but I won’t notice it,” said Garrick. “But, if I hear with the audio enhancement then I can look up and notice the language access from the interpreter.”
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…The 200,000-square-foot building boasts a two-story fitness facility with 14 basketball hoops, an auditorium with a full cable rigging system and an infrared audio enhancement system for teachers that automatically hooks up to speakers in the classroom.
One of the hardest parts of the process was convincing teachers of the vision, according to Hart, who said it took “hard conversations and leaps of faith” to get to opening day.
The design choices aren’t just aesthetic, according to Canyons spokesman Jeff Haney. He noted that 50 percent of the school’s students are from low-income homes.
“For them to walk into this school and know that we’ve invested in their education — that’s important,” Haney said.
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Noisy classes don’t usually make the news, but in this case, they have. Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown, Maryland received a grant from Audio Enhancement. With the new classroom audio systems in place, the students could hear their teachers better. Additionally, the classrooms next to the lunchroom were able to overcome the distracting noises because the systems improved their learning environment. Watch how the Audio Enhancement systems made a difference in this Maryland school.
…In April, Superintendent Gary Mathews reviewed survey data from the 24 teachers and 2,762 students learning and teaching in the audio-enhanced classrooms. Of the students surveyed, 90% reported that “it is easier to hear my teacher when he/she uses the audio sound system.” 85% respoanded yes when asked if “my teacher’s voice is loud and clear with the 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], can you hear him/her with the sound system?” Finally, when students were asked if they “liked having my teacher use the sound system in our classroom,” 78% responded yes. Of Newton’s teachers, 90% responded yes to “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. When asked “Do students stay on task more often with few reminders using audio enhancement,” 96% responded yes. When asked “Are students more engaged in classroom discussions,” 83% of our teachers said yes since the introduction of audio enhancement. Prior to audio-enhanced classrooms, a mere 8% said yes.
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Ron Clark, co-Founder of the Ron Clark Academy located in Atlanta, GA has released his new book, “The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck– 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers”. The book serves as guidance for parents who want more for their children, teachers who need strategies for helping students achieve success, and communities who hope to improve education of our next generation. This book is available in stores beginning July 26, 2011. We are proud supporters of the Ron Clark Academy. The revenue from book sales will help support RCA’s educator training program and scholarships for Ron Clark Academy students. To purchase Ron Clark’s latest book, visit his website or purchase on Amazon.com.