VANCOUVER—Children at nine schools across the country got the chance to try out the latest in wireless sound technology on Tuesday, National Show and Tell Day.
Participating classrooms demonstrated how microphones in the classroom can enable students to better hear the teacher, build their confidence, and keep them engaged.
For the event, children brought in something of personal value to show, or shared an interesting story using the microphone, while teachers talked about how sound technology benefits both teachers and students.
“It’s really interesting because it’s something that you don’t realize how effective it is in getting children’s attention, in getting children to sustain attention. It’s certainly effective,” said Cheryl page, principal of Joyce Public School in Toronto.
Paige introduced the microphones, which enhance sounds in speech pattern and tones, into every classroom of her school two years ago.
“It empowers the quiet child, and encourages turn-taking because they pass it around,” said Paige. “This is a talking stick that allows them to speak and to articulate clearly so everyone hears them.”
Teachers at Joyce, which has a high percentage of English language learners, are using the sound technology to articulate phonetic sounds that cannot normally be heard in the classroom.
“This is particularly powerful in a school like this,” said Paige.
“What it does is it enables children to acquire language in the best possible way. You acquire a language by hearing it, by engaging in it. If you don’t hear it accurately, it is a deficit to the acquisition of it.”
The mics, which can be used by both teachers and students, are small and light. Teachers use a pendant microphone, leaving their hands free, and the children can hear no matter which way the teacher is facing.
The sound system also helps teachers reduce the stress on their voices, which are in use virtually non-stop five hours a day throughout the school year.
Studies show that the background noise in the average classroom is 60 dB. That effectively covers up the teacher’s voice, since conversational speech is about 60 dB.
Grade one children need a speech-to-noise ratio of 15.5 dB to understand what the teacher is saying, which means teachers must speak 15.5 dB louder than the background noise.
“If teachers have [the microphones], it reduces the stress. It makes it easier,” said Paige.
The Show and Tell event kicked off a video contest sponsored by FrontRow, the Mississauga, Ontario-based company that manufactures the microphones. Teachers must show how they are using the sound technology in the best possible way to foster student participation, presentation, or public speaking. The winning school will receive thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment.
For teachers who don’t already have the microphones, FrontRow is offering a free 45-day trial period.
For more information about the contest visit http://gofrontrow.com/showandtell