Technology @ High Point, vol. 12
Tech for teaching and learning in our new space
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This Week's Tech Feature:
TeachLogic Classroom Audio Distribution System
Imagine trying to listen to a presentation in a large room with the presenter attempting to project her voice, but you cannot clearly hear them. If you added a Classroom Audio Distribution System (CADS) system to this scenario, you would understand the speech of the presenter better and with less listening effort. With face coverings and greater physical distance, everyone is struggling to hear and understand speech. The challenge is compounded by any competing sound, such as other people talking, heating/air conditioning units, and other extraneous noise in the environment. When a teacher uses a CADS, his or her voice is amplified and distributed equally to all the students in the classroom.
Benefits of CADS:
- Reduce vocal strain and fatigue of the teacher
- Reduce auditory fatigue and improve attention of the learner
- Improve auditory access to instruction for ALL learners (need to consider compatibility with specific hearing assistive technology used by students who are deaf or hard of hearing)
- Reduce classroom stress and behavior problems
- Improve classroom participation, interaction, and learning
Each classroom at High Point is equipped with a TeachLogic CADS. This includes 2 Sapphire wireless microphones that send signals to the IR receiver in the ceiling (you can see this black circle in the center of your classroom ceiling) and an amplifier behind your BenQ board which controls sound for the Sapphire mics and the BenQ board.
Here is a picture of the wireless Sapphire microphone in the charging base you will find in the cupboard in your classroom.
Who is it for?
- Use of the Sapphire microphones will help students with hearing impairments to be able to hear the speaker in all areas of the classroom.
- Students who are distractible, may find it easier to focus on a slightly amplified voice.
- Amplifying the teacher's voice means they can speak at a lower volume and reduce voice fatigue.
- Masks muffle a teacher's voice. An amplification system can make it easier to hear even with a mask.
Each classroom has 2 Sapphire microphones that should live in the charging base when not being used. To place the microphones in the charging base, tip them forward slightly and slide down until you feel a click as they engage in the charger. The red charging light on the base will turn on.
Positioning: Use the lanyard around your neck to hold the microphone in place. Use the "Pinky and Thumb" rule... Place the microphone so that when you make an ASL "Y" with your hand, your pinky touches the top of the microphone and your thumb touches your mouth. The mic should sit roughly between your collar bones. This is the ideal distance for microphone placement. This video shows how to position the microphone.
Power: Each Sapphire microphone has a single button on the front. A long press will turn the microphone on and off. A short press will mute and unmute the microphone. The colored light on this button gives you information about your mic:
- No light: power is off
- Solid Blue: Power is on
- Blinking Blue: Mic is muted
- Solid Red when using: Low battery
- Solid Red when charging: Charging in progress
- Solid Green when charging: Battery is fully charged
- Solid Purple: Audio devices connected to the receiver have been quieted
On the left side of the microphone is a jack for an external microphone and a priority switch to choose the external microphone or the Sapphire microphone.
Volume: On the right side of the microphone, there is a slider switch that should be on the "normal" setting as the default. There are two other options for "-3dB" and "-6dB" which will decrease the volume for short periods, if needed. You can also adjust the volume using the "Channel A" and "Channel B" dials on the Forum 232 box behind the BenQ. Your microphones will be marked either "A" or "B" soon by WISD staff so you will know which is which. When adjusting the volume, place your cupped hand over the mic to discourage feedback through the system. The "Comp/Aux" dial on the Forum 232 will adjust the volume on the BenQ board that comes from the speakers in the ceiling.
Microphones will sync with the systems in other classrooms. This could cause problems with your mic syncing with your classroom system when you return. For this reason, wearing your microphone into other classrooms is not recommended.
Here is a video showing the features of the Sapphire microphone.
Charging: For a full charge, leave your Sapphire mic in the charging base for 6-8 hours. This will give you 8-10 hours of use. Be sure the light turns on on the base when you put the mic in the charging base. You should feel a click when the mic is fully seated in the charging base.
Cleaning: This device can be wiped down with disinfecting wipes to clean. Do not immerse in any liquids.
- Sunlight can interfere with the signal going from the mic to the receiver on the ceiling. If you are having troubles with the mic working on a sunny day, try closing your classroom blinds.
- The 2 mics in your classroom need to be on separate channels. If you are experiencing static or poor sound quality, check that one mic is on Channel A and the other is on Channel B. This is a tiny switch inside the battery compartment. You can see how to change the microphone channel in this video.
Tech Support: For help with Assistive Technology, you can contact Jamie Mayo. If you are in the High Point program and need help with general technology, you can put in a CSR Help Desk Ticket or call the Help Desk at 734-994-8100 x 1286. If you are in the Honey Creek program, and need help with general technology, you can contact Jessica P'Simer.
Ideas for Using This Tech in the Classroom
Pass the Mic
Pass a mic around the classroom to allow students to be heard during a class activity such as reading a story out loud or taking their turn in a spelling bee.
Can you hear me now???
Use the Sapphire microphone so all students can hear the teacher speaking throughout the classroom. This does not require that the volume be turned up very loud. It only requires that it be slightly louder so that it can be heard consistently throughout the room. At the correct volume, often the teacher cannot even hear their own amplified voice, but the students will be able to hear it consistently anywhere in the classroom.
Hearing Aid Integration
Personal hearing assistive technology (HAT) can be connected to the output jack near the dial for Assistive Learning on the Forum 232. This will allow students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing to have sound from the amplifier sent directly to their technology for covert access to their teacher's voice.