Technology @ High Point, vol. 12

Tech for teaching and learning in our new space

Fill Your Toolbox!

Well-implemented technology gives classroom staff loads of tools for teaching students with a broad range of learning styles. The time investment in learning new technology will make teaching easier and assist students in advocating for their life-long learning. This newsletter PD is intended to help you learn new technologies at High Point a little bit at a time, slowly filling up your teaching toolbox throughout this chaotic school year.

This Week's Tech Feature:

Simple picture of silver and black Sapphire microphone.

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.

Silver TeachLogic charging base holds one Sapphire microphone as it charges.
Here is the infrared receiver in the center of your classroom ceiling. Your mic will work best if it is within view of this receiver.
Black circle IR receiver mounted on the ceiling.
Here is the Forum 232 amplifier found behind your BenQ board.
Silver Forum 232 control box with one power button and 6 control dials.

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.

Setup Instructions

TeachLogic Quick Start Guide

Sapphire Microphone


Here are the views of each side of the Sapphire Microphone:
3 views of the Sapphire microphone showing each side

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.

How To Wear The Sapphire Pendant 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.

Sapphire Daily Use Video

Maintenance

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.


Troubleshooting:


  • 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