10 Tips for Successfully Implementing Instructional Audio in Your Classrooms
By Lisa Parker, VP of Marketing at Lightspeed Technologies
Ensuring teachers and staff can effectively meet the unique needs of students and families —and equipping them with proven tools to do so—is essential.
More than just a “nice to have,” instructional audio is a simple, easy-to-implement tool that can help K-12 leaders better meet the needs of students, teachers and staff.
From whole-class audio systems systems to support small group learning, there’s a wide range of options available on the market. Here are ten tips to help you pick solutions that best fit the needs of your school or district.
- Focus on teacher simplicity. Teachers have access to countless technology platforms, and too much tech can quickly lead to fatigue. As you’re considering instructional audio solutions, seek out solutions that will be easy, require minimum training, and are user-friendly for all your teachers to use daily.
- Consider your classroom space. There are many features of a classroom that will have an impact on sound and noise—the size of the space, carpeted vs. hard floors, open ceilings vs. drop ceilings. Understanding the nuances of your school’s classrooms is critical to finding the best audio solution for teachers and students.
- Pay attention to wireless frequencies. Depending on the age and type of technology, some classroom audio solutions may cause interference challenges, such as amplifying a teacher’s voice in another classroom or conflicts with other wireless frequencies. Make sure you’re using a solution that operates on DECT technology to avoid these issues.
- Think through your technology integrations. Majority of the visual technologies used in classrooms have speakers and other audio components—but often, the quality is lacking or is not optimized for intelligibility. When creating the most effective listening environment for learning, consider how instructional audio systems can integrate and support all the audio utilized in the classroom and select a solutions that allows for a wholistic approach.
- Address any needs related to hybrid learning. Any audio solution you select for your classrooms should be equipped to support students who are learning in-person, as well as those who might be participating remotely. Conversely, it’s important for students at home to be amplified in the classroom, so they can be heard by their peers.
- Amplify student voice. Seek out instructional audio solutions that offer ways for students to be heard, especially when classes are particularly interactive. For example, having easy-to-use student microphones increases student collaboration and participation, even amongst students who may be more hesitant to speak up in class.
- Review installation options. Some classroom audio solutions require installation; others are as easy as placing a system on a bookshelf. Consider which type works best for your district’s to balance needs, budget and resources. Do you have a district or site resource to install the audio or will you need to account for an outside resource when considering your overall budget?
- Evaluate or trial a solution before purchase. It’s one thing to be told a solution is great—it’s another to have the chance to test it out for yourself. At Lightspeed, we have a standard 45-day trial to provide your teachers the opportunity to try the technology and provide their feedback on what solution works best for their needs.
- Understand budget and funding options. Many types of funding opportunities exist to help classrooms implement instructional audio systems, whether at the school site, district, community, state or federal level. Many schools have used ESSER funds and Title 1 funding to invest in instructional audio, as there’s a strong correlation between academic achievement and audio technology. Solutions can start at at a price similar to a teacher laptop, but we recommend speaking with a companies’ representative to help identify the best solution for your district.
- Look for a provider with a warranty and excellent support. Always make sure to ask about the company’s warranty and support package. An industry standard for these solutions is typically five years, and that covers not only the microphones but the speakers and the amplifiers. Also, inquire if there’s live support for teachers and tech teams and what type of advance replacement option are available.
In modern learning environments, instructional audio is a “must-have”
The positive impact of instructional audio systems on learning can’t be understated. There are measurable benefits for every student—from speech perception improvement and increased communication with peers and teachers to gains in educational achievement, including literacy, reading fluency, listening comprehension, and reading vocabulary.
When students can hear their teachers and can respond accordingly, lessons come to life, doors are opened, and a lifelong love of learning is created.
To learn more about the impact of instructional audio on student achievement and teacher effectiveness, download the eBook Improving Student Learning Through Clear, Intelligible Sound.