Remember being in school, sitting at your desk in the middle of the class listening to the teachers voice volume fluctuate as they turned and walked about the classroom? You lean in a bit more but still words escaped and instructions misinterpreted causing many of my classmates to shrug their shoulders. The school environment at that time worked within the boundaries afforded to them, and students performed to their best within those settings.
Today we live in tech times it is unescapable. Everywhere we go, everything we use; our technological gadgets help improve our lives by reminding us to go to the grocery store, it keeps track of our daily steps and even improves our education experience’s. With so much emphasis on schooling and thrusting our children to reach their full potential, technology in the classroom to enhance student learning has become essential to the end goal.
In Canada, we are lucky to have school boards that align with parental educational objectives as they continue to bring technology into the classroom like TOA Canada Corporation’s (TOA Canada) Infrared Wireless classroom voice-lift system. School administrators acknowledge that if students do not hear the teacher clearly and intelligibly they typically will not raise their hand to ask the teacher to repeat what they said. The voice-lift system eliminates the need for teachers to reiterate with the help of its strategic sound dispersion advantage. The infrared wireless speaker’s wide-dispersion, uniform sound quality envelops the classroom creating a clear voice field. It has the ability to bring all the students to identical listening levels, capable of hearing every word the instructor says no matter which direction they are facing. Imagine, no more excuses from your child that they did not hear what the teacher said and were not aware of any assignments.
With schools mitigating their budgets to adapt to the new technology, experts have affirmed sound level expansion works. Take this from Speech-Language & Audiology Canada; “Classroom audio distribution systems (CADS), formerly known as sound field amplification systems, should be used, when appropriate, to achieve clearer speech signals (Larsen & Blair, 2008). With these systems, the signal level is greatly improved since only the voice at the microphone is amplified, not the background noise.”₁
TOA Canada’s classroom voice-lift system includes the ceiling mounted speaker with 360° infrared sensor for extremely wide pickup and reliable reception, along with a wireless tuner/mixer for sound and volume adjustments and an Assistive Listening Device connection. A teacher’s microphone and battery charger arrives with the equipment and an optional student microphone is available. The Infrared Wireless system, also known as IR-800, delivers coverage for a typical 30’ x 30’ classroom.
The entire system is easy to install only requiring one CAT-5 connection from tuner to speaker reducing classroom downtime. With just a small investment in schools, schoolchildren from K-12 across Canada can benefit from the enriched learning ecosystem.
Developed by TOA Corporation, engineers in Japan manufactured the voice-lift system within stringent quality guidelines that included using high quality parts, relentless functionality improvements and intense equipment testing. The voice-lift system has created a strong following globally and especially in Canada. Our nation is a leader is the purchase and distribution of TOA Canada infrared classroom system. Stan Travnik an Assistant Principal in Western Canada says; “The TOA system is very easy to use, gives greats sound clarity our teachers use it daily and are very happy with the system. We use it in several area’s including the library, classrooms and our foyer when we hold assemblies. If we had to buy new voice amplification systems, we would choose TOA again, wonderful product.”
In late 2019, TOA Canada released a second version of the infrared voice-lift system to augment not replace the original system. The new IR-800Plus still delivers the same uniform high quality sound; however, the new system allows for multiple configurations with varying amounts of microphones and capable of working in larger classrooms or other bigger areas. For greater student involvement, up to four microphones per system can occur with an added piece of equipment. One advantageous function of the new IR-800Plus system is when configured to work in a combined larger space with two speakers and that room is then separated into two spaces by a divider wall the system will work independently in both spaces. Multiple configurations are possible with varying microphone and speaker options, its ideal for the new way of learning.
Looking back at my time in school, it would have been a definite game changer for myself and other students if the lessons were broadcast more clearly, while retaining the attention of the students more successfully. TOA Canada’s classroom voice-lift system delivers on its promise of enhanced learning and offers school boards an easy to use, affordable, and a highly effective system, it is time to make the change.
- SAC position paper on Classroom Acoustics, May 2019