School Beat – August 6, 2009

Audio, visual enhancements to be installed

by PETER YOUNG
Director of Technology
Rockford Public Schools

Students learn better when teachers support a variety of learning styles. To provide that opportunity for teachers, multi-media projectors and sound amplification systems will be installed this summer in classrooms to enhance the visual and audio learning experience. These classroom enhancements are made possible by the funds provided by the millage renewal bond from the spring of 2008.

Currently, a teacher’s computer screen is projected onto a 32” TV monitor mounted in the corner of most classrooms. These are being replaced with new ceiling mounted multi-media projectors that can project whatever is on the teacher’s computer onto a large eight-foot screen. The new projectors will also include a sound system that will amplify whatever audio programs are being used on the teacher’s workstation. This will allow all students to see and hear what is being shown from all corners of the room.

Projectors can be used in many ways to share information with students. They can encourage group participation by projecting live video of experiments or lab work, or by viewing image-intensive websites suitable for class discussion, or allow a student to display their own presentations to the rest of the class. These multimedia projectors are perfect for this generation’s visually oriented youth because they help make abstract concepts easier to understand and remember.

In addition to the projector installation, all classrooms from kindergarten through eighth grade will be receiving classroom audio technology systems. With this new technology, the teacher wears a wireless microphone that is connected to a sound amplification system, which allows his or her voice to be heard evenly throughout the classroom above other background noise. There are many benefits to this for both teachers and students. While not actually making the classroom louder, the teacher can use a quieter tone of voice and still be heard and understood, while not getting fatigued by the end of the day. The bottom line is that both students and teachers benefit by both hearing and being heard during instruction time.

Both of these new technologies are exciting innovations in teaching tools that will provide an improvement in student attention and participation, enthusiasm and motivation for learning, and ultimately increasing understanding and performance in an optimum learning environment. Combining these tools with our new workstations that were installed last summer will make Rockford’s classroom technology one of the best in the area.

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