By Boot Bullwinkle:
With the improvements in entertainment quality, surround sound systems have become a luxury enjoyed by many people in their homes. Now this enhanced sound quality is being brought to classrooms around school.
This is the first time that the speakers will be used within a high school setting in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). “There’s a lot of educational research and learning research to support the fact when the surround sound is activated, it increases [students’] attention and focus within class,” Principal Katya Villalobos said. The ambisonic quality makes sure that the student doesn’t miss out on a word that a teacher says. Also, according to Villalobos, the increased sound reduces distractions in the classroom.
[pullquote]The ambisonic quality makes sure that the student doesn’t miss out on a word that a teacher says. Also, according to Villalobos, the increased sound reduces distractions in the classroom.
The speakers have only been placed in three math classrooms so far, as the administration is still testing the effectiveness of the speakers within a high school environment. “Many of the [elementary schools] and middle schools have started to use these sound equalization systems for the past three or four years,” Villalobos said.
The teachers have reported that so far the speaker systems have been useful. “I know teachers like them, because they can talk in a softer voice if they wish,” math teacher Dave Deggeller said. “The students can understand clearly what the teacher is saying, and those in the back can hear just as well as the students in the front.”
With such positive teacher feedback, Villalobos is encouraged by the outcome of the new sound systems. When she went to observe the effects first-hand, Villalobos was impressed. “You could hear the difference,” she said. “There was no delay, the kids were all paying attention, and the sound was all very crystal clear.”
The sound systems coincide with the recent construction projects and the budget allotted for the developments. If they continue to get positive feedback, they will be installed in the future World Language building and Math/English building.
The next step according to Villalobos is to collect student feedback on their opinions of the new speaker systems, and analyze all the different benefits and disadvantages. “I’m just waiting for what the students say,” Villalobos said. “I’ll be willing to try anything, as long as it makes learning better.”