Mic up


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Microphone usage is common in classroom teaching elsewhere; will it make a difference in Sioux Falls?

Gabe Schmit, Staff Writer

Long past is the time of the class that cannot be spoken over.

The SFSD’s long-running program to install in-class microphone systems has finally come into action at LHS. The program, which was funded before the pandemic, was aimed at providing a better sound system and speaking tools for teachers who had a hard time talking over their students. Due to aftershocks of funding, only recently have several schools in the district, including LHS, have gotten access to the technology, which was installed in classrooms around the school several weeks prior.

The district has chosen Audio Enhancement’s “Mini Classroom System,” which can integrate directly into existing infrastructure that existed before the removal and subsequent replacement of SMARTBoard technology that was deprecated after the software was installed was discontinued. Using either a handheld or neck-bracable microphone, users of the system can now voice themselves easily without the need for an irritated throat from excess hollering. In addition, a second (or sometimes third, with some classes in LHS’s A300 hallway) set of ceiling-mounted speakers has been installed alongside the original pair used by the projector previously, which once again grants the classroom computer systems used by teachers the ability to play over the wall mounted speakers instead of the ones integrated into the ViewBoard, which were both hard to hear and of poor audio quality, especially to those who had to use them in larger classrooms. 

As part of being a universal implementation in all SFSD classrooms, this raises some concerns about funding reasonableness. With an estimated system costing an upwards of $150,000 per school, these systems are nowhere near cheap; despite this, these systems are being installed in classrooms that would otherwise not need any sort of audio assistance. Although their functionality as a relay to connect the audio from school computers to speakers, the primary purpose behind this becomes lost as the application becomes less clear. 

Regardless of application, students can expect a very clear (and audible) future for their learning experiences at LHS, and at schools across the Sioux Falls area.