Page 20 - FIS World June 2021
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Classroom Enhancements
New tech tools for teaching and learning
 A bluetooth microphone allows Upper School English Teacher, Louise Wade, to project clearly, even while wearing an FFP2 mask.
While Covid-19 has forced a new set of rules upon the traditional classroom, so too has it made available space for further innovation around teaching and learning. The examples below highlight just a few of the tech tools that teachers at FIS are using to continue delivering an exceptional education and showcase student learning.
Bluetooth Microphone for Amplified Classroom Sound
Poetry is meant to be read with sensitivity, expression and vocal modulation. I don’t think many poets intended their work to be read from behind an FFP2 mask by a teacher who is straining to be heard at the back of a room. Open doors and windows are great for ventilation, but they don’t help the acoustics.
This year, while I was fortunate to have four groups of students in school while other colleagues were mostly teaching on DLP, it meant I was constantly teaching behind a mask. I found that my voice was straining in some lessons and my throat would be sore by the end of the day. Each evening, I would inspect my red throat in the mirror, check my temperature, and realize it was not Covid-19, just vocal strain. A little research revealed that women aged 40 to 55 are most at risk from developing voice problems as women have smaller larynxes and their vocal cords vibrate more quickly. It turns out vocal strain is an occupational hazard for teachers, made worse by teaching in a pandemic.
I searched “voice amplifiers” online and found (as one always finds online) that I was not alone: many teachers rely on amplifiers to help them reach every student in the room. I had a chat with FIS ICT Director Gareth Brewster and we agreed to trial a possible solution: a Bluetooth microphone. This is something that can continue to be useful after the pandemic when we want to address large groups of people, teachers and students. Our school’s auditorium technician Sebastian Bruch set up the system for me and I found myself in possession of a portable Bluetooth microphone that operates through the classroom speakers. Putting on the lightweight headset, I felt like I’d wandered onto a movie set by accident, but the students and I soon became accustomed to the new arrangement that allows them to hear every word, whether whispered or projected loudly. Now all I have to do is not set the volume too high, so I don’t strain their delicate hearing...
Louise Wade
Upper School English teacher
Sound and Motion Responsive Camera
In this anything but ordinary school year, there is rarely a time when I have 100% of my students in class. Some students may be using the Continuous Learning Plan (CLP) at home, or classes may be split by grade level on alternating days. One solution to better include all students in the live classroom is by using sound- and motion-responsive cameras. The
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