The New Sound of Classroom Instruction is Portable PA System

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Portable public address system is enhancing instruction and improving academic achievement.

The wireless headset allows me the freedom to move about the classroom and grab the attention of my students

The difficulties a teacher faces in the classroom are usually addressed by improving methods of instruction, attention to the individual needs of students, and classroom management. One of the most significant technical developments in recent years to help with each of these has been the use of the portable PA system to maximize the listening and learning opportunities in the classroom.

According to research by Dr. Mark Ross and Dr. Harry Levitt in an article that first appeared in Volta Voice, titled Classroom Sound-Field Systems, notes there are over fifty studies testifying to the efficacy of public address systems in the classroom. "Children in the amplified classrooms attain higher speech perception and spelling scores, attend to the teacher for longer periods of time, and score higher on academic achievement tests than children in non-amplified classrooms."

The rationale behind a portable PA system for classrooms is simple, according to Ross & Levitt. "The purpose of the system is to ensure that the teacher's voice is clearly audible above the background sounds at all instructional locations within the room. Research has shown that in the average classroom, the teacher's voice usually arrives at the children at a level only 6 dB or so above the background sounds. The extra 8 or 10dB of amplification provided by a classroom sound field system is sufficient to ensure a more suitable speech to noise ratio."

Public address systems, however, vary widely in their quality and adaptability. Earlier systems would occasionally hiss or operate with abrupt changes in volume--frustrating to teachers and a distraction to learning. Additionally, they were commonly cumbersome, and required complex set-up and sound checks by skilled technicians often operating a mixing board.

To handle the demands of modern schools and classrooms, manufacturers such as Anchor Audio in Torrance, CA, have produced a new generation of affordable portable public address systems designed to be flexible, long-lasting, powerful and simple to use, while maintaining a consistently high level of clarity and sound quality.

Teachers appreciate that a portable PA system can save them from straining their voices. Many have reported that at times over the course of their careers, vocal strain had caused them to miss work or impaired their effectiveness as a teacher.

Sandra Prewitt, a teacher in the Sanger Academy Charter School District in California, considers the Anchor Audio portable PA system indispensable. "I have damaged vocal chords that become very irritated when my allergies act up. This causes my voice to become very raspy. Usually by 8:00 p.m. I am at a complete whisper. I have enjoyed using this unit because I am able to speak in a soft voice and the students can still hear me. When I go home my voice does not feel tired and I'm able to enjoy conversations at home."

Nancy Penny, a third grade teacher also at Sanger Academy, uses an Anchor Audio AN-130 PA system in her classroom. "The wireless headset allows me the freedom to move about the classroom and grab the attention of my students," she says. "Using the portable public address system has saved my voice from the strain I put on it."


Anchor Audio, Inc.

Debbie Lombard

Phone: (310) 784-2300

Fax: (310) 784-0066


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Heather Metcalfe
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