More than public address – the benefits of audio in education

Håkan Hansson

The use of audio throughout schools – from public address to a support for learning – can help in every aspect of education, from the school gate to the classroom.

Traditional audio systems in schools have, been dispersed; one system is implemented for public address and another for visual or media use within an educational institution. To ensure optimum efficiency in schools, there now exist combined systems, which incorporate network offerings along with new opportunities to be considered. However the evolution of network audio technology in recent years has augmented and enhanced this traditional function, and allowed for use throughout the entire school campus in a more efficient way.

At Thorndon Primary School in New Zealand, the network audio system has changed the way the school now communicates with its students. They have tailored messages and sounds that have created a more positive environment for students and teachers (full story).

Ultimate flexibility in public address

The need to broadcast messages to students and teachers throughout the school is still a key function of audio in education, and the principle use of audio in education. Through scheduled announcements signifying the start and finish of the school day, breaks or calling students to assembly, public address plays a central role in the structure of the day and the smooth operations of the school.

Smart zoning, brings added functionality to public address, allowing administrators to target announcements to specific areas of the school, for instance a specific scheduled announcement in a specific zone, such as the library will close in 15 minutes. With network audio it is easy to change both the zones and the content anytime, as needed.

At an even more specific level, if needing to relay a message to an individual teacher or student, the school administrator would be able to target their announcement to a specific classroom, or area of the school such as the cafeteria, gymnasium, hallway or playground. And administrators themselves are less tied to the front office than previously, through the ability to make audio announcements via a suitably enabled phone or mobile device.

In the unfortunate event of an emergency – and whether it requires an evacuation or lock-down – pre-recorded announcements can give clear, calming instructions that will prevent confusion and panic, and ensure that teachers and students alike take the most appropriate action to remain safe and secure.

Network audio as a learning tool

While the benefits of network audio in public address described above are fundamental to the daily workings of the school, its use within the classroom is where additional value can be delivered in improved learning.

Of course, audio in the classroom is not new: since the audiocassettes of the 1970s audio has been an extremely valuable method for capturing and presenting information and engaging students. Audio provides a quick, cost-effective alternative to text for connecting with students.

Network audio also allows more interactive content to be implemented, increasing the scope of resources that can be used to teach children. By adding audio capabilities to public announcement systems in schools, teachers can use devices such as laptops, tablets or smartphones to amplify class lectures and broadcast streamed media through the classroom’s speakers. Audio can also be used to play music in media centers, hallways, and cafeterias.

However, even though this audio uses the same speakers as the public address system, it is possible to implement overrides so the class does not miss out on hearing important messages that are being broadcast. A tiered solution makes sure that any messages that are classed as important supersede and play over the audio coming from the portable device.

The increasingly valuable role of audio in education

Audio is a powerful and cost-effective tool for the efficient operation and management of the school and student improvement and safety, and with all-in-one devices is simple to implement than ever before. With modern audio network systems, it is easy and cost-effective to update and add units to your solution as your needs change. Network audio also allows you to take control of the entire audio system from a single point via an intuitive interface and know that is fully working.

Whether in the classroom, the corridors, the canteen or playground, network audio has a key role to play in the safety, happiness and education of our children.

You can find out more about Axis solutions for education here, and the audio technology and solutions here.