Amplify Learning Series: Understanding how SMART Audio works (part 2)
Our first post in the series detailed the specific benefits of the system, and today, we are going to talk the components that make up the system, and how teachers and students would typically use it in their classroom.
The sum of its parts
Speakers – You can choose to install either four wall- or ceiling-mounted speakers for your classroom. Each speaker is 15-watt RMS.
Room module – This ceiling-mounted device is the amplifier which houses the infrared sensor for the microphone signal. This module enables you to activate external devices, such as blinds or panic alarms, by connecting to room control systems, and also allows a school’s intercom system to broadcast through the system’s four speakers through its paging input.
Wireless infrared microphone – This lightweight (3 oz) microphone can be worn on your belt, a lanyard or held in your hand. It’s equipped with volume controls, including mute, a rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, a protective silicone sleeve and a charging cradle. You can use the microphone’s line input to connect an MP3 player and amplify its sound, and also use its external microphone input. The microphone’s programmable button will allow you to interface with room control systems.
Control unit – The control unit features USB connectivity to your computer, the system’s power button and power supply, two auxiliary inputs and one auxiliary output. It connects to the room module via a Cat5 cable and mounts on the wall next to your SMART Board interactive whiteboard.
Optional accessories – Choose from a variety of accessories and components for the system, including optional headset and lavaliere microphones or external infrared expansion sensors that increase the microphone coverage for larger or specially-configured classrooms.
SMART Audio also seamlessly integrates with SMART Notebook software so you can control all of your audio with one touch. A SMART Audio icon appears in SMART Notebook toolbar when the system is connected to your SMART Board interactive whiteboard. You can easily adjust volume within the software on up to five audio inputs – whether it’s audio from your computer, your DVD player, MP3 player or second microphone.
Watch this Scholastic video interview with Stephen Yao from SMART to see the system in action.
How it works
To use the system, simply turn on the infrared microphone – the room module will automatically detect it and start working. You can wear the microphone while you are providing instruction, attach your iPod to broadcast a podcast or song, or pass the lightweight microphone to a student for their input into the lesson.
When you open SMART Notebook software, touch the SMART Audio icon for instant access to the volume control options. If you wanted to play a video or audio file from within SMART Notebook, the system will amplify the sound through the classroom. Alternatively, you can access the SMART Audio volume controls from the Windows Start menu or Mac Applications folder.
You can also connect the SMART Audio system to your school’s existing infrastructure to broadcast school-wide announcements.
Up next: The next post in the Amplify Learning series will discuss SMART Audio’s integration with SMART Notebook software, and offer some great audio and video resource websites that can be easily incorporated into your lessons.