Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Classroom Noise Level Indicator

There has been a bunch of posts and information floating around recently about classroom noise monitors. Free Technology For Teachers had a fantastic article about using an iPad app called Too Noisy to monitor classroom noise. As the post also describes, there is a browser version of the same tool, but the sensitivity of this version is very low. I literally have to yell at the top of my lungs to get this meter to jump about half way, and that is even when my internal microphone settings are adjusted to the most sensitive level.

I prefer using calmCounter.  It has a built in meter to adjust the levels and sensitivity, which automatically adjusts your internal microphone settings. All it does is access a microphone and causes the meter to move in response to the sound level of the classroom. It's a great visual reminder for students to use appropriate voice levels. I teach in an open concept High School. Which means there are not any traditional walls and doors. Classrooms are defined by partitions, and there is always the concern of being too loud for your neighbors.

If you aren't' sold on this tool, a similar tool to calmCounter is BouncyBalls. This tools does the same thing, but the microphone sensitivity is much lower, which means it needs a louder sound to trigger the effect.

These are great visual reminders for students to work at an appropriate sound level.

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