Classroom mics combat construction noise

Noa Braun, Author

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One of the many microphone speakers hangs on the wall of the art room.

– Zoe Greene

Microphones installed in Palo Alto High School classrooms to counter construction noise on campus have elicited mixed reviews from students and staff.

There are 22 microphones on campus, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson. Sixteen of these were installed mid-November and are designated for overcoming construction noise and six are designated for students with hearing impairment.

“The construction ones [microphones] are on the perimeter of the school … starting with [room] 201 in the English building and wrapping around to [room] 706 in the math building,” Berkson said. “So anything that’s along the construction site has one [a microphone].”

Each microphone set includes a transmitter attached to the ceiling, speakers and a headset.

“My Japanese teacher uses it but she rarely uses it because the class is so small,” senior Lauryn Park said. “My art teacher uses it because the art room is basically half the size of the library.” 

“We did [have a hearing impaired student in art class] last year and that’s when she started using it and she kept it because she’s normally a quiet person so it also helped because everyone is really rowdy in the class,” Park said. “I think it’s easier for the teachers especially when the class is getting unruly and they need to quiet down. I think half the time as well the kids don’t hear the teacher and with the microphone they can.”

Senior Ally Kron’s mathematics teacher, Lisa Kim, also uses a microphone.

“Sometimes it’s helpful. I mean the class is really small so it’s not really needed,” Kron said.

Paly chemistry teacher Kelli Hagen utilizes her microphone to assist a student with a hearing impairment.

“I use mine daily — throughout the entire class, lecture, demonstrations, labs,” Hagen said. “We want to make sure that all students have the least restrictive environment in which to learn.”

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