Blended learning environments bring a variety of both benefits and challenges but what’s most important is delivering a distraction-free lesson for students. Boundary microphones are paving the way to clearer audio for teachers, both in the classroom and from remote locations.
Blended learning, or hybrid learning, is the combination of in-class and out-of-class teaching. While it had been adopted in the UK due to the pandemic, blended learning also provides the opportunity for students to learn at their own pace. Without the one-size-fits-all model of traditional lessons, hybrid learning gives students an element of control over time, place, path, or pace of their classes.
However, without the right technology and equipment, blended learning simply isn’t effective.
Whether a teacher is delivering a class in person or online, clear audio is vital. Sound quality is directly linked to the engagement level of students. By optimising audio quality at the sound source (the teacher), information delivery is improved, the production value is increased, and teachers are more likely to evoke an emotional response.
Even when teaching in the classroom, microphones can help distribute clear audio evenly throughout the classroom. Not only can this help students sitting further away from teachers to be more engaged, but it reduces background noise interruptions.
When delivering a class, there will inevitably be background noise out of the teacher’s control. Not only is it annoying, but it’s disruptive for students. Noises such as ceiling fans, student chatter and moving vehicles would be enough to cause a student to disengage from the lesson. And, while this is an everyday issue for traditional classrooms, hybrid learning gives rise to more potential distractions.
In order to reduce background noise and distractions, teachers can utilise microphones with specific boundary design to deliver their class effectively to both those students in the classroom and those attending virtually. Microphones with a boundary design are designed to focus on sound sources in front of the microphone and eliminate unwanted noise from the back.
Indirect sound, or background noise, is picked up by a microphone when the speaker is further away than the Critical Distance of the microphone. In essence, Critical Distance is the distance at which the reflections and reverberations of a direct sound, equal to or exceed the volume of the direct sound from the sound source.
So, if a speaker is too far away from the microphone, it will sound echoey and the microphone will start to pick up more indirect sounds.
A boundary microphone alleviates this issue as it uses a flat surface to avoid acoustic issues and enhance the audio. As they are also external microphones, they can be placed directly in front of the speaker rather than feet away with the laptop or other device.
In addition, boundary microphones such as the MXL AC-44 use high-quality capsules, components, and circuitry, all tuned for the human voice for clearer audio.
MXL’s AC-44 is a compact USB microphone that delivers crystal clear speech intelligibility while mitigating noise and echoes.
The AC-44 uses MXL’s signature 3 capsule boundary design to enhance direct sounds while mitigating background noise, echoes, and audio distractions. The wide 180-degree cardioid offers excellent pickup, focusing on sound sources in front of the microphone, eliminating unwanted noise from the background, ideal for busy education environments.
With a compact footprint, the MXL AC-44 is an ideal solution for remote workspaces or space-limited desks. Designed with a rugged all-metal frame and durable metal grill, it’s built to withstand the rigour of multiple-use from students and lecturers alike.
Powered by a simple USB-C connection, the MXL AC-44 offers simple plug and play connectivity with no need for a driver or installers. Universal compatibility allows for seamless integration with existing hardware and software. The AC-44 has an additional line-level auxiliary output for recording and capturing purposes.
Overall, the MXL AC-44 is an ideal solution for teachers and students in a hybrid learning environment. Not only is it easily movable but it has a small footprint on desk space and enhances the audio quality of lessons. By actively eliminating background distractions, the MXL AC-44 is the best microphone for hybrid and blended learning.