The concept of Soundfield for the classroom is well proven, and is designed to enhance the learning process for pupils and students.
For the young, where the learning process has started (this being one of the skills they are in school to acquire) the benefit of Soundfield is unquestionable as it is totally unacceptable for a pupil to be unable to hear the teacher clearly! Adults can listen more effectively in noisy surroundings, because they have fully developed neural pathways and also the experience to fill in any gaps in the vocal signals they hear, and therefore understand what is being said.
Therefore, the teacher’s voice must be crystal clear and pitched at the same volume throughout the classroom area to ensure equal access to everyone.
Soundfield raises the teachers voice to just above the ambient noise level. As the teacher talks into the hands free wireless microphone (and is therefore free to walk about) their voice is transmitted via loudspeakers located around the room to give uniform audio performance. The transmission from the microphone uses an infra-red (IR) signal, which is confined to the individual room (compared to FM systems where the signal could pass through walls into adjacent rooms causing overspill problems).
Ideally there should be a handheld “pass around” microphone for pupils to use when asking questions. This has the additional benefit of inducing further discipline into the discussion process, since pupils will tend to wait to ask a question.
Over the past 20 years many studies have testified to the benefits of the Soundfield system. Children in these classrooms have reported improved speech perception; they have attained higher scores in spelling tests, have maintained high attention levels and achieve higher academic results than children in non-Soundfield classrooms. Teaching staff have also reported benefits with teachers being able to speak at a much lower and constant level, therefore, reducing the risk of voice related problems such as laryngitis.