April 3, 2018

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Activate is by far the most versatile system Lightspeed has ever created. There are a number of features that set Activate apart, but the Bluetooth functionality is one that has the ability to make a teacher’s life infinitely easier.  

To explain what really makes Activate’s Bluetooth features stand out, here’s a quick Q&A with our in-house Activate expert, VP of Product Development Shaun Fagan.


What makes Activate’s Bluetooth functionality more powerful and better than its competition?

Activate is packed with Bluetooth capability, offering functionality that goes well beyond a traditional Bluetooth interface. Activate utilizes two different types of Bluetooth: traditional Bluetooth Audio and Bluetooth Low Energy for control. And there are two channels of each, meaning two teachers with two devices can simultaneously be connected and controlling the Activate system. So what does all that mean?

  • Bluetooth audio streaming from mobile devices and laptops: Teachers can wirelessly play audio for the entire room through the Lightspeed classroom speaker. Whether it’s a podcast, audiobook, or music, it will play for the whole room to hear without teachers having to find and be tethered to an annoying cable. Because two devices can always be connected, you don’t have to worry about toggling back and forth.
  • Mobile device audio and video recording: Unlike other Bluetooth connections, Activate allows for two-way Bluetooth audio to facilitate audio/video recording from mobile devices. With the Activate app, teachers can use their mobile device to record video synced up with high-quality audio from the teacher microphones and student group pods.

>> See how an educator uses audio and video for professional development! <<

  • Activate system and pod control: Using Bluetooth Low Energy, Activate connects with mobile devices to give teachers the control to connect to individual student group pods, listening in and communicating with each group. Teachers can also select a specific pod for recording, adjust volume levels, communicate directly with a second teacher, and adjust a wide variety of system settings. With two channels, Activate supports two teachers with two devices at the same time.


Would you consider Bluetooth connection the “missing link” in creating a tech-savvy classroom?

Bluetooth has become such a universal wireless communication method that has made our lives so much easier. From hands-free headsets, wireless speakers, and headphones to smartwatches, fitness trackers, wireless keyboards, and mice, Bluetooth has untethered us, adding convenience and flexibility we’ve come to expect. As teachers utilize mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, they shouldn’t be expected to find a cable to plug in or walk over to a control panel and press buttons. They should seamlessly and wirelessly move throughout the room just as we do outside the classroom.


Let's talk about implementation. Is Bluetooth easy for teachers to set up? Can anyone (even the non-tech-savvy) do it?

Pairing a mobile device with Activate is as simple as pairing up with a Bluetooth speaker at home. Simply download the Activate App, press the pairing button on the back of Activate Station, and follow the on-screen instructions. Your mobile device will be paired up and the system will be operating in just a few easy steps. Once you’ve connected the first time, Activate will remember your paired devices, so each morning when you return to the classroom it will automatically reconnect.


Talk about the ability to link a variety of classroom devices using Bluetooth. What sort of positive impact does this technology have on the learning space?

Two channels of Bluetooth audio give teachers the ability to seamlessly connect multimedia in the classroom, without concern for cables and wires. Not only does a Bluetooth connection ensure that all students can clearly hear multimedia audio, it gives the teacher maximum flexibility. Teachers can connect their laptop to one Bluetooth channel and their mobile device to the other channel, giving them wireless connectivity from any device, anywhere in the room.


Give us a full-circle example of how educators are using the Bluetooth connection and Activate in the classroom. Is there a school that is doing this exceptionally well?

Activate essentially requires Bluetooth connection, so by simply using the system to select pods and record, they are using both Bluetooth Low Energy and Audio. Stacey Ryan, a 7th -grade math teacher at Andover Middle School in Andover, KS, was one of the first to explore the power of Activate during our pilot program. She uses her Bluetooth connected mobile device to select a pod and “drop in” on students’ learning conversations and provide real-time feedback when appropriate. Ryan also uses 2-way  Bluetooth audio to record student interactions, gathering evidence of high-quality student communication, collaboration, and learning.


For more on our new Activate system, click here!

Shaun Fagan

Shaun Fagan

Shaun Fagan's mission at Lightspeed is to continue to find new ways to create access to learning by studying the dynamics of the classroom. His goals include evolving our instructional audio systems to improve the learning environment for both students and teachers. Outside of the office, Shaun enjoys spending time with his family, running and training for marathons, and rooting for the Oregon State Beavers!

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