California’s Simi Valley Unified School District first tested Lightspeed’s Topcat instructional audio system at an elementary school serving deaf and hearing-impaired students, but quickly realized the system had much broader impact.
Fourth grade special education teacher Jaimee Rothenberg says the Lightspeed classroom instructional audio system was an important tool before the COVID-19 pandemic, helping students with auditory issues who may have otherwise needed preferential seating, and helping all students hear lessons more clearly.
From desks surrounded by plexiglass and required mask use, to students split between remote and classroom settings, educators say instructional audio systems are more important than ever to overcoming barriers to learning presented by COVID-19 measures.
2020 was a unique year as the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic placed a new set of challenges in the learning environment. Prior to the pandemic, school districts were faced with helping students overcome barriers to hearing, now those barriers have been exacerbated with physical distancing, facial masks, and remote learning.
Recalling a recent experience in a grocery store, Dr. Carrie Spangler, Au.D., CCC-A, found herself unable communicate with a grocery clerk wearing a mask without a tool she’s relied on throughout her life: the ability to read speech and facial cues.