Due to COVID-19 pandemic we assembled this note on protecting and cleaning Sennheiser/Neumann microphones and accessories. Especially for vocal and speech recordings, microphones are often used at close proximity to the mouth, possibly also by multiple users.
To reduce the risk of spreading diseases through bacteria and viruses, one or more remedies, explained in detail below, may be used:
ideally, have just one user per microphone (including the accessories)
after or before use, clean all surfaces, i.e. microphone housings, head baskets and accessories
leave the microphone unused for some time period
utilize accessories such as windshields and thin plastic film bags to add protection
Cleaning the microphone housing
For cleaning Sennheiser/Neumann microphone housings from soiling including human exhalations, you may use ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol). Used as a disinfectant, typically a 70% solution is used. Apply with a disposable soft cloth, a soft brush or paper tissue. Make sure that the liquid is applied only to the outside of the microphone and does not enter the inside or the capsule.
Do not use rough materials which might scratch the surface. Do not use any solvents stronger than ethanol or isopropanol, as these might damage the surface.
Never use sprays, as these can deposit on the membrane and thus damage the microphone capsule!
Cleaning removable microphone head baskets
With some microphones, the head basket can be easily removed for cleaning. Make sure not to touch or damage the capsule!
With the head baskets containing foam windshields, remove the inner foam and clean it separately as described below.
Metal head baskets can then be cleaned also on the inside with ethanol or isopropanol. You may also immerse the head basket in clean, hot water (e.g. 70°C/160°F). Do not use the dishwasher. Let the basket dry out completely before re-assembly.
To learn a more indepth solution for microphone hygiene, click here!
The following article has been re-posted from shure.com:
Clear communication is at the core of every successful business meeting. Without it, meaningful discussion is compromised, important ideas may need to be repeated and participants become frustrated, leading to a loss of productivity and a negative impact on your bottom line.
But, as companies need increasing agility in the digital age, smart and reliable audio solutions have become a tool to ensure that organizations stay ahead of competitors.
The successful deployment of a microphone or microphone system can play an essential role giving your company a communications edge. Using the right microphone in the correct environment can make an important difference in maximizing the effectiveness of your meetings.
With audio conferencing now increasingly in the IT team’s wheelhouse, this quick guide aims to give your team the confidence to implement flawless audio solutions in a range of corporate environments.
Factors Impacting Audio Quality
From meeting rooms to huddle spaces, it’s important to remember that every meeting scenario offers different and unique challenges. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some essential factors are universal.
When installing a boardroom microphone and audio solution, professionals need to consider:
Number of attendees
Number of presenters
Looking at these fundamentals will help you make an informed choice about your microphones, and microphone system.
The Boardroom Scenario
Boardrooms typically accommodate between 6 and 30 participants who are usually seated at one large table. Microphones are common in boardrooms, both for teleconferencing and as a means of recording proceedings for archival purposes.
Attention is almost always given to the room’s aesthetics and acoustical characteristics. Room surfaces – ceilings, walls and floors – often benefit from sound treatment materials, panels and furnishings in an attempt to optimize audio by making these spaces less reflective.
Key Issue #1: Room size
In some boardrooms, the greater the number of attendees, the greater the risk of intelligibility issues in certain areas. Speech level fades as the distance between the speaker and listener increases. The negative impact is often heightened when participants fail to face each other when speaking.
In these scenarios, a microphone solution incorporating voice lifttechnology can be very effective. Voice lift, available in most conference systems, amplifies the voices of attendees in one part of the room so other attendees can hear them clearly. It subtly enhances frequency ranges most critical for intelligibility to restore natural speech levels and ensure greater clarity.
Ceiling microphones can work effectively with voice lift applications, but only if they are extremely directional to avoid picking up sounds and subsequent reverberations from nearby loudspeakers. The microphone’s pickup area also needs to focus only on the desired group of talkers, even if participants lean back or stand up when speaking.
Key Issue #2: Security
Often in boardroom meetings, highly sensitive issues are debated or discussed. Security and privacy options are more important than ever before. Look for systems that offer:
It’s important for a meeting to sound great, but it’s equally important for senior employees and directors to be confident that when they push the mute button, any confidential information is not heard.
Encryption is an important security method for video conferencing. As AV conferencing equipment now sits on networks, organizations need assurance that these devices are not open to cybersecurity breaches.
For AV teams, this creates the new challenge of balancing the demand for high security without compromising on audio quality. Whether microphones are wired or wireless, the signal between network audio devices cannot be breached. No one within your facility, even those on your network, can listen to your meetings.
Key Issue #3: Room Acoustics
Room acoustics in the modern meeting environment are far more important than most people realize. Many contemporary spaces feature glass surfaces which are on trend for designers but cause headaches for audio, producing reflections that lead to hollow sound and reduced audio quality.
While applying acoustical treatments and consulting with an acoustics expert can help, microphone choice and placement are also key to overcoming the challenges of a room with hard surfaces. If microphones are aimed accurately, they will pick up less room noise and more of the essential communications required.
Key Issue #4: RF Interference
If you’re located in a city’s downtown area, wireless microphone systems are at risk of RF interference from other wireless equipment. Interruptions from these unwanted signals can ruin dynamic interactions with distracting noise and dropouts.
RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) is defined as an unwanted signal that compromises a sound system by directly interfering with wireless microphones or inducing noise in other audio components. Typical sources include FM radio stations, AM radio stations, walkie-talkies or cell phones. The resulting noise takes the form of unwanted buzzing, noise bursts or even music. If you’re implementing an audio solution in a dense urban location, make sure to evaluate the capabilities of microphones in combating these unwanted distractions.
Shure Microphone Solutions
In its nearly 100 year history, Shure has emerged as a global leader in pro audio, known for its game-changing engineering as well as its unassailable reputation for quality and reliability. Those attributes are present in Shure’s wide spectrum of meeting, discussion and boardroom solutions.
If a table has many meeting participants or is of an unconventional size, then end users might prefer the microphone to be elsewhere for less office clutter and better audio quality. In this case, Shure’s MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone is a great solution. It works effectively whether the boardroom setting is fixed, temporary or multi-purpose. The Shure MXA910 with Intellimix® features state-of-the-art DSP technology that works intuitively to provide the best audio experience possible.
Microflex Wireless offers greater versatility and more effective audio without the need for excess equipment clutter in the form of wires or plugs. It offers security from interference in corporate environment and larger meeting spaces. The MXWAPT8 Access Point Receiver is an 8-channel wireless access point compatible with Microflex Wireless microphone systems. It works well within the corporate environment as the supplied mounting plate and paintable cover allows discreet placement in boardrooms.
Directional and wireless microphones from the Microflex Complete Digital Conference System offer a variety of potential options for professionals all with a focus on delivering scalable world class audio within your meeting environments.
Flexible for Room Sizes and Types
Camera tracking technology, also when used with the MXA910, can elevate your boardroom meeting, especially for larger gatherings. Multiple cameras will enable external viewers to see different angles and views of participants. Because the MXA910 quickly and reliably selects the right lobe for any talker, the camera tracking system always shows the appropriate view. When used in combination with a voice lift system, the pickup lobes of the MXA910 can be easily adjusted to precisely match a room’s configuration and capture audio from the desired coverage areas.
The Shure P300 Audio Conferencing Processor’s Mute Sync feature can be used in tandem with the MXA910. This intuitive, programming-free LED mute sync functionality works with leading third-party software codecs including Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Skype and guarantees security is maintained so sensitive conversations can remain offline.
Shure Audio Encryption offers protection against any data breaches when used with the IntelliMix P300 Audio Conferencing Processor or Shure Audio Network Interfaces.
The network uses AES-256 encryption to protect confidential content flowing between Shure audio devices. This is one of the safest forms of network protection currently available and used by financial services organizations, government bodies and health care services
Not that long ago, end users had to adapt to the demands of technology. But now, audio solutions are so advanced, they can adapt to each situation and be tailored to how you like to do business. It means you’re now free to stop worrying about audio quality and focus on what you do best: communicating clearly with clients and customers to drive your organization’s success.
Crestron touch screens are found almost everywhere: work, home, colleges and government offices. Given the current situation facing Crestron global customers, we wanted to provide simple steps on how to clean and disinfect Crestron touch screens to help protect the people who use them.
Keeping our customers and their families safe from the transmission of COVID-19 is our first priority. Per the CDC recommendations, frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces is important.*
To clean Crestron touch screens
Use any commercially available non-ammonia glass or disinfectant cleaner.
Apply a small amount of cleaner directly to a microfiber or a similar disposable towel or cloth-be sure the cloth is damp and not wet.
Wipe the glass touch screen clean.
Do not apply cleaner directly to any interface (as most of our systems are not waterproof). And do not wipe the plastic surrounding the glass.
Our goal is to make sure we’re doing all we can to keep our customers and their families safe. For more information and updates on approved cleaners check our online help article here.
Here is a list of Web-based lessons, activities, and games for literacy that you can use in your classroom. These great FREE resources are perfect whether you just got your interactive board or have had it for years.
Primary students love the interactive stories on this site as well as the interactive word work games like Make a Word and Sound Match. These are great to use as center activities or in whole class lessons.
Here is an attention-getting way to have your students write more interesting biographies. They click around and add content, like their biggest obstacle and a famous quote, to each side of the cube. A bonus is that the activity prints so that it can be folded to create a real cube.
In this interactive game, students learn about doubling the letter or changing the y when adding an ending to a word. Students need to decide which fishing pole correctly spells the word made from the given base word.
Have students play archery as they use the meaning of the Greek root to identify the definition of a word. You can use this as your lesson on Greek roots and have whole class discussions as students play on the whiteboard.
Students love clicking the handle and spinning the story starter machine. They giggle at the silly writing prompts while they find their desired one. Then they write creative stories to share with the class.
Projecting your iPad on a large screen is great for demonstrations, simulations, explanations, and showing examples. There are several ways this can be done in the classroom. Scroll to the end of this post for a comparison chart.
If you want to wirelessly transmit your device’s screen and audio so that you or your students can walk around the room, then it gets more complicated. You’ll tap into Apple’s AirPlay feature that is built into all iPad 2s and newer, including iPad mini. AirPlay works over Wi-Fi and requires all devices using it to be on the same network (unless you’re using the newest Apple TV and iOS 8–then you can use a peer-to-peer connection or if you’re using Mirroring360).
Apple TV is a small black box that can connect to a projector. iPad can mirror wirelessly to Apple TV using AirPlay. Apple TV only outputs HDMI. Your projector might not have HDMI input. If that’s the case, you’ll need an HDMI to VGA adapter like the Kanex ATVPRO. Read more about Apple TV in classrooms.
If you already have a computer connected to your projector, you should look into using software to turn that Mac or Windows PC into an AirPlay receiver. You can download and try for free AirServer, Annotate Mirror Client, iTools, Mirroring360, Reflector 2, or X-Mirage. The software runs on your computer and allows devices to mirror iPad to the computer screen. Since the computer is connected to a projector, then the iPad shows on the projector. I’ve written lots more about both AirServer and Reflector.
In my visits to various schools, I’d say that Apple TV, AirServer, Reflector, and X-Mirage work about 50% of the time. That’s because AirPlay requires the device and the computer or Apple TV to be on the same network (unless you’re using the newest Apple TV and iOS 8). Often schools have different networks for mobile devices and for PCs so AirPlay won’t work. Also, AirPlay requires specific ports to be open on the network for Bonjour (and frequently they are not configured to be open).
Mirroring360 has a feature called Mirroring Assist. It can work without the need to open ports for Bonjour. That means Mirroring360 can work on your school’s network, even when other AirPlay solutions do not. Another feature of Mirroring Assist is the option to turn off the broadcasting of your computer on AirPlay. Instead, devices can be paired with your Mac or PC via a QR code. This is a very welcome feature in schools with long lists of computers under the AirPlay menu.
Even if your network allows for AirPlay connections, it also needs to be reliable. Many teachers experience slow and dropped AirPlay connections, which can make mirroring a frustrating experience. It’s a good thing there are free trials of each of the software mirroring solutions so you can test your school’s setup before purchasing.
If your Wi-Fi network won’t cooperate with AirPlay, you should check out iTools. It’s free software for Windows PCs that will mirror to a computer using your device’s charge/sync cable. iTools Live Desktop feature is buggy and might not work on your computer, and there is no help documentation.
After upgrading to to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac users can mirror their iPad’s screen using a Lightning cable. iPad will show up as a camera source in QuickTime.
When you mirror your screen, it’s a great opportunity to use your iPad as a document camera! You’ll want to buy or rig up some sort of stand to use iPad as a visualizer. I wrote about the Justand v2 and other options in this post, including apps that let you draw and annotate over the image.
I maintain a chart that compares the methods of displaying iPad’s screen on a projector. Click the image below to download the PDF.
The integration of technology in education can often offer a strenuous challenge for some adopters. The above graphic illustration outlines 8 things to look for in today’s classroom, paying close attention to the impact that various technologies have on classroom learning.
Before your students even enter the classroom, here are five strategies you can implement make your students’ educational aspirations a very real, practical and achievable daily/weekly goal.
1. Inform Everyone of Your Edtech Goals and Practices
Tell administrators, colleagues, students, and parents what you’re planning. In addition to scholarly databases and university websites, you and your students will need access to social networks like YouTube and Twitter. In order to consult evidence, experts, and to truly investigate any topic, the Internet cannot be subject to excessive school district censorship. Get the required permissions signed and get the nod of approval. But, no matter what, be determined to be the teacher that opens up the world for your students. I mean it. Stop at nothing.
2. Give Students the Gift of a Research Toolbox
Let’s be real. Students go to Google and YouTube first when searching for answers. They have access to amazing video tutorials and academic articles right along with ridiculous falsehoods. So, let’s bolster up the classroom research!
First, show them the right way to find the answers. Google provides the tools needed atGoogle a Day. In addition to providing your students with an online adventure that you could turn into a classroom competition, Google a Day has hints on how to really use search engines to find right and true information.
But finding an answer is only the beginning. Students need to know how to evaluate the source of their information. There are a few sites, like All About Explorers and one website dedicated to saving the Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, that look superficially legitimate, but are designed for students to investigate deeper for authenticity, reliability, and accuracy. With a few clicks, students will find false and even silly claims that will make them laugh while also teaching them a lesson about website evaluation.
Want to know even more about the history of a website’s development? Show your students the Wayback Machine. It is a digital archive with snapshots of websites from throughout their history. What did YouTube looked like in 2005? Just enter the URL and click Go. If we teach our students to be smart about how they learn online, our schools won’t need to put up excessive blocks on Internet accessibility in school.
3. Harness the Power of Social Networks
Students create clever videos appealing to celebrities, and can even inspire others with a simple Twitter account. Why not use that power to extend the academic discussion from your classroom?
Create a hashtag for your class–after all, hashtags can be used on a number of networks, from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram. You can share resources you happen across and your students can share their own experiences from your classroom. Use Instagram to capture moments of discovery in your classroom. If you use a hashtag and keep at it, you’ll find your students doing the same soon enough. On Facebook, create private groups for clubs you advise or teams you coach. You and your students can communicate and share resources without accessing one another’s personal Facebook profiles and posts outside of the group.
4. Learn from Your Students
The truth is, educators don’t always perform flawlessly for their students every single day of the school year. It is a teacher’s duty to model learning and communicating as much as it is their duty to teach the content and skills that you are charged with teaching.
But when your students arrive in the classroom with their own ideas about how to collaborate and create, talk it out with them. If it is exciting enough for them to bring to you, it is exciting enough to give it a shot.
When students have a voice in how to use edtech to learn together, they are more invested in the academic experience.
5. Publish, Publish, Publish Student Work
It is essential that your students publish their work right at the beginning of the year. Their first creation could be simple: a written reflection of holiday-period learning, a photo essay, or a list of goals for the year. The point is to get them used to putting their creations out there for others to see and react to.
For example, students may each have their own blog, and by the end of the year, they have a fantastic digital portfolio of their work. To encourage them to really do their best work, tweet out links to excellent pieces to a PLN (professional learning network) or write about them on your own professional blog. Kids love to watch their site visits go up as a reward for their hard work. They can look back at their growth, and parents and other teachers can see evidence of student work, as well.
Let it be known: the most important strategy that should be employed throughout your edtech preparation is communication. Be open with your students, their families, your colleagues, and administrators.
Not everything will go smoothly, but as long as you are open to ideas and maintain theright mindset, this year will be the year.
Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning. Educators who focus on integrating kids’ own interests and passions into the curriculum will see them flourish as learners. Educators can think about integrating such practices as showing relevance of what students are studying to life outside school, connecting with parents, and using digital media as a way to spark interests and spreading ideas.
2. TRY SOMETHING NEW.
Jumping Into the 21st Century. For both veteran educators and newbies, the temptation to stick to what’s acceptable and what’s been done is hard to overcome. Educator Shelley Wright talks about how she took the plunge and redesigned the entire structure of her teaching practice. Her goal? “Changing to a student-centered, skill-based, technology embedded classroom,” she says.
3. CONSIDER THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM MODEL.
The Flip: Why I love It, How I Use It. Educator Shelley Wright shares why she’s decided to flip her classroom. “I don’t believe in assigning videos every night as a substitute for my own lecturing. To me, that’s simply the traditional classroom rearranged, not flipped. I use the flip when my students need to absorb a few chunks of new information to continue learning. I don’t use it to front-load information at the beginning of a unit. I think that can rob students of the experience of authentically building knowledge and skills as they encounter new concepts. I use flip time to create curiosity in my students.”
4. TAP INTO STUDENTS’ IDEAS.
How to Turn Your Classroom Into an Idea Factory. Design thinking isn’t just for engineers and designers. It can be applied to every aspect of learning — from generating ideas to the iteration and execution phase. Here’s how educators can foster innovation in the classroom.
5. CONSIDER THE FUTURE SCHOOL DAY.
The School Day of the Future is Designed. “It’s not too big of a leap to want the school day designed around notions of how we naturally, and individually, learn,” writes Sandy Speicher of IDEO. “Designing the day around discovery of information, connections to real world challenges, discussions digging into our experiences with the world. Here are some examples of how futuristic scenarios are actually happening now.”
“I’m not very tech savvy” is the response I usually hear from teachers that struggle with technology. Whether it’s attaching a document to an email or creating a page using interactive whiteboard software, some teachers really have a difficult time navigating the digital world. As schools around the globe begin to embed the use of technology in their learning environments, these teachers can be left feeling frustrated and marginalized by the new tools they are required to use but do not understand.
The school where I teach is currently within its post-BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) implementation age. We started with a small cohort of tech-savvy teachers to pilot a BYOD program with selected classes. Starting small was definitely beneficial, as we were able to troubleshoot issues and best prepare ourselves for the school-wide BYOD rollout. Front loading any work is always helpful in education, especially when developing resources for teachers who struggle with technology.
If you plan on introducing a new technology or are embarking on the mighty task of becoming a wireless BYOD school, here are five tips to help your teachers still struggling with technology.
1. Build a Tech
Team Integrating technology can be very stressful for educators that aren’t familiar with it. Having a support team that’s flexible and available to struggling teachers is crucial for any tech rollout. Our tech team consisted of teachers, support staff and administrators. This group was able work together across multiple content areas and grade levels to support successful tech integration. We focused primarily on mind mapping ideas and helping teachers slowly introduce technology into their classes.
2. Scaffold Effective Professional Development (PD)
One big mistake when introducing technology is either too much or too little professional development. Teachers that struggle with technology might feel overwhelmed if you introduce too much too soon. On the flip side, if you don’t provide enough PD, teachers may feel isolated. Going back to tip #1, have your tech team develop a feasible plan for effective PD using input from staff members.
PD also needs to be focused on being of value to teachers facing the hurdle of technology. How often do these teachers say, “Why would I try this when I’ve been doing just fine without it all these years?” If you are planning PD for the whole year, poll your teachers and ask what tech-related areas they would like to focus on. Select only one or two of these areas and make a concerted effort to help those teachers who are struggling.
3. Make Time
While I’m talking about PD, all educators know that extra time for PD is scarce throughout the day. I’ve had amazing administrators that carved out dedicated time for tech PD. Allowing teachers to meet and collaborate with each other is part of building a successful environment to support student learning, especially regarding the use of technology.
Aside from just having dedicated time for teachers to meet, create a homegrown professional learning community (PLC) that focuses on monitoring tech integration throughout the school. This PLC can be powerful and insightful while supporting those that need additional help.
4. Make It Relevant!
Some teachers feel technology is being pushed on them, especially those who struggle with it. They might start using technology just for the sake of using it. This has shown to be an ineffective method for both tech-savvy and tech-challenged teachers. There is a big difference between using technology to teach and the successful integration of technology into lesson plans. This goes back to having a meaningful plan to incorporate technology into the yearly PD plan.
Create a school-wide culture of tech integration and an openness to take risks. Some lessons will not go as planned — and that’s great! Reflect and learn from these challenges. Be willing to press on and continue to learn. After all, don’t we expect the same from our students?
5. Encourage Them
Even with the best PD and resources available, some teachers will still struggle. Support them! I’ve worked with great veteran teachers that just wanted me to stop by every few days and discuss their tech ideas. Once they have mastered one technology, present them with another to consider. Encourage them and celebrate their willingness to try new things. Focus on the learning (by teachers) and share their successes.
Are there any tips that you have for helping teachers in your school who struggle with technology? If you’re a teacher still trying to master technology, how have others helped you? Please share your stories in the comments section below.
To mark Teacher Appreciation Day on 6 May in the US, Google has launched a preview of Classroom, a free organisational tool kit for teachers to organise students’ work.
The new software will be included in the Google Apps for Education suite and, according to a post on the Google blog, Classroom “helps teachers create and organise assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease”.
The software uses a combination of Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to better interact with students and, perhaps to the annoyance of students, will mean there will be no excuse for getting a pass on doing homework if they can’t make it into school.
So far, Classroom has been tested in a number of pilot schools in the US and is now being released as a preview to students and teachers who sign up for Classroom. A selection of those individuals will begin testing the software’s capabilities by next month.
Other features of the education tool include the ability for teachers to make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real-time, thereby improving communication inside and outside of class. Drive folders can also be created for each assignment and for each student.
Classroom is due for general release at no cost in September.