When the MathScience Innovation Center’s educational broadcasting efforts began reaching more students, they decided to contact Acoustical Solutions. They needed advice and products to improve the acoustic quality of their lessons.
After the soundproofing and noise control project was finished, the intelligibility of the center’s virtual lessons and distance learning programs broadcast throughout central Virginia was greatly improved.
Central Virginia’s MathScience Innovation Center, which has been delivering math and science lessons in the classroom since the early 1960s, has a mission “to be the innovator, incubator and advocate of 21st Century math and science programs for the [Virginia] Capital region’s K-12 educators and students.”
It only seemed fitting that 21st Century math and science programs be taught using a 21st Century medium, the internet.
The center’s teachers delivered the first Internet lessons from their desks in cubicles, and eventually moved to an empty classroom.
“That room had a lot of echo due to a hard-concrete floor and exterior walls that picked up outside vehicle and lawnmower sound,” says the Center’s Multimedia Producer, Echol Marshall, Ph.D. “all of our rooms are on slabs, so there was intrusion from neighboring classrooms as well”
By the spring of 2010, the demand for lessons required several lessons be delivered simultaneously. The Center found that it now needed four spaces in which teachers could operate alone, yet still in close proximity to one another. Small rooms were built as private studios, which solved the space issue, but teachers were still battling noise distractions.
Various treatment options were discussed with the staff at Acoustical Solutions. Marshall decided to combat the echo and reverberation in the broadcast rooms with three products.
First, Sonex® Audio Tiles were installed on the rooms’ ceilings to combat floor-to-ceiling reverberation. These foam panels worked by absorbing sound energy before it had a chance to reflect off the ceiling and back at the teachers or reverberate through the space.
Next, to treat the side-to-side reverberation, 64 square feet of SoundSuede™ Acoustic Panels in beige were installed in each broadcast room.
Because the center’s teachers broadcast both video and audio, Marshall chose the next wall treatment because it serves two purposes.
He had Acoustical Solutions install one 4′ x 8′ printed panel behind each broadcast seat.
Art Acoustic panels serve the same absorptive purpose as the other treatments in the room, but with an added bonus. The center’s logo is printed on the acoustic fabric used to wrap the panel.
“We use these panels as a backdrop for our lessons,” Marshall explained. “It helps reinforce our brand and gives our broadcasts a more professional look.”
As demand grew, lessons were broadcast more frequently. Marshall explained that “one thing we needed to do was isolate the lessons that were being simultaneously delivered.”
To accomplish this isolation, Acoustic Door Seal Kits were installed on each of the room’s doors. These kits include acoustic jambs, automatic door bottoms and thresholds.
Sealing the openings around doors drastically reduces noise transfer because of what is known as the 1% principle. This states that a 1% opening in a barrier will allow up to 50% of the sound to escape.
In the end, the “true broadcast persona” Marshall spoke of came to fruition.
“The product we deliver is now more professional,” Marshall said. “And it’s more than the sound that goes into the mic. The room has a silence that keeps the teachers focused on their lesson, and it’s the feel of the room that creates an aura of professionalism, a feeling of confidence. And all that translates into lesson quality.”