Teachers and students know the value of a good sound system and microphone setup now more than ever thanks to the rise of online classes these past few years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As protocols are loosening, schools and universities are once again opening their doors to face-to-face classes.
However, with the success and efficiency seen through online classes, there are universities and higher education institutions that are implementing hybrid classes; a mix of both face-to-face and online students in a single course. With this new setup, hybrid learning environments are using the Catchbox Throwable Microphone to help transform and increase classroom engagement from teacher to student and student to student.
Although hybrid classes allow for more students to attend a single class or course, this poses a challenge for the teacher in encouraging participation and retaining the attention of students in-person and online. By using a microphone, teachers and instructions saw that it helps in being able to keep students attentive and engaged as the speaker’s voice is loud and clear.
Initially, ceiling-mounted microphones or handheld microphones were used by the teachers, but these tend to perform poorly depending on the largeness of space and sources of noise for students in class while the online students cannot easily hear their peers. With that, the Catchbox Throwable Microphone was used, which proved to be the most effective solution and microphone for a hybrid class.
Catchbox is a company created by three University friends who found themselves bored in dull Q&A sessions. From that idea, the friends created the world’s first-ever throwable engagement microphone in the form of a brightly colored foam cube. The company has come a long way from prototype to finished product as the Catchbox Throwable Microphone is now being used from lectures to conferences to encourage participation and engagement for everyone in the room.
Catchbox also recently released the newest version of the throwable microphone, The Catchbox Plus complete with a DECT-based wireless microphone system protected by a soft material conducive for a fun and safe pass around or throwing amongst the students or from teacher-to-student. To allow seamless audio connection over Ethernet cables and to the computers of online students, the Catchbox Plus has an easy point-to-point analog and digital connections installation while its Pro version has a Dante™ adapter to support audio over IP technology.
By also using a cost-efficient and adaptable technology, the Catchbox Throwable Microphone allows in-person students and online students to clearly hear each other and the teacher. The instructor need only to wear the Clip that comes with the microphone and proceed to throw the Cube or throwable microphone to whoever will be speaking — this makes for a fun dynamic in the classroom and encourages each student to participate in discussions.
Program Director for Indiana University’s Mosaic Initiative, Dr. Tracey Birdwell, shares how the Catchbox Throwable Microphone has helped in their university’s hybrid classes. “Catchbox changes the dynamics of a typical class conversation to support student-powered dialogue,” says Dr. Birdwell. “Because Catchbox delivers the microphone in a colorful cube, it provides a visual signal to the entire class that the student who has caught the Catchbox has the floor. So, if you are the student with the Catchbox, the class can see it’s your turn to talk and also hear what you have to say”, adds Dr. Birdwell. Think of the Catchbox as the modern-day version of a talking stick.
“At Catchbox, we recognize the value of active discussions, and our updated product makes it even easier to transform discussions, especially for hybrid courses.” shares Catchbox CEO and co-founder, Mikelis Studers. By combining technology, creativity, and innovation, a simple audio recording device such as a microphone can be transformed into a powerful and central learning tool for learning.