Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Silent Labs Like Silent Discos for Education

Bates (2015, Chapter 6) uses a rock concert as an example of an event were everyone is at the same place. However electronic audio amplification is used for rock concerts, along with large video screens. Without this electronic assistance it is unlikely the performers could be heard or seen by most of the audience at a rock concert. The sense of all being in the one place is an illusion created by the technology used. We can use this illusion in education.

One example demonstrating the use of technology intermediating to create multiple places is a "silent disco": several channels of music are broadcast simultaneously and each patron chooses which to listen to on their headphones.
University of Sydney Charles Perkins Centre X-Lab
X-lab at the Charles Perkins Centre,
The silent disco technique is used in the X-lab at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney. Directional loudspeakers deliver audio to selected parts of the lab, while video is directed to the student's workstations, allowing up to four classes simultaneously in one room of 240 students.

A lower cost alternative for a "silent lab" would be to have students use their mobile device to receive video and listen through a headphones, using the same webinar software as for remote access. There would be no need for any specific technology in the room used and others could remain undisturbed by the students and instructors. Classes could be held in very noisy places, without the students in a class disturbing, or being disturbed by, those not in the class.


Bates, A. (2015). Understanding technology in education. In Teaching in a Digital Age. BC Open Textbooks. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment