Category: - EDUCATIONAL PREMISES | Back »
Adrian James - Director AJA
You can now watch the three filmed presentations on our Acoustic Bulletin YouTube, from the seminar held earlier this summer at the Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre in London. Increasingly Green Buildings" utilising Thermally Active Building Systems (or TABS) have specific acoustic challenges with potential increased low frequency reverberance and overall sound levels within the classroom, making learning difficult, and potentially limiting academic achievement.
This Acoustics in TABS Classrooms Seminar on Thursday 27th June, will be held at the Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre in London. Thermally Active Building Systems (or TABS) which utilise exposed thermal mass for temperature stabilisation are increasing as an educational building type due to energy efficiency and potential reduced running costs. However TABS buildings have specific acoustic challenges with potential increased low frequency reverberance and overall sound levels within the classroom, making learning difficult, and potentially limiting academic achievement.
From last months IOA Spring Conference, Jack Harvie-Clark (photo above) of Apex Acoustics discussed his recent investigations into the potential advantages of sound strength "G" and speech clarity "C50" measurements when compared to reverberation time as measurements of classroom acoustics. Also interviewed is Nick Durup of Sharps Redmore and London South Bank University, who discusses the initial findings of his PhD pilot study investigating teachers vocal strain in classrooms.
An interesting article featured on Swedish radio website recently saying poor acoustics in school premises can lead to poor results. It highlights that students with non native language backgrounds do worse in school which may be partly due to poor acoustics in classrooms. Research shows that it is more difficult to perceive all sounds in a language that don’t belong to one’s mother tongue.
Mikolaj Jarosz, Concept Developer for educational premises in Poland speaks and demonstrates the dramatic acoustic difference in two similar lecture rooms. After the acoustic refurbishment of one of the lecture rooms at Krakow Technical University (PK) in Poland it is now possible to hear the difference as experienced by EDUnet and captured on a phone during a recent meeting there.
The Big Noise Survey is a project which aims to raise the profile of the need for good acoustics in schools, and highlight the effect on teachers’ health. The survey will launch next week at The Education Show at the NEC, UK.
This powerful film is part of a campaign by the NDCS to raise awareness and the need for service provisions for deaf children in the UK. It has been backed by some enthusiastic personalities, Evelyn Glennie, Scarlett Johnson and Jim Carter, who have been touched by these issues at close hand.
click here for link to video.
The importance of classroom acoustics in the UK, has been underlined after three schools were recognised at the BCSE Best of British Schools Awards (Thursday 21 June).
Architects Walters and Cohen triumphed in the New Build Primary School category being crowned winners for both Hylands Primary School and Elm Park Primary School, while also securing a win in the Large Projects category for Colston Girls School in Bristol.
Watch Shane catching up with Michal at the awards and asks how she feels about winning the awards. BCSE award winner Michal Cohen and AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2012 and her passion for acoustics.
Tuesday 22nd May 2012 saw the launch of the much anticipated final report of the Essex Study which was presented at LearnSpace in Corby, UK as part of school acoustics seminar exploring the acoustic influence on teaching and learning. The event was brought to the invited guests by LearnSpace, Essex Council and Ecophon. Moderated by sound expert and three-time TED speaker Julian Treasure also moderating this weeks Sound Education seminar in London, the Essex Study launch combined a superb line-up of speakers.....
The first of four international seminars begins tomorrow, 24th May at the RICS HQ (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) in Parliament square, Westminster, London.
This a unique event brought to an exclusive audience by Ecophon which will reveal some disturbing facts and exciting news about acoustic environments in schools. Moderated by sound expert and three-time TED speaker Julian Treasure, Sound Education combines a superb line-up of expert speakers and performers. The event will explore the relationship between sound and education to stimulate debate during "Noise Action Week" about a major issue that, in many cases, is still not prioritised enough in school design.
Watch Simon Smith (Learning Environments Leader) at Sweyne Park School, Rayleigh, Essex. UK. describe the classroom acoustic experiences of the students and teachers during the Essex Study and then their recent experience with a new acoustically optimised classroom.
Listen to the experiences and differences in the acoustic comfort as the students and teachers experience them and note how acoustic conditions which go beyond the minimum acoustic standards are greatly appreciated by teachers and all students.
Interesting video provinding information on the acoustic solutions in a semi-open school building in Germany. Click above to watch it (in german language only), or go to our youtube channel for this and more interesting videos about acoustics.
Tumlesalen i Nord Day Care Centre in Copenhagen
Reduction of noise is the priority in Copenhagen in day care centres. Working environment studies show that noise is the primary cause for day care teachers leaving their profession. Copenhagen Municipality have initiated a study to demonstrate how to improve the Day Care sound environment for the future teachers and children.
Photo: Hear it .org
According to a study by the Swedish Association of Hard of Hearing People (HRF) who also discovered that, of the students who had problems with their sound environment; 78% experienced that they have trouble concentrating, 66% become irritated and over half become tired. Four out of ten have trouble remembering and 29% say that the poor sound environment gives them a headache.
The most disturbing sounds are for example voices, footsteps and the sounds of chair legs.
Jordanstown Special Educational Needs School. Northern Ireland
In the first week of September, Ecophon took the opportunity to arrange a case study visit to the newly completed and privately funded 4000m2 Jordanstown School; the only school of its kind in Northern Ireland with boarding facilities.
In March this year, Ecophon organised a case study visit to the recently opened New Line Learning Academy, Maidstone, Kent UK. Far removed from the traditional designs often seen in the UK’s school estate, NLL is 9,463 sqm (GIA), and is designed to accommodate 1110 pupils. The concept for the building was provided by forward thinking educationalist and current Head Teacher, Guy Hewitt, who had the challenge of inspiring pupils from two existing, but failing schools, with a high truancy rate, to raise their academic standards and improve their social and emotional skills. In addition, last week Ecophon's Education Concept Developers (EDUnet) from around Europe had a guided tour and in depth discussions with Deputy Principal, Gigi Luscombe.
At the recent Building Schools Exhibition and Conference (BSEC11) in the UK, Shane Cryer the Education Concept Developer with Saint-Gobain Ecophon (pictured above) was invited along with Alan Knibb, Asset Manager with Essex Council (pictured in entry below) to discuss the benefits of good acoustics in schools.
Acoustics in sports halls is quite a hot topic in Holland. As you probably have seen before on AB it even was an issue on national TV. In his daily work Guus Klamerek, Concept Developer Education, meets a lot of acousticians who are dealing with this matter. He learned that they are doing their own small studies and use their own way of calculating. Since you have high parallel walls, hard surfaces, a non diffuse sound field and high ceilings. Next to that you have different users, different sports, people moving around all the time etc. These sports hall complexities led Ecophon Holland to organise a round table session with experts.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) - teachers are generally unaware of the efffects that poor classroom acoustics have on learning.
Most teachers are unaware that the typical classroom may not be providing the best environment for listening and learning due to poor acoustic characteristics. Important information may be lost because a deteriorated or weak speech signal reaches the learner which makes listening difficult and creates significant gaps in learning.
Professor Trevor Cox - IOA President
The Institute of Acoustics is warning that education standards in schools could plummet if the Government drops or waters down vital design standards contained in the Building Regulations.
Trevor makes his points on behalf of the IOA regarding the importance of minimum acoustic design standards which need to be updated and strengthened (not downgraded) to account for open-plan, pupil centred learning and inclusion of vulnerable listeners in mainstream schools.
“The School Acoustic Design Symposium" at Westminster, London on Tuesday 7th December, was chaired by Peter Rogers of Cole Jarman and brought together some of the UK’s leading architects and acousticians in the field of education design. As sponsor of this unique event, we are pleased to provide you with the presentations from the audiologist, acousticians and architects, delivered on the day.
To watch the forum discussion please click here
Improving acoustic conditions in sports halls is an aim for many teachers and pupils. As we speak, Dutch television channels and news websites are paying a lot of attention to the topic. Click here for the video (in dutch language, scroll to 07:15 min.)
Already back in 2008 Dutch teachers sued their employers and got financially compensated for hearing damage. Insufficient acoustic conditions are a well-known topic but unfortunately still many schools and communities do not comply with the standards. Solutions are available however...
Åke Grundberg, a physical education teacher at Hagaskolan school in Sundsvall, Sweden, is happy that he is no longer forced to constantly raise his voice, as acoustics are improved in the school’s sports hall.
Click here to read the entire article (pdf-file)
This week there was the Remodelling Education Conference in Manchester, UK
Attending the conference this week, it was good to hear acoustic issues coming to the fore many times over the 2 days which were also fully explored during the workshop discussion "Integrated acoustic design in remodelled schools"
The 2009 Revision of the so called “Unfallverhütungsvorschrift Kindertageseinrichtungen” (GUV-V S2) includes a new paragraph regarding building and room acoustics. Whenever you build or refurbish a Kindergarten the room acoustic is a must have for the first time in Germany. It is no matter if it is a public or private Kindergarten the “Unfallverhütungsvorschrift” is obligatory.
Neil Logue and Emma Greenland
In November, groundbreaking new schools in Liverpool UK, hosted the BCSE World Learning Environments Conference which was organised by the British Council for School Environments. One of the breakout sessions was Acoustics, furniture and flexible spaces where Emma Greenland of WSP Group and Neil Logue, Managing Director of Kilworth Studio presented approaches and advice regarding how to ensure future flexible teaching and learning spaces can accomodate; immediate, short term and long term versatility.
A symposium on speech comfort, acoustics and learning was organised by Ljudmiljöcentrum (Listening Lund – The Sound Environment Centre at Lund University, Sweden) in cooperation with Saint-Gobain Ecophon and the Swedish Acoustical Society.
This was a very fruitful occasion, for people with various backgrounds and a keen interest in sound and acoustics, to exchange knowledge and experience.
This BBC programme features interesting feedback from deaf students and their teachers, when their acoustic environment was improved beyond minimum acoustic compliance. It highlights where these benefits can help children particularly with special hearing requirements and how it motivated them to take action themselves.
An impressive initiative by the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) and Grand Designs Kevin McCloud involving 50 MPs, is calling for government to ensure that new schools meet national standards for acoustics. The call comes after Freedom of Information Act data received by NDCS showed that only 21% of the local authorities in England that responded had new schools with acoustics meeting the requirements set out in Building Bulletin 93
An Acoustics Advisory Group led by the BCSE met in Manchester earlier this year to discuss input for the BB93 Review. Those in attendance were members of the British Council for School Environments who have knowledge of acoustics in learning environments. The key points raised at this meeting will inform our future position on acoustics as an organisation.
Click on link for the 10 key issues which have been put forward to the review panel:
Few local authorities in Sweden do something active as to reduce noise and high sound levels in schools. Only 12 % of the local authorities have an action plan, reveals an investigation done by “Lilla Aktuellt” (Swedish TV-program for young people).
The Essex study ran for 5 months during the academic year 2007/8 during which period classrooms were repeatedly modified acoustically. Many objective and subjective measures were obtained and initial findings have been described as ‘very powerful’!
Dutch sports teachers (PE teachers) sued their employers for suffering serious hearing impairment because of working in a poor acoustic environment. The schools that employed the PE teachers compensate the teachers financially.
The Dutch Royal Society of Physical Exercise Teachers (KVLO) http://www.kvlo.nl/ supports the teachers in this matter.
Interview (3,35 minutes)
By Marc Janssen / Concept Developer - Healthcare, Ecophon.
Noise levels at schools are too high. The children become tired, unfocused and stressed and don't hear well. The behaviour of the children also affects noise levels with their voices being raised to be heard over the others. Read more here about this study in Uppsala in Sweden.
Noise from screaming children in nursery schools is a significant problem for many nursery school teachers. Noise makes the people tired, lead to irritation etc. Read more about the danish situation here!
In a Swedish TV program noisy school canteens were on the agenda. A resent study on noise levels in school canteens were referred to. It was mentioned that half of the pupils in the Swedish comprehensive schools feel bad due to school canteen noise levels. Children may get stomach pain; head ache or feel more stressed due to noise. The child reporter interviewed an adult regarding what you can do about it. The child concluded the interview with stating that also wall absorbers are needed! Here you can read more about it (in Swedish) and here is the checklist as a pdf.
Take the opportunity to stay in touch with the latest regarding school acoustics! The Speech and Hearing Group within the UK Institute of Acoustics (IOA) organise a meeting on speech and hearing in learning environments (29 January 2008) in London. If you want to know the programme and how to register, click here for the programme!
Markus Oberdörster and Gerhart Tiesler
The acoustic environment of classrooms has a significant impact on new modern teaching scenarios. Today, in many countries, education and teaching is becoming more student centred and differentiated. Classrooms that might have worked well for decades might have to be acoustically “updated”. Markus Oberdörster from Ecophon Germany, together with Gerhart Tiesler from ISF University of Bremen in Germany, spent years investigating the room acoustic conditions of a large amount of German classrooms. Markus talked about acoustics and teaching styles, but also questioned the relevance of Sabine’s formula in non-diffuse conditions and reverberation time as the only acoustic descriptor to use. Gerhart took this further by revealing data on how poor room acoustics has an impact on teacher’s workload, i.e. heart rate as stress indicator. The consequence of acoustically good classrooms is reducing the stressor “noise”, giving higher activation, reducing fatigue and potentially better learning results by the students.
The Speech and Hearing Group is a specialist group within the UK Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and they will organise a meeting on speech and hearing in learning environments (29 January 2008). Speech and hearing is crucial for learning in educational environments. Acoustics and noise have a direct effect on speech perception and vocal stress in the classroom etc. The meeting will be of interest to anyone concerned with providing optimal conditions for speech and hearing in schools and other learning establishments. For more details, read here!
Acoustical Society of America produced a position on the use of sound amplification in the classroom. They state that sound amplification should NOT be routinely employed in typical small mainstream classrooms. Additional comments are that sound amplification increases rather than reduces sound levels and good classroom acoustics can be achieved with good architectual design practice. Read more here!
A study on acoustic ergonomics of schools was recently published by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Dortmund/Berlin/Dresden) in Germany. It covers room acoustics of schools, teaching styles, teachers’ health and pupil behaviour. Results show that room acoustic improvements leads to better working conditions, sound pressure levels decreases, pupils’ social behaviour becomes calmer, teachers experience a lower load and noise/sound level sensitivity.
The study was conducted by Dr. Markus Oberdörster and Dr. Gerhart Tiesler, under the umbrella of the Institute for interdisciplinary school research of the University of Bremen. Its original name is “Akustische Ergonomie der Schule” and an English translation (2006) is now available.
This study can be purchased at (www.baua.de) (direct link: http://www.baua.de/nn_8514/de/Publikationen/Forschungsberichte/2006/Fb1071e.html__nnn=true) or a condensed version can be downloaded as a pdf here (Download file">Modern School Acoustics - English)
For information contact: email@example.com
Thanks to an ambitious education initiative from the Swedish government, deaf children in Banja Luka, Bosnia, were provided with cochlea implants.
As soon as they have been able to hear, the very poor room acoustics of the school became an obstacle to the children's further learning.
BB77 is meant to be guidance for school design edited by the British government. It addresses the inclusive aspects of school facilities, meaning their capacity to accommodate pupils with special needs.
The draft is a 293 page document, applying to all schools whether “special” or not.
Particularly, the Classroom Acoustics booklet is meant as "an aid in the understanding of the elements of desirable listening conditions in classrooms" (whole content available below cover page picture)
Noise reduction in day-care centres by reducing reverberation time: Analyses and case studies is a study conducted on behalf of the Canadian IRSST. The aim of the study is to:
- examine the effects of acoustic materials and their impact on noise reduction and reverberation time.
- give concrete examples of noise reduction obtained through using acoustic treatments in day-care centres;
- develop a simple method in order to assess potential noise reductions by using acoustical treatments.
How accurate are Speech Intelligibility measurements in practice?
Bristish Institute of Acoustics organises a thematic meeting on that matter 26th September. IOA writes: "Some measurements appear to be more robust than others. (...) Which metrics are most reliable?If you are involved with any form of speech intelligibility measurement or are interested in the audibility of speech in any sort of environment, then this meeting is a must."
Anders Kjellberg, Professor, University of Gävle, has been granted € 215 000 for a research project on room acoustics, cognitive load and learning in speech communication.
Besides Ecophon, the project involves several Swedish research institutions in environmental psychology, learning and room acoustics.
The main focus of the project is to see how and why long reverberation makes learning more difficult. The project will run 2006-2010.
Classroom Acoustics is a North American discussion forum for "anyone who is interested in public/private school listening and learning environments".
A recent discussion regards the acoustical contribution of drapes to classroom acoustics. Acoustician David Lubman, active member of forum writes recently that "Often children's listening needs are better served with good acoustical ceilings than with thick drapes."
Classroom Acoustics is a unique place where experts and end-users meet, exchange ideas, metods and solutions to improve the acoustics in educational premises.
"Don't limit your senses - sound and the learning environment" is now available in an upgraded German version, entitled "Mit allen Sinnen lernen : akustische Ergonomie in. Bildungsstätten".
ISBN 91-974193-4-6 and ISBN 978-91-974193-4-5
"Don't limit your senses" has been recognised over the years as one of the few comprehensive sources of information on acoustics in learning environments. Among others, it is referred to by several public authorities and government bodies throughout the world.
The Euronoise room acoustics session included 7 lectures last wek in Tampere (Finland). Important developments are taking place in that field. Promising!
"School acoustics after BB93 - practical problems and solutions" is a report compiled to assess the implementation of the British Building Bulletin 93 "Acoustic design of schools", also called BB93.
Classrooms should be designed for modern teaching styles. In a study supported by the Oticon foundation published 2002, a research team from New Zealand looks at the acoustic implications of new teaching styles, where interaction between children is encouraged besides more traditional teaching.
More and more learning is done in small groups and a high emphasis is put on incidental learning, defined as what children learn from each other through gathering information casually. This asks for classrooms that are at least as much designed to maintain low ambient speech levels as to transmit the teacher’s speech from the blackboard to the pupils’ positions.
International Standard ISO/TR 3352:1974 "Acoustics - Assessment of noise with respect to its effect on the intelligibility of speech" provides methods for measurement and assessment of noise with respect to intelligibility.
New acoustics guidelines for multidisciplinary sports facilities have been published in the Netherlands. The guidelines support principals in making the right demands in coming building projects, demands which guarantee the quality of the sporting, working and learning environment.
Authors: Markus Oberdörster (Saint-Gobain Ecophon GmbH), Gerhart Tiesler (Institut für interdisziplinäre Schulforschung)
Source: Originally released for DAGA'05, München 2005
Authors: Gerhart Tiesler (Institut für interdisziplinäre Schulforschung), Markus Oberdörster (Saint-Gobain Ecophon GmbH).
Source: Originally released for DAGA'05, München 2005
Educational premises have more and more problems with the acoustical working environment. The present study analysed the problems in four elementary schools and one secondary school. In these schools several classrooms (N=30) were analysed for reverberation time and speech transmission index. Additionally the sound pressure level (SPL) was monitored for 565 lessons. In addition all activities, relevant for noise, were registered by two observers inside the classrooms. The project was funded by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Germany (Dortmund/Berlin/Dresden). Bremen University conducted the study itself.
Do you need brief information on activities that matters from a room acoustical point of view in a classroom, or perhaps in a play- and activity room in a pre-school? Do you need an update on what reverberation times standards suggest in rooms for education?
Have a look at the 15 most common room types in educational premises today.
Or read more about why it is so important with good acoustical conditions in educational facilities.