Integrated audio enhancement technology at Methodist Ladies’ College, Kew is supporting the delivery of two of the school’s core vales: inclusion and diversity.
According to the Coordinator of MLC’s Prep to Year 12 Deaf Integration program, Ms Lynda Exell, the school places a “huge priority” on no girl being singled out. “These RedCAT units have not been introduced just for deaf or hard of hearing students,” said Ms Exell. “At MLC we don’t pinpoint technology like that. We’re all about inclusion and integration.”
After seeing the system at a conference in Vancouver, Canada in 2010, Ms Exell trialled one of the units and was keen to introduce the system as a more permanent feature of her Integration program. Despite some initial reluctance from students, the ease of use of the system was an important element in its eventual acceptance by individual students and school as a whole.
“There was a varied response initially and some reluctance by the Deaf Integration students,” said Ms Exell.
“Some students didn’t want any equipment in their classrooms because they felt it singled them out and made then appear different from their peers.”
But when a Year 9 student from the Deaf Integration program responded to a trial of the RedCAT system with an enthusiastic “I love it, I love it,” Ms Exell knew it had the potential to enhance her Integration Program.
“Having a disability is one thing but not wanting to stand out is a major consideration for young people. Teenagers especially don’t want to stand out, they despise that,” said Ms Exell.
“They want to be accepted and to ﬁt in. The RedCAT system at MLC enables us to deliver exactly that, a system for everyone. With this technology all our students beneﬁt equally, they are all delivered the same quality of audio throughout the classroom or teaching space.”
“The school adapts and changes it’s teaching delivery with each year level, depending on their needs and requirements. We have a diverse population too, and it’s crucial to deliver classes and subjects in a method that suits the needs and requirements of all MLC students.”
The RedCATs are favoured by teaching staff as well. By raising the sound level by just 15-20 decibels, teachers are able to maintain a regular speaking tone and volume within energetic classroom environments. Rather than an ampliﬁcation tool, the integrated RedCAT technology provides clarity of sound across the entire teaching space.
The success of the system at MLC has seen an increase in the number of units installed, which now includes the Junior School’s Music Department and the Junior School Library. The RedCAT system has prompted new levels of collaboration among MLC staff, with teachers openly discussing ideas and constantly developing new teaching strategies to maximise its beneﬁts for all students.
With the RedCAT sound ﬁeld devices students receive information and instruction from their teachers more clearly, rarely ask for information to be repeated, and respond promptly to instruction.
Clear audio reception is essential while students develop language skills as it directly impacts their spelling ability. The clarity of sound students receive via the RedCAT technology enables them to distinguish the syllables, diction and pronunciation crucial to successful language learning and development