There's a lot to consider when you are designing a new classroom layout, with productivity in mind as you make the best use of the space available. All of those desks have to fit into a particular area and the design has to take into account both how students interact with each other and how modern-day teaching methods are engaged. Yet even though these issues are important, acoustics could be even more significant. What do you need to know?
Traditional Methods Are Not Enough
Noise can be a huge distraction to the average student, let alone those who suffer from ADD. Acoustic issues are therefore very significant in classroom design. Any unwanted noise has to be kept to a minimum. It's not sufficient to design a classroom solely to address any visual distractions by incorporating petitions. Generally speaking, these will do very little in keeping acoustic signals in check.
One of the biggest issues is the material used to design the modern day classroom. Usually, plasterboard or gypsum is used to make the ceiling, while the walls are made of concrete and tiles are laid on the floors. The bottom line is that these will lead to reverberation and echo. When this happens children will have additional difficulty in comprehending the teacher.
Simple Measures to Consider
A certain type of acoustic treatment will definitely help to reduce echo and increase absorption. It's recommended to add "sound absorbing" ceiling, specifically designed for that purpose and a carpet layer on top of the tiles for beneficial effect. This type of approach is comparatively cheap and can be incorporated into a classroom renovation. Problematic walls can be addressed by strategically placing cabinets or bookcases along large, open areas. This will have a pronounced effect in reducing echo.
Low-frequency pollution can be tackled by putting up fibreglass panels that have been overlaid with fabric. The individual panels can be placed at regular intervals in a pattern on any bare wall.
Helping the Teacher
Some teachers may have difficulty in casting their voice in a larger classroom. In this case, measures should be taken to amplify towards the back of the room. Engineers have found that if you put ceiling tiles along the edges of a large classroom when leaving the area in the middle untreated, this will have a definite effect. Much of the noise around the periphery will be absorbed, while the gypsum board in the centre acts as a reflector to help the teacher's voice reach the students at the rear of the room.
For more information, contact acoustical consultants in your area.