Although I’ve been spending time with preschoolers this summer, I frequently think about my middle schoolers (crazy isn’t it?) and the beginning of the academic year in September. Recently, I have been trying to brainstorm potential tools and/or methods I can implement to improve management of my speech groups. In my earlier post I discussed the use of a stopwatch to help students become more independent in their time management abilities. That got me thinking about what can be done to manage students’ loudness. There have been frequent instances where I’ve had to remind excitable groups to “keep it down” or individual students to bring their voices down. One student, lets call him “Dennis”, has a very difficult time judging his vocal volume. Don’t worry, the first thing I checked was to see if he passed his audiological assessment, and indeed, he has. Consequently, his peers tell him to “stop yelling” or on occasion “shut up” (kids can be harsh).
This brings me to today’s post. It is a free app called TooLoud? The developers advertise this app as a tool to assist in determining environments that are potentially harmful to your hearing. For a classroom teacher or clinician this provides a great visual that aids in student management of group or individual loudness levels. A numerical value measuring the decibel (dB) is displayed along with a live line graph and sliding bar that indicates the environmental increase/decrease in noise.
|Live line graph provides real-time representation of noise|
TooLoud? can be calibrated to establish a baseline, as it recommends you set its slider in a room that measures 25dB.
|The app prompts you to calibrate in a silent room|
Levels of loudness that are deemed “dangerous” or too loud are indicated by a red line graph and bar. Additionally, a warning will appear on the screen.
|When the app detects it is too loud, red will appear, along with this warning|
To serve as motivation, I plan on offering a reward to individuals or groups who are able to stay out of the “red” for the duration of their therapy session. TooLoud? can also be used to have students “catch” or point out when their peer is in the red.
Not only do the visuals provided by this app help students to monitor and manage their own loudness, but they serve to increase their awareness about noise in general. After using this a few sessions my hope is that “Dennis” and his peers will be more cognizant of not only their loudness, but safe listening habits
TooLoud? is available for download to the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. For those of you have a projector in your possesion, the iPad can be easily connected and projected onto a screen/wall. Unfortunarely, I have an Android operating system on my phone and am unable to access this app on it. I guess I’ll be using my iPad for now!