Noise Control: Improving Classroom Concentration and Participation with Acoustic Panels
The 3 factors to maximise student learning conditions are skilled educators, good curricula and a conducive learning environment. In relation to the learning environment, external background noise has been proven to negatively affect concentration and participation. Students struggle to filter out this type of noise which disturbs their ability to focus, having a negative effect on their learning outcomes. In Australia, schools can address this issue by rethinking classroom designs, and considering ways to reduce disruptive school noise.
Designing a Classroom for Premium Sound Quality
Leading modern schools are designed with acoustic performance in mind, which is evident by trends to isolate loud spaces (gymnasium, cafeteria, auditorium, etc.) from classrooms. In keeping these away from the main learning environment, external background noise issue is minimised. Additionally, architects factor in soundproofing for these loud spaces to limit the impact of the noise.
School leaders still have viable options to improve acoustics, even if the school facilities they are working with are old and don’t have the benefit of a noise minimising design. These can range from simple acoustic panels to including reinforced insulated walls in renovations. Innovations in classroom design and furniture offer schools effective solutions to improve sound quality for better student performance.
The building materials you choose to invest in will determine the space’s ability to absorb and mute noise. Building materials with high acoustic ratings are engineered to filter most sound from being transmitted through walls, floors, and ceilings. Utilising these materials in a renovation improves the school’s overall acoustic performance.
Aside from the fundamental building materials, there are effective alternatives which can be added to existing buildings which have noise issues. One effective product is acoustic wall panelling. Wall panelling is available in a number of different ratings, thicknesses and colours, and can be installed to existing wall surfaces, creating solid noise barriers. They can also be installed in individual panels or varying shapes and colours which creates a bright colourful environment while maximising the acoustic properties of the learning environment. In addition to blocking out external noise, acoustic panels will effectively reduce reverberated noise which improves any classroom’s environment.
Passive Sound Reduction
Sound easily reverberates on hard surfaces like walls. By covering these surfaces with materials that absorb sound, you can reduce noise pollution in classrooms. Fabric, cork, and other soft materials dampen external background noises, and double up as pin boards and display surfaces. Upholstered modern classroom furniture can also contribute to a reduction in noise levels.
In addition to the walls, hard floors can similarly be covered to absorb sound. Classroom floors produce impact noise from walking, having chairs scraped across them and from other activities likely to happen during class. To significantly reduce noise, most of the floor area in the learning space should be carpeted. Should carpeting prove too costly, area rugs are an inexpensive alternative.
Students learn best when they are put in an environment where they are comfortable and can actively participate in the discussion. When classrooms are designed for acoustic performance, they are also optimised for peak learning conditions.
Helping Reduce Noise Levels at Your School
As a leading provider of innovative school and office equipment, Office Line has the expertise to help you redesign your school for improved concentration and better participation. Our classroom products, particularly our acoustic panels, are designed and manufactured to address your noise problems as well as other common school disruptors. Our team of highly skilled specialists will find you the appropriate furniture and equipment to create effective learning spaces.
- Alby Trewarn