Catchbox Disposable Microphone Improves Discussions and Student Engagement in Higher Education Classrooms – FE News

New Catchbox Plus bridges the communication gap between in-person and online students in hybrid classrooms

Thursday, August 11, 2022 — Catchbox, creators of the world’s first disposable microphone, today announced the availability of the latest version of Catchbox Plus, their complete wireless microphone system. With Catchbox Plus, colleges and universities are transforming classroom engagement, especially for hybrid education environments that include both face-to-face and online students in a single course.

Hybrid learning environments, which have grown in popularity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are here to stay. Allowing students to take a course both in-person and online increases course access, but also poses challenges for student engagement. Higher education leaders and instructional designers are tasked with determining how all students can participate in rich discussions, regardless of how they attend class.

One potential solution has been ceiling-mounted microphones which are designed to pick up sound from anywhere in the room. However, they can be expensive to install and may perform poorly in larger spaces with multiple speakers and noise sources. For online students, this is confusing as they cannot easily hear their peers.

Unlike ceiling mounted microphones or handhelds, Catchbox Plus is a disposable DECT wireless microphone encased in a soft material that makes it fun and safe to pass. It’s a cost-effective and flexible technology that changes the dynamics of classroom discussions because in-person and online students can clearly hear each other. Catchbox also brings levity to classroom discussion, bringing even reluctant students into the conversation.

Catchbox Plus can be easily installed via analog and digital point-to-point connections. There is also a Pro version with a Dante™ adapter to support Audio over IP technology, which replaces physical connections with a computer network that effortlessly sends audio over Ethernet cables.

When facilitating a discussion with Catchbox Plus, the instructor wears a Clip presentation microphone and throws the Cube handheld microphone at the speaker. The speaker’s voice in class is clear and crisp for online students. In turn, online student contributions flow through the classroom speaker system, helping to connect students face-to-face and online with their instructors. Students are more likely to understand and retain teaching materials. According to a study conducted by researchers at the City University of Hong Kong, adopting a disposable microphone in a large classroom improves teacher-student and student-student interactions.

“Catchbox alters the dynamics of a typical classroom conversation to support student-powered dialogue,” says Dr. Tracey Birdwell, Indiana University’s Mosaic Initiative program director. “Because Catchbox delivers the microphone in a colored cube, it provides a visual cue to the whole class that the student who grabbed the Catchbox is speaking. So if you’re the student with the Catchbox, the class can see that it’s up to you to speak AND also hear what you have to say.

“The release of Catchbox Plus means our disposable microphone will be available to even more schools and students across the United States,” said Mikelis Studers, CEO and Co-Founder of Catchbox. “At Catchbox, we recognize the value of active discussions, and our updated product makes it even easier to transform discussions, especially for hybrid courses.”

About Catchbox

Catchbox, creators of the world’s first disposable microphone, is a pioneer in intuitive AV technology. Its products are used by Fortune 500 companies, top educational institutions and some of the world’s top live events to give everyone a chance to share what matters.

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