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Speech Recognition in Classrooms

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Project Leader
Bradley, John   

This project will investigate childrenís ability to understand speech in typical classroom situations. Currently available information suggests that excessive noise and inadequate room acoustics are very common problems and will impair childrenís ability to understand spoken words in most classrooms. Because the majority of learning situations involve listening, the potential impact of excessive noise and poor room acoustics on educational development is enormous. The same factors are frequently found to lead to voice problems in teachers. The project will first assess speech and noise levels in a wide range of classrooms. It will also determine the levels of speech and noise, as well as the room acoustics conditions, which are required for children of various ages to fully understand spoken words. Finally, measurements of teacherís vocal production will be made to identify possible effects of speech and noise levels on voice quality. The results will provide a more precise and more comprehensive assessment of speech communication problems for students and teachers in typical classrooms. They will be used to derive recommendations for the acoustical conditions that optimally support unstrained speech communication and that will avoid unnecessarily stringent and costly requirements based on speculations from partial results. It is expected that this improved definition of the requirements will benefit students and classrooms across Canada as well as provide a basis for many more detailed studies of the effects of noise and room acoustics on various types of learning situations. Measurements in 43 classrooms were complete in early 2004 and papers on the new results given at the International Congress on Acoustics in April 2004.

LAST MODIFIED: June 29 2004 15:59:40

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