BY AARON FOWLES
Have you ever gone deep into a cave and experienced absolute silence? It’s a zen moment, certainly: no light, no noise, just perfect absence.
Now, think about your classroom. Have you ever experienced anything like the vacuous silence and dark within the four walls of a school building? Since you haven’t, and nobody has, the folks over at Simply Noise have given us free access to auditory bliss.
It’s an easy-to-use white-noise generator that blocks out distractions and creates a quiet, workable atmosphere. Just adjust the volume slider to a comfortable level and you’ve got white noise. If you’re not familiar with it, white noise is sound that is equal at all frequencies, creating a base layer of noise that dulls the ambient coughs, shuffles, and chair adjustments within the classroom. It’s a great alternative to playing soft music while students work — no matter what songs you pick, you can’t please everybody, and listening to music that kids don’t like can be more distracting than regular ambient noise. It’s a difficult phenomenon to explain: adding noise to subtract noise, but it works.
When using white noise in class, I recommend not telling your students that you’re playing anything and just see what happens while they are engaged with independent work. You can experiment with brown and pink noise, too. With luck (and fewer distractions), they’ll be able to concentrate harder on their work. If you want to gauge the noise’s effectiveness, just turn it off and wait a minute.
Remember this: you must keep the noise quiet. Too much volume and you’re bombarding the kids’ sense of hearing, which will result in the exact opposite of the intended effect. Used properly, Simply Noise can give your classroom the kind noise it needs.