Case Closed: The Mystery of the Spy Cameras


Rebecca Gluck, Staff Writer

Have you ever studied the walls of a classroom out of sheer boredom? Aside from bland posters and student projects, there are a number of strange fixtures that seem out of place and that have questionable functions.
Maybe you’ve noticed that ominous yellow light in the center of a circular black abyss mounted on the wall. It’s in most classrooms, but no one ever talks about it. So what is this mystifying object? In the spirit of investigative journalism, the Mirador Case Closed Team will courageously delve deeper into the mystery.
“We like to tell students that they are spy cameras,” Miramonte technology supervisor John Slosser said. Contrary to popular belief, these things aren’t spy cameras used to monitor the activities of students.
They are actually speakers that project the sound from the microphones teachers sometimes wear lanyard-style around their necks. The microphones are rechargeable and  are used when teachers want to project their voices in general or for students who need amplification.
Some may accept the speaker theory, but it is still shrouded in mystery. Miramonte purchased the microphones along with the control panel on the wall, the ceiling mounted projector and the projector screen as a part of an installation from Extron Electronics.
The individual price of the speakers is also unknown. When the Mirador attempted to find the price of these speakers on the Extron Electronics website, the site required a login username and password, adding to the elusive nature of the product. Perhaps there is more truth than is let on about the spy camera concept if it’s so difficult to find out basic information about these objects.
All classrooms that have the ceiling projector have the microphone capability. Almost all of these classrooms have normal speakers as well.
The technology supervisors may argue that the black speakers are specific for the microphone, but this could very well be a cover-up story. How many of us have seen a speaker that looks so menacing and out of place? Why doesn’t it have a grey, perforated cover like most speakers?
Nikki LeBoy is one teacher who is convinced of the speaker theory. “I love the microphone – I have a rather big room and I can get the attention of class easily and all students (especially the ones in way back) can hear what is happening. I have several students who have auditory issues (either learning wise or physically don’t hear as well) that keep them from sometimes hearing or understanding, so this is a great tool to help them.”
Just when the Case Closed team was starting to believe in the speaker theory, LeBoy added “I think it’s a tool that is underutilized. I love my ‘magic voice’.”
Miramonte may never know if this “tool” refers to the speaker or the spy camera, but in this case,  a “magic voice” lends itself better to a spy camera than a speaker.