Remote learning wasn’t a choice for many parents and students, but the good news is your smart speaker just may be able to help. Using smart speakers for remote learning can help with everything from keeping a more structured schedule to finding obscure facts for a research paper.
All of the tips below work with most Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa-enabled smart speakers, though individual skills and commands will vary.
1. Add Structure to the School Day
One of the simplest ways to use smart speakers for remote learning is to add structure to your child’s school day. Even when learning from home, it’s a good idea to keep kids on a schedule. Use your smart speakers to set alarms to help them get up on time, switch between subjects, take breaks, and start their homework.
Google Assistant devices just added the Family Bell feature for this purpose. However, you can configure Siri and Alexa to do something similar just by adding alarms and reminders.
2. Help Answer Kids’ Questions
Did your child just ask you what a word meant and you had no clue? What about a random math formula they need? No problem. Ask your favorite virtual assistant. While your kids shouldn’t use smart speakers to answer all their homework questions for them, you can use the assistants as a teaching aid to answer things you’re not sure of. Plus, kids can get extra help if you’re in another room or at work.
3. Play Focus Music
Studies have shown that the right type of music actually boosts productivity and focus. Ask your smart speaker to play focus music for your kids. Classical music and nature sounds are always helpful, though it may simply bore some kids. However, if it doesn’t distract them, let your kids listen to their favorite music, especially if the beats per minute (BPM) is between 50 and 80.
4. Learn New Words and Facts
A popular way to use smart speakers for remote learning is to add in some additional words and facts. This is especially useful if you’re trying to help your child with a specific subject, such as history, or if you want to boost their vocabulary to help with reading.
Ask your virtual assistant to teach you new words or ask for facts about a specific subject or time period. The main three assistants all have various skills, such as a skill specifically for building vocabulary. With Alexa, you can search directly on Amazon to make it easier to find and enable what you need.
5. Practice with Games
Educational games have been proven to be an effective learning tool. The great thing is your smart speaker has access to numerous educational games. All you have to do is ask your virtual assistant to play a specific type of game, such as vocabulary, trivia, math, etc.
Take game breaks throughout your child’s school day. Use this time to let them play trivia-style games based on what they’ve been learning. There are also puzzle, escape room, and board game-style games to help with general skills as well. This gives your child something to look forward to and breaks up the monotony of traditional learning.
6. Check in on Your Kids
If you’re at work, how do you know if your kids are actually doing anything? Use your smart speaker to quickly check in randomly. Echo devices have a “drop-in” feature, which works well for this. Of course, if you’re at home, you can create an intercom system with most smart speakers or even old smartphones and Bluetooth speakers if you would rather. This allows you to check in without having to constantly walk in.
7. Do Quick Research
Research isn’t always fun, but it is easier if you can just ask for what you’re looking for and write down the results. For instance, if your child’s writing a paper about mountain ranges, they can ask for quick facts about the Alps to get them started. Or, if they’re not sure what they want to write about, they can ask for topic ideas.
It’s not any different than typing in a search engine, but it may help keep them more focused on their word-processing software versus clicking random search results and getting distracted.
Take advantage of all the skills and features smart speakers offer for remote learning. Having the extra help is always useful.