The Austin Independent School District (Austin, Texas) did what most other school districts did at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They sent kids home with a plan to temporarily suspend lessons. When it became apparent that the pandemic would be a long-term thing, the school district started making plans to finish out the school year with a learn-from-home model.
Learning from home is not necessarily synonymous with homeschooling. For example, Austin students sent home from public schools did not completely abandon public education. They simply transferred their learning from the school classroom to the kitchen table. Local public schools still provide curriculum and other learning opportunities. They just do things online.
Homeschoolers typically provide their own curriculum. They create their own lesson plans and grade the work themselves. Thus, there is a distinct difference between learning from home and homeschooling. Nonetheless, smart home technology can enhance both.
More Online Learning
Parents and students in Austin have discovered that a lot of what now occurs in the public school classroom can be done online. In short, there has been a lot more online learning going on. The school district is aiding parents by issuing laptops to students in grades three through 12. Kids can use those laptops to login and do their work.
District-issued laptops are just the start. Families can enhance what the school district provides with their own smart home features. For example, consider the smart speaker. Vivint Smart Home says that smart speakers are the most prevalent smart home device right now.
About the Smart Speaker
The smart speaker is essentially a small computer built with speech recognition technology at its core. Devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are smart speakers. They sit on a table or counter just waiting to be spoken to. A smart speaker can fetch the weather report, read the news, answer questions, and so forth.
In the educational paradigm, a smart speaker can take the place of a teacher to some degree. Without a teacher to answer questions, students are left to find answers for themselves. A fast and easy way to do that is to ask the same questions of a smart speaker.
Of course, you cannot believe everything you find online. So it’s still up to parents to check the work their kids are doing. But that aside, the smart speaker becomes a very good classroom companion for students who are learning at home.
Setting Study Reminders
Smart speakers can also act as personal assistants to mom and dad as they seek to make sure the kids get all of their work done. Think of it in terms of setting study reminders. When you understand how easily kids are distracted, it becomes apparent just how helpful study reminders are.
Imagine a child who will take twice the required time to finish schoolwork because he is easily distracted. Imagine setting a certain amount of time for that child to spend on each subject. Let us say you are giving your child 45 minutes. You can set reminders at regular intervals to keep the child on track.
At the end of the first 45 minutes, the smart speaker tells your child that it is time to finish with math and move on to history. Another reminder to transition to science is heard 45 minutes after that. In effect, you have a smart speaker keeping track of time for your child so that your child can stay on track.
Keeping an Eye on the Kids
Kids are not the only ones to have been stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many parents whose jobs allow them to work from home have been in the same boat. This creates an interesting dynamic between two groups of individuals trying to get their respective work done.
No one knows how many Austin families have been put in this position. But it is likely that quite a few have. And in some cases, parents and kids might have to split up in order to get anything done. However, going to separate areas of the home can make it challenging for parents to stay on top of things. Enter the smart home.
A smart home equipped with wireless video cameras can be a parent’s best friend during the learn-from-home exercise. Those same video cameras that are normally used to keep an eye out for burglars can now be used to monitor kids from another area of the house.
Imagine a parent who would normally check video cameras from work during the day. Now, from her office on the other side of the house, she can check the cameras to make sure the kids are busy doing their schoolwork. There is no need to get up from her desk several times a day to go check on them. She just brings up the camera feeds on her smartphone.
A Smart Home for Smart Kids
Students in Austin look like they will be finishing school at home. The same is true in school districts throughout the country. Learning at home will be the norm at least through the end of this school year. Will it be the norm next year as well? Only time will tell.
One thing we can say for sure is that certain smart home components can make learning at home easier. Smart speakers can answer student questions and make finding information easier. They can be used to schedule study reminders, homework reminders, and so forth.
Smart home video cameras can make it easier for parents to keep an eye on the kids while doing their schoolwork. Parents can monitor their kids playing out in the backyard during recess. All the while, they don’t have to stop working themselves.
Today’s smart home can be a helpful tool in raising smart kids. As long as kids continue to learn at home, smart home technology can enhance the learning environment considerably. Perhaps that’s the motivation for you to take the smart home plunge.