How can a smart speaker help my child in school?
When they’d just started growing in popularity, I bought my first smart speaker. To be honest it was out of curiosity more than anything; I didn’t really see what I’d need it for.
Fast forward a couple of years and I have one in every room and use them daily. They’re great for playing music when you’re washing up, need to pop something on your shopping list, or controlling the lights around your house from whatever room you’re in.
They’re not just handy for boring adult stuff, although dimming my lights without having to get up still fills me with glee. Children can enjoy them too, and there are more and more voice apps being created that are specifically for younger users.
As well as games that are just for fun, smart speakers can support children’s learning in a multitude of ways.
Here are a few cool things that smart speakers can do to help your child in school:
They make educational content more accessible
For children with additional needs and learning disabilities, smart speakers can be a great way to help them access and engage with learning. There is no need for a keyboard or screen which means children can get the most out of connected technology without needing to see or touch anything.
For children with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), there can also be something appealing about the reliable and consistent feedback from a computer. Children with ASC can build their confidence in their communication skills by practising conversations with these devices.
They can help with reading
Lots of children enjoy stories and we know how good this is for their language development. However, some children are not keen on reading text and some children, such as those with dyslexia, may have difficulties with this.
This is where smart speakers come into their own as with apps like Audible, your child can listen to and fully engage with a story that is read to them. Everything can be voice controlled so there are fewer barriers to accessing the stories too.
If your child also also has the book, they can read along at the same time for practice.
They encourage curiosity
As many of us will know from having a little one or knowing one in our lives, children enjoy asking questions. Having a smart speaker means that they can ask as many questions as they like, and they have the entire internet at their disposal in the response they get.
This is great for building their knowledge of the world around them and also gives them confidence in asking questions and exploring what they know. If you’re worried about what your child can access through the smart speaker, take a look at our article on smart speaker safety for some tips.
They make it easier to be organised
Smart speakers offer an easy way to set reminders and alarms for children, giving them a little more responsibility for themselves. This can help them stay focused and on task, particularly for their homework time or for limiting screen time. Using a timer rather than announcing the end yourself helps avoid you being the “bad guy”.
Timers can also be used to encourage tasks. Many parents will know only too well the battle of getting children to brush their teeth willingly and for long enough! Using a timer or a song of a certain length can help make this more fun and easy to stick to.
They encourage communication
Children can use smart speakers to practise asking and responding to questions, telling and listening to jokes, and even giving and receiving compliments.
Doing this in a comfortable home setting can build their confidence which then translates to the real world when children make friends and communicate with other people.
While still a relatively new technology, smart speakers have lots of potential benefits for your child’s learning.
As with apps and mobile devices, it’s worth doing your research to find a smart speaker that best fits your family’s needs, as well as good quality voice apps to go with it.
It’s also important to remember that as with any internet device, conversations with your child about how to stay safe online are key.
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer