Although cell phones and voice command devices, like Alexa or Google Home, can be sources of distraction when it comes to studying, they can also be tools to help kids succeed.
If your child is getting a cell phone or an Amazon Echo this holiday season, there are some powerful ways to use these devices to study and stay organized.
In today’s blog, we’re sharing five ways your child can maximize homework time with a bit of help from Siri or Alexa.
1. Learn the art of calendaring
Adding assignments, tests, practices, and appointments to a calendar is key to helping students keep track of their responsibilities and plan ahead. Voice command software can be a great tool to help simplify this process, especially for students with ADHD.
Our executive function coaches regularly work with students on the process of planning and adding assignments and study time to their calendars. This is often referred to as distributed practice or spaced learning. We teach students to study for upcoming tests in short, pre-planned bursts over a period of time instead of relying on last-minute cram sessions.
While it may take a student a while to add a bunch of entries to a digital calendar each week, it takes just seconds to say, “Siri, add review time for vocabulary flashcards to my calendar on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 to 8:00 PM .”
2. Have Alexa quiz you
The practice of quizzing yourself to make your brain work hard, called self-testing, is the number one skill for the retention of information. Voice command devices can make it easy for students to quiz themselves, on certain material, before a test.
Alexa has a feature called Math Facts, which quizzes elementary students on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
It’s also easy to study for a spelling test with Alexa. You can enable the “Spelling Teacher” skill here and then say, “Alexa, ask the Spelling Teacher to create a new lesson.” Amazon will immediately email the account holder an automated form to fill out with the words you want on your child’s quiz. After the words are submitted, your child can start using the spelling quiz by saying, “Alexa, ask the Spelling Teacher to start a new lesson.”
If your son enjoys studying with flashcards, he can create his own audio flashcard deck on Alexa. Click here to hear a sample of how it works and to learn how to set up a customized audio quiz.
3. Set daily reminders for simple tasks (and reduce nagging)
Many parents who call our office are concerned about their son or daughter’s disorganization and how it impacts school and the entire family’s stress level.
Students are busy with many deadlines, personal commitments, and school responsibilities to keep track of. Your family’s voice command device can help by acting as a personal reminder system for your child.
Give it a try by saying, “Alexa, set a reminder to bring my science project to school tomorrow morning at 7 AM.” Or, “Siri, set a reminder to brush my teeth each weekday at 7:45 PM.”
4. Use alarms and timers to increase focus and stay on schedule
Timers and alarms are great tools to help kids of all ages get started on assignments and manage their time. Most voice command devices have built-in alarms and timers that are easy to use and convenient.
If your child says, “I don’t want to do my math homework.” Ask them to try the “Tolerable 10.” Here’s how it works: Set a timer through Siri, Alexa, or Google Home for ten minutes. Ask your child to focus and work as hard as they can during that time. It’s usually enough time to help get them to get over the hump of getting started.
And if you have a child who has trouble getting out of bed on time on school days, they can ask their smart device to set an alarm clock. This can help older students start building responsibility and help them better manage their own morning schedule.
5. Check for definitions and synonyms in an instant
If your child is stumped on how to spell a word or what something means, or they need a great synonym while writing, they can ask their voice command device for help. “Siri, what’s a synonym for correlation?”
High school students preparing to take the SAT can also enable a feature on Alexa to help build their vocabulary. It’s called SAT Word of the Day. Each time your child asks the device to launch the SAT Word of the Day, they will hear a vocabulary word along with the definition, spelling, and sample sentences.
Using these voice command features for studying and staying organized requires a certain degree of student responsibility. If your child needs greater accountability and help to learn proper study skills and organization, we’re here for you! Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our educational specialists.