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Instinct™ and at-home learning: Voice assistant and teaching assistant

iDevices News, Instinct™ and at-home learning: Voice assistant and teaching assistant
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Learning at home can be an adjustment for kids of all ages, and in some situations where schools are unable to offer distance learning, it falls mostly on parents. To that end, we’re passing along some smart home tips to help make at-home learning a little easier for you and your family.  

Voice assistant turned teaching assistant   

We’re balancing our jobs, home life, and to a varying extent, teaching duties for our children. This is no easy task, especially since it’s been so long since we’ve been to school ourselves.  

Solving a math problem on your own is typically easier than teaching someone else how to solve from scratch. Keeping track of time and planning out lessons is no small task – ask any teacher. And in terms of productivity and focus, creating a healthy home learning space is just as important as your home office space.      

With a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa, which is built right inside our Instinct™ smart light switch for even more convenience, you’ve got your own teaching assistant at home.  

Learning aide + lesson planner 

Alexa within Instinct can help answer questions, or assist your child with certain exercises. For that probability learning unit, they can collect data by saying “Alexa, pick a card,” “Alexa, roll the dice” or “Alexa, flip a coin.” 

Every morning, you can ask Alexa for the fact of the day and dig into the topic further as part of a lesson. For a fun and unique daily learning activity, ask Alexa for a random fact – you’ll find some fun ones that’ll bring your child down a rabbit-hole of educational opportunities. Check out this real example from Alexa; this can help you touch on a variety of disciplines, such as biology, math, and the difference in temperature units.   

“Cricket chirps can be used to determine outdoor temperature — count the number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit. To convert Celsius, count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get the temperature.” 

As part of your at-home lesson plan, expand vocabulary and spelling skills with the word of the day: “Alexa, what’s the word of the day?” 

Making up your own spelling quizzes? You can check their spelling (or they can check yours) by saying “Alexa, how do you spell (word of choice).” 

Ask for definitions, synonyms, and more, too: “Alexa, what’s the definition of (word of choice)?” 

Instead of trying to juggle a video call with your boss while timing a math quiz or vocabulary exercise for the kids, let Alexa help. Say “Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes” or “Alexa, set an alarm for 1 p.m.” to help time-block and schedule the “school” day.  

A Routine (custom automations you build in the Amazon Alexa app) can also help maintain structure. Set up a Routine that runs on weekdays only, and starts off with Alexa reciting the news or fact of the day while the lights in your home classroom area (or kitchen) turn on. Every 45-60 minutes, have a timer go off so you and the kids know it’s time to move on to a different subject, get outside for a bit, or eat lunch.  

Build their skills 

We’ve covered Alexa Skills at length in previous posts, including those for entertainment at home, and there are plenty for education, too. With over 90,000 skills available to download on Alexa devices like Instinct, there’s something for just about everything.

Depending on what you’re looking for, these Skills — like apps you download on your phone —can provide an interactive, guided, and entertaining learning experience.  

For example, Bamboo Math is a free Skill you can add to Instinct that helps teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, and addition. It includes numerical and word problems to keep those brains churning and learning.  

You can browse through the full list of educational Alexa Skills here.  

The new classroom 

From the kitchen to the living room, we all need to get creative with “classroom” space – and providing the right environment is key to focus.

Instinct is a smart speaker, not just a light switch. So you can play ambient or relaxing music to help keep the kids on task. There are even Alexa Skills, Pandora, or Amazon Music stations you can select to play white noise or nature sounds.   

Set aside a designated reading time, and with an Alexa routine or voice command, have the lights in your reading area automatically adjust. You can have Alexa turn on some great reading music, or, even play audiobooks through Audible or Kindle.  

We hope the above tips make at-home learning easier on you and the kids. If you have any questions about Instinct or other iDevices smart home products, don't hesitate to reach out to our in-house, U.S.-based customer experience at: