What the Tech? How to Use a Smartphone for Homeschooling
If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a shortage of affordable and mid-range laptops. Since March there’s been nearly impossible to find good web cameras for Zoom meetings.
If you’re working from home and the kids are being homeschooled because of closures, look through the house for old smartphones.
As long as a smartphone can connect to your WiFi network, it can be used as a web camera and computer. It does not need to be on your family’s cellphone plan.
Using a smartphone for meetings over Zoom or Google has a distinct advantage to using a computer and cheap web camera (which is all you can find now). Position the phone so that the student (or parent) isn’t looking directly down at the camera.
Kids (and parents) may be using the earbuds that came with the smartphone for online video meetings. That may seem fine but I’ve heard from a number of parents who say their kids don’t stay engaged with their teacher and online class.
A pair of noise-canceling headphones may help. By reducing what they can hear while sitting at the kitchen table or another room, noise-canceling headphones will make sure they can hear their teacher and nothing else.
This will cut down distractions in case the dog barks, the phone rings or someone else in the room starts talking.
If school kids need to write out a paper or answer an email while someone else is using the computer, trying to type something on a smartphone screen can be difficult, even painful (ever hear of keyboard thumb injuries?)
iClever makes a great solution. A Bluetooth portable keyboard that connects to any smartphone or tablet. The iClever keyboard is not full-size but is large enough to feel comfortable typing a long report or even answering emails.
Folded it’s about the size of an iPhone Xs Plus so it’ll fit easily in a pocket, purse, or backpack. It has customizable keys and even a trackpad. It works for smartphones and tablets.
Put that old smartphone to good use. Right now, you may need an extra computer in the house.