10 things that Amazon Echo can do to help students

Tired of flipping flashcards? Alexa has your back.

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Alexa can read you the latest headlines, give you the weather forecast, and help you find a recipe to make for dinner, but did you know that your Echo device can also assist your student with homework? If you have an Amazon Echo smart speaker at home, like our favorite Echo device, the Echo (2nd Generation), your student has access to a wealth of brain-sharpening, knowledge-enhancing activities to help tackle homework assignments.

While kids probably don't need more time interacting with electronics, Alexa offers a variety of skills that can help students with their homework when parents aren't available. To enable a skill on your Echo device say, "Alexa, enable [exact name of skill]." Or, open the Alexa app, tap the menu button, and select "Skills." Browse or search for the name of the skill, tap it, and click "Enable." Here are 10 great Alexa skills that can help with homework.

1. Learn new words

Learn new words
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Students can use the Echo to prep for college admissions exams like the SAT.

From reviewing flashcards in the classroom to reading books at home, there are many ways kids can expand their vocabulary. However, did you know that Alexa can also help your kid learn new words? Students prepping for college admissions exams can use the “SAT Word of the Day” skill to familiarize themselves with common vocab words on the test. To hear the word of the day, say, "Alexa, launch SAT Word of the Day.” When using this skill, Alexa provides definitions, spelling, and sample sentences to help your student study for the SAT or with any SAT-related homework assignments.

2. Sharpen their math skills

Math
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Your student can practice basic arithmetic using the "Math Facts" skill.

Elementary and middle school students can enhance their knowledge of basic math functions by practicing with the "Math Facts" skill. Ask Alexa to "open Math Facts" and your student will be on their way to practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Honing these basic math skills can help make those pesky word problems easier to tackle during weeknight homework sessions. Skills aside, Alexa can also answer math problems if you ask her to. Just make sure your child isn’t cheating on their math homework like this 6-year-old boy, whose mom caught him asking Alexa, “What’s 5 minus 3?”

3. Memorize their ABCs

ABCs
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The "Alphabet Teacher" skill can help your child learn the ABCs.

The alphabet is one of the first things we learn as kids. Since it’s an important building block, why not use enlist Alexa to help the little minds in your house learn their ABCs? The “Alphabet Teacher” skill recites the alphabet, so your growing learner can listen along and discover how to correctly pronounce each of the 26 letters. Ready to try it? Start with this command: “Alexa, ask Alphabet Teacher to say the alphabet.”

4. Master a foreign language

Master a language
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Alexa can help your student learn a new language like Spanish.

It’s no secret that teaching kids a new language can be good for their development, but in between soccer practice and busy school days, it can be hard to find time to make that happen. While you’re busy making dinner, your student can sit down with Alexa to practice their foreign language abilities, review for Spanish class, or simply learn a new language on their own. The “SayHi” skill plays conversations in the selected language—Spanish, French, German, or Danish—and then breaks them down into learnable pieces in lessons of increasing difficulty. To begin, your child can ask things like, "Alexa, ask SayHi to learn Spanish,” or, "Alexa, open SayHi."

5. Study for science class

Science class
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The "Science Buddy" skill tests your child's knowledge of common science concepts.

Whether your child loves science or struggles with it, the “Science Buddy” skill can help them brush up on their scientific knowledge. The skill, which is based on the National Science Bowl, is made up of 10-question quizzes covering topics like earth science, biology, physics, and energy. To use the skill, say, “Alexa, open Science Buddy,” and a 10-question quiz will begin.

After each question, Alexa reads three possible answers. Each answer corresponds with a letter that your child can choose from and respond with their answer. For example: “Light years are a measure of which of the following: A. Time; B. Distance; C. Velocity.” Missed a query? Ask Alexa to “repeat the question.”

6. Discover how to spell

Spelling
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Unsure how to spell a word? Ask Alexa for help.

If your student is stumped on how to spell a word during homework time, they can call out to Alexa for help. You don’t have to enable any special Alexa skill to use this feature. All your child has to do is say, “Alexa, how do you spell tremendous?” The device will respond back by clearly stating each letter of the word. Have a visual learner in your house? Echo devices that have video screens, like the Echo Show or the Echo Spot, will also display the correctly spelled word on the screen in addition to reading it aloud.

A fun way for your kids to practice what they’ve learned is by enabling the “Spelling Bee Winner” skill. To open the skill say, "Alexa, start Spelling Bee Winner." This skill, which pulls from popular dictionaries like Merriam-Webster Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary, can help students review spelling words for any upcoming grammar tests.

7. Help them stay on task and focused

Stay on task
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Keep outside distractions at bay during study time with the "Sleep Sounds: White Noise” skill.

Distracting noises can make it very difficult to focus on writing papers or completing math homework, but it’s especially difficult to ignore distractions when the subject matter isn’t something you find incredibly interesting. If your child has a hard time staying on task, some white (or pink, or brown) noise might be what she needs. The “Sleep Sounds: White Noise” skill is made for that exact purpose, and it offers several types of noise, so there’s sure to be one that works for your kid. To begin listening to the soothing sounds, say, "Alexa, play White Noise.”

8. Impress their art teacher

Art
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Students can learn more about art history and design by using the "Art Lessons" skill.

Got a future Picasso on your hands? Or perhaps your student is a budding art history major? Alexa can help them brush up on art principles, art movements, and can provide inspiration for a painting or drawing your little artist is working on for school. Encourage your child to dig deeper with the “Art Lessons skill” on your Amazon Echo device. While you can’t ask specific art questions, this is a great skill for broadening knowledge.

9. Improve their reading comprehension

reading comprehension
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The "Bamboo Books" skill features popular children's books and includes exercises to help kids learn about the characters and plots.

No matter what type of homework your child is working on, there's a good chance that reading is involved. Your child can practice their reading comprehension skills by using the "Bamboo Books" skill. Using narrated audio, the skill teaches reading and listening comprehension through classic and familiar kids’ literature like the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter Rabbit, and more. Ask Alexa to "open Bamboo Books" to begin.

10. Grasp computer science concepts

Computer science
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Test your child's knowledge of computer science using the “Computer Science Fundamentals” skill.

Is your child interested in technology? They can improve their computer science skills by practicing with the “Computer Science Fundamentals” skill. Students can discover new computer science terms and reinforce previously learned information by asking Alexa to “tell Computer Buddy to start new game.” This skill provides useful knowledge about computer science basics that may pop up on homework, in class, or on a test.

Now, we can't promise that these Alexa skills are going to make homework time a breeze every night. But, your child can certainly strengthen their knowledge in a particular subject area by using some of these skills, which, in turn, should hopefully make the at-home assignments easier on the entire family.

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