Tuesday, February 23

Using SchoolhouseTeachers with BlueTooth - Teaching Family Style!

SchoolhouseTeachers has a vast array of classes that covers just about every subject and teaches to every modality.  In the past, we've talked about how to convert text-based assignments into Google Classroom for your students, but what about image or video-based courses?

You can teach family-style easily by using bluetooth!  With multiple ages, you can still teach science, geography, history, foreign language, and electives as a family, leaving math and language arts (which require building blocks to be done in a certain order) for individual work.

If needed, you can print the questions and worksheets to accompany videos, and give each student their own slim notebook.  Then, connect your computer to the television using bluetooth so that it projects the image and audio onto the larger screen.  This gives everyone a better view of the video, image, or demonstration.

Connection Options

Smart TV

Not nearly as expensive as a few years ago, the Smart TV is now an affordable option for many families.  It allows you to stream from a variety of websites, including streaming services, but also lets you access the internet browser.  You can log into your SchoolhouseTeachers account, access bookmarked classes, and then stream from there.  Also, if you'd rather, you can simply mirror your computer or tablet on the smart tv.

We started with the Smart TV because it's one of the best options, especially if you're already in the market for a new tv.  It allows you to either stream or cast; you can make a YouTube playlist and access it right there on the screen; and you can browse the internet right from the same device.  There is a lot of flexibility in use here, and the prices have come down considerably in the past few years.

Amazon Fire Stick

The Fire Stick allows you to plug into an HDMI port on your television, and then access a menu that lets you connect to your streaming channels.  This is not a good option for streaming directly from SchoolhouseTeachers, as it doesn't work that well with visiting websites, but it is good for streaming video from YouTube, Amazon Prime, or other educational video channels.

HDMI cable

If you don't have the ability to bluetooth, you can still connect via an HDMI cable, by connecting one end of the cable to your PC and one end to your TV.  This allows the TV to display as a computer monitor. It’s pretty fail safe since equipment is hard-wired, but since it's hard-wired in, you’ll need to have your computer right next to the TV.

You can also use bluetooth to stream audiobooks for the entire family when car-schooling!

Classic Wireless Speaker

This JAM speaker is tiny, so it won't be the focal point of your living room, plus it produces a great-quality sound.  You will need to be within 30 feet of the speaker, but that should be more than enough for most homes.  This is a good option for audio-only material.

How to Use Audible:

You can easily buy audiobooks through Audible on your Amazon account (no, you don't have to sign up for the subscription). When you buy an audiobook, it will appear in your 'library.' To listen, you just need to download the FREE Audible app to your chosen device. Tap to download the book, so that you can take it anywhere, even offline.

Finding Audible books:

Though not as easy as finding FREE Kindle Books, it is possible to find Audible deals, particularly if you are interested in classic literature.  You can try a subscription for thirty days, absolutely free, and get two free titles to keep (even if you cancel your subscription).  Some of my kids' favorites include The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and the Rick Riordan series.

Connecting your computer to a television is not that complicated, but it can be intimidating to the new user.  No matter what device you choose, it should include instructions and tutorials to walk you through the setup process.  And if it doesn't, you can almost always find a tutorial on YouTube.  😏 You've got this, mama!!

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