Chromecast: Awesome For Homework Help… Who Knew?!

 

So I finally bought a Chromecast.

I know, I’m about YEARS behind the times on this. I’d been planning to get one for ages, and then tonight I was meandering around BestBuy and decided to take the plunge.

It was the best 35 bucks I have ever spent. As soon as I got home, my kiddo hooked it up to her laptop. She asked me to proofread her art essay. Instead of me cowering over her shoulder, stressing her out, she cast it up on our TV. I proofread and she made changes as I went! No stress, no hovering, no elbow banging discomfort, just parental homework assistance without encroaching on personal space. Frustration levels went from a typical 90 to about a 10 on her part.

Next up was Spanish homework. She has to listen to these insanely fast dialogs and translate them. On the laptop they’re fuzzy and weird and garbled sounding, but in our living room surround sound through the Chromecast HDMI connection, you can hear EVERY syllable.

Next came Math. She had a question about an equation. Instead of me having to yank the laptop out of her hand to review the question and then scribble down an answer to get my thoughts together before handing the laptop back to her (which takes forever, and takes time away from her being able to continue trying to solve the question herself) she just cast it up on the TV. While she kept working, I jotted down the solution. By the time I was done, she had already figured out the answer, and we were able to compare notes. She totally nailed it.

From a parent usage perspective Chromecast is pretty sweet too. I’m currently rocking out to Spotify through my surround sound! (Yes, the bass is shaking my entire living room.) I had been dreaming of the day that my Blu-Ray player would integrate a Spotify app, but no dice. (Aside: Is it just me or is the SmartTV/Blu-Ray Player app market moving along at a slower than snail pace? They’re KILLING me right now. And the SmartTV apps that DO exist? The UI typically makes me want to stab out my eyes with hot pokers. Let’s not even go near talking about the UX, AKA Nightmare material.)

Now I don’t have to rely on brand dinosaurs to catch up with tech… I can just cast whatever I want through my home theater. SmartTV apps are officially dead to me. πŸ˜›

As an added bonus, Chromecast UX is fab. You click the little icon to shoot things from your device to your TV, then control them with your phone/laptop/tablet. No more hunting around for the “right remote.” Also, you can plug it in to your HDMI Port, and then plug the charging cord into the Chromecast and the other end into a USB port on your TV! So no annoying cords/scrambling around to find another wall outlet to charge it! So easy!

To sum things up: Chromecast is freaking amazing and if you don’t own one, you should def run out and buy one right now. Unless you’re on the east coast… It’s 10pm here, so you may have to wait till tomorrow. But my west coasters? Gotta get on this, especially if you have kids. It’s definitely well worth the tiny investment!

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6 thoughts on “Chromecast: Awesome For Homework Help… Who Knew?!

  1. adamburr says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the great article. I’ve got some questions that I hope will help me make use of this tip.

    Can you please explain what was running on the laptop that was able to “cast” to the ChromeCast? For example, when she was writing her art essay, was she using MS Word? If so, what did you have to do to get it to cast?

    Likewise what were the other apps for the other homework subjects and did they all have casting ,options?

    Or did you cast the whole desktop, in which case what OS is running on her laptop?

    Thanks in advance!

    Adam

    • jma245 says:

      Hi Adam! She was running Google Chrome on a Windows 8 machine, the art essay was written in Google Docs (which her school uses heavily), her Spanish audio assignmet was a website with sound bites where they give blog responses translating the dialog, and the math homework was added to her Math teacher’s assignment page online. All of the casting was done right through Chrome! πŸ™‚ I cast Spotify through the Chrome browser as well! πŸ™‚ So as far as process goes, first install the Google Chrome browser on your machine, then go out to: chromecast.com/setup. If you have device specific questions, there’s a solid FAQ page out at https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/2998456?hl=en I hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    This is a great use of Chromecast indeed. I remember hating when my Mom used to hover over my desk with me, as a teacher’s double πŸ˜‰ My kids and I are very big on visualizing what we do and making both homework and house chores more fun. We use KanbanTool to manage various tasks in a colorful and clear way, and then we use KanbanTool’s integration with Chromecast ( http://kanbantool.com/integrations/chromecast ) to send the progress board to the launge tv screen.
    I would have never believed that my kids will be fighting over who is doing what, just to get to move a task card and see it happen on our TV screen.
    It’s great fun and speed things up too, just as you say.
    We’re now also using Kanban Cast at work – it’s the perfect combination of project management and an information radiator.

  3. Rebecca says:

    It’s so true, Chromecast is a fantastic user experience. It just works haha. I never thought about the homework implications, and it’s fascinating to hear how different and digitized homework is these days! Will be handy when my little is old enough. πŸ˜‰

    Now that we’ve had ours for a while, sometimes I forget I could use it. Are you still using it as regularly?

    Thanks for the great posts!

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