Thursday, November 5, 2015

Audio Resources in our Homeschool

I bought  a Magicbox  at the beginning of September and it has made homeschooling easier.  I am way behind the times when it comes to technology so forgive me if this post seems silly to you.  We use quite a few audio resources in the course of a homeschool day here such as Story of the World and Viva el Espanol.

I looked for wireless speakers for a while before I found the Magicbox. Most wireless speakers had a price point that was too high or reviews that were too dismal.  I paid around $25 for our Magicbox and I am happy with the sound quality.

The speaker connects to your devices via bluetooth.  I uploaded all of my audio resources that were on CD to my desktop computer.  If I turn on the Magicbox and sync it to my desktop it will play anything my computer can play and we can wander around most of the house with it.  The speaker has control buttons that allow us to stop and start or move forward and backward.

Kal-El has hit the an age where he definitely has favorite songs and wants to listen to them.  I put his music into a playlist on the computer and he can now listen to his jams while he's in his room or, when he has his brother's permission, while he does his schoolwork.  That's what he is doing in today's photo.  As you can see it's rather small which is a bonus in our crowded school room.  I wish you could plug headphones into it, but apparently bluetooth speakers don't work that way.  I might have to break down and get him some kind of mp3 player yet, but I don't know what to get that will work well and not cost an arm and a leg.

I was loving the Magicbox, but not loving having to walk to the desktop computer to switch playlists or resources.  I solved this problem by adding the free app Plex to my desktop and to my iPad.  It could be added to any of our devices.  It allows me to access our digital media stored on our desktop from my iPad.  My iPad is first generation and only has 8G of memory.  For this reason, I do not have iTunes synced to my iPad.  Our music library would eat up that memory right away and we aren't paying for cloud storage.  So, now in the school room I sync the Magicbox to my iPad and control the Magicbox from the Plex app on the iPad but can play anything even if it is only stored on my desktop.  I can switch quickly from history to Spanish and access any file I need.

I also used the Magicbox at coop last week.  I wanted to play a video of Beethoven's Ninth that had visual graphics for the hearing impaired but the volume on my iPad isn't loud enough for a classroom.  I streamed the audio over the Magicbox and it worked really well.

This was not a sponsored post.  I didn't even put in an affiliate link because my Amazon account is messed up.  I missed the e-mail notices asking me to disclose if my site was geared toward children 13 or under and now my account has been closed permanently.  (edited to add:  My account mysteriously reappeared so I did change the link to an affiliate link.  Thank you for supporting our blog.) I'm not sure how to remedy that.  Anyway, I'm just sharing about the Magicbox as always because I like it and it's helped me.  Like I said, I am not on the cutting edge of technology.  Perhaps there is a slicker way to do this.  This is the solution I've come up with for now and perhaps it will help someone.

1 comment:

  1. You are not behind the times. Why have I never thought of using ours like this? My BIL got me a Jawbone Mini Jambox last year?? Can't remember when. I like using it but I forget to turn it off and then I need to plug it in and recharge it, and then since I don't want to forget to turn it off, I forget to use it. I use it with my iphone. I don't have cell phone service for my iphone any more (switched to Samsung) but I have all our music on it, and it does streaming radio. So I just sync it with that, and I am good to make dinner. Our speaker hangs out downstairs. When I bring the iphone/ipod upstairs and plug it into that stuffed wolf we have in the corner of the classroom. It is an mp3 player, and it has speakers on it's butt. The sound is much better from the JamBox. Sometimes the music is kinda-distracting in the school room. Like people start singing along, or humming if there are no words, and then no work gets done.

    When you figure out the mp3 player thing, let me know. My kiddos are at about the same stage, where they like music, but I don't want to always have to listen to what they are listening to(itsy-bitsy-spider again, and again, and again), nor let my speaker, mp3player, what have, you go in their room. Maybe players for Christmas?