An internet-connected console can connect to online learning platforms and educational games. This from Wired UK

In October, a Welsh pupil wrote a step-by-step guide to accessing his school’s online learning platforms via the web – and the process is pretty much the same for most browser-based learning platforms. Here’s how to repurpose your Xbox or Playstation into an educational machine.

Step 1: Get connected

Both consoles are simple. For the Xbox, press the Xbox button on the controller to open the guide, and then select “My games & apps”. Here, you need to find Microsoft’s internet browser Microsoft Edge.

The PS4’s access is similar. From the PS4 home screen, scroll to the library. Then, click on applications. If you scroll down the apps you’ll see a “www” sign circled by small dots. Click on that, and you’re online.

Both consoles can use a low-cost keyboard and mouse for web browsing – connect these through wireless bluetooth or USB.

Step 2: Search out your online learning platform

Your school will likely already have put work and lessons online, as they did last lockdown, and anything you can access through the browser on a computer you can now access through your console. Packages like Microsoft Teams are also available – just go to the website and type in your username and password.

There are also numerous other free online resources, which ParentKind has collated for your child’s needs. Try the Cbeebies site, for instance, which features games, puzzles and radio, or Oak National Academy, a government funded enterprise started by features that posts 180 video lessons each week across most subjects, ranging from reception to year 10.

Step 3: Set parental controls

If you’re redeploying your console as a learning hub, it might also be good to revisit how to set up parental controls, maybe to limit any games your child has trouble prying themselves away from.

On the Xbox One you do this through your child’s account. First, go into settings and find the family page. Now select your child’s account (if you don’t see their account, click “add a family member” and create or add an account for them.) You’ll now have access to a whole host of controls you can tailor to your kid’s needs, from privacy and online safety to web filtering.

For the PS4, use the web browser to visit account.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com and sign in with the email address you used to set up your account. Select your account in the navigation bar at the top of the screen, then select family management. Once you’ve added a child’s account, you will get a similar suite of options, from spending limits to restricting certain apps or games to daily screen time.

Step 4: Install some educational games

There are a couple of good educational games for Xbox One and PS4, as well. For any kid looking to become an astronaut, Kerbal Space Program is a rocket simulation game praised by Nasa, while in Valiant Hearts: The Great War players learn about WW1 as they help a German soldier find missing loved ones. The Minecraft Education package teaches kids everything from coding to architecture to history and culture, and the basic version of the game is available through the Minecraft Bedrock Edition.