“Alexa, are you certified to help teach my students today?”
I’m not speaking to a student teacher in my classroom, and I’m not planning with my substitute teacher who will be in my classroom the next time I have to be off campus.
“Alexa, I need a moment. Play my rain forest sounds meditation.”
I’m speaking to my Valentine’s Day present from my wife — my Amazon Echo Dot — and I’m kind of inspired to imagine ways that she (or, is my Echo an “it”?) could help my students learn something more than the weather and traffic reports.
What really got me started thinking was a recent blog post by Dr. Bruce Ellis, Senior Director of Professional Development with TCEA, who wrote “Alexa: Your New Teacher Assistant” . In his post, he ponders both the application of voice user interface and Amazon Echo-like technology in the classroom to teach everything from literacy to math, to social studies and science and yes, even the calming music for a reflective writing assignment.
As I began to consider the possibilities, I began to imagine how it would help with ESL and maybe even special needs students of a wide variety. I have since discovered the Alexa Skills Store at which Alexa owners can equip and personalize Alexa with a huge number of specific skills related to the reason they own the Echo.
So with this post, I am hoping to do two things:
- encourage my PLN to help me curate specific uses of Echo-like technology in the classroom, and
- announce the beginning of a grand experiment in my own classroom as I buckle Alexa into the passenger seat of my car and drive her to school with me tomorrow.
Let me know if you’re trying something similar (I promise to give credit for every amazing idea we come up with together.) or even if you’re just wondering if something will work. I’ll be glad to experiment on it with you. I’ll be back in a few days, hopefully with a few amazing ideas and stories.