This week began with my bringing my Amazon Echo Dot to school and putting her (I don’t like calling her an “it”.) to work in my classroom as my teacher’s aide. The experiment is working well so far and my students and I have come up with some fun ways to get her involved in what we do. Granted, I teach ninth graders so their imagination is a little limited, and I DO have to watch more carefully to make certain that they don’t get her involved in anything not school appropriate. That being said, I honestly think that elementary students would have a lot of fun with her in the classroom.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
- She’s quick, but she doesn’t multi-task well. She functions best if we speak to her one at a time, so a few classroom guidelines are in order.
- She was super easy to connect to our school WiFi. I had expected a few issues here, given our firewall and connection policies, but those didn’t materialize.
- Her basic functions gave us lots to play with at first, but we have moved on to the Alexa Skills Store for more specific functionality.
- The first task that I assigned to her was to remind my students of upcoming assignments. I had to be careful how I worded them for clarity’s sake, but she is able to recite our homework and assignment list by being connected to my Google Calendar. (This is a fun one, and easily done!)
- For active learning events, I simply ask her to “Roll the dice!” or “Flip a coin!” and I have my pair and share activity underway.
- She is able to serve as a countdown timer with alarm when I need to control the flow of independent learning time.
- If I were an elementary teacher, I would also user for some individualized or small group literacy assignments by asking her to tell a story and inviting students to draw or illustrate what they hear as she tells the story.
Next up: I plan on using an Audible or Kindle subscription to secure audio books and working on how to engage students with a read-along.