Alexa for Education: Bridging the gap between technological advancement and evolving learning needs.
Voice devices continue to gain influence. From making inroads into consumer homes, voice-controlled devices like Amazon Alexa are today slowly getting into the classrooms. Whether you are a college student, professor, education-related professional, or an IT administrator, the possibilities of how Alexa can bring in a change is limitless.
By trying to engage and integrate Alexa in classrooms, experts in educational institutions and companies that are promoting learning are experimenting in the learning environment. They are looking at Alexa as another resource that can help teachers, students and administrators.
Voice-activated devices at present are being used for admissions, provide direction to students, help them with the selection of courses, help students get familiar with the college, helping personalize learning experiences, and even give insight on teaching schedules.
From being your voice assistant that provides information on-demand to one that can disseminate data as per your analytic skills, there are a number of ways in which Alexa can be used to help in teaching and learning processes.
Schools can deploy Alexa to support teachers and improve creativity in students. Presently, it is being used by some schools to assist students with learning disabilities, to get them comfortable with technology. Being voice-activated, Alexa can help students become self-dependent and self-sufficient to solve issues without taking help from others.
Educational institutions can connect Alexa to virtual courses making it readily accessible to Off-site students. Students can also check their grades and assignments anytime.
According to Frontier Business reports, “Applying app-based technology helps students better engage with the subject matter, especially with learning modules that gamify the experience to increase productivity.”
In 2017, as per the report published by ComScore, 20% of mobile searches were by voice and by 2020 more than half of all searches will be voice-based. So making sure you’re ready to introduce it to the coming generation is at ease with this technology makes sense.
Smart, and Connected Campus
By connecting voice-enabled devices to the dorm room, student’s common room, canteen, inquiry counters or libraries, students can get easy access to all their queries related to financial aid, campus happenings, and more. If students use voice, they can use it to research their career option, higher education options, the type of courses they can select or what kind of student life is at any given institution and what are the other creative opportunities that exist?
For example, St. Louis University (SLU) has introduced around 2300 voice-enabled Amazon Echo Dot to every student dorm room and apartment on campus. They are programmed to provide answers to more than 100 questions about the college. Such as information about where the main offices are? Where are the student council meeting held? Where is the college event being held?
Developing Amazon Alexa Skills
Alexa skills are growing at a fast pace, with the figures reaching 26000 as of October 2017. Being open-source, using basic codes of Amazon tutorial, Alexa skills such as developing exam preparation apps, can be developed in five minutes using voice command.
The students or teachers can also integrate Alexa with learning management systems like Canvas, Moodle or Blackboard. This will help the students to keep track of their assignments and see if they have missed any. It will also help them to list all the grades so that the students can get an overview of their performance and try to better the weak areas
Future of Alexa in the Classroom
Although Amazon Alexa is gaining popularity and many educators are happy to use it in the classrooms, there are many that are wary of its use. Some of them argue that students will learn better and faster developing their speaking and listening to skills, and find voice-assisted devices in helping bridge the education gap that is lacking in traditional education. The future of Alexa in education looks promising, it’s inevitable that these devices will augment learning. They’re not going to replace learning. They’re going to offer another delivery mechanism of information. As it becomes a larger presence in homes, students will undoubtedly grow more familiar with voice command technology and find yet-to-be-realized applications for it.