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[Classroom Technology] “Alexa, How Can You Help My Students?”

[Classroom Technology] “Alexa, How Can You Help My Students?”

We’ve all had days in our classroom where students are bored, uninterested, and untamable. Introducing your new personal assistant: Alexa (or Siri or Google Assistant or Cortana). Yes, the device you use at home to find a dinner recipe (or a drink recipe if you’ve had a long day), build a shopping list, and play your favorite song can also be used in your classroom to rein in your students! Interested in learning more? Let’s start with a few facts about virtual assistants like Alexa:

It’s hard to ignore virtual assistants like Alexa and the impact they’ve had on the world in such a short time. We’ve browsed Amazon’s massive Alexa skills library for the best skills to bring into your classroom to keep your students engaged and on task. Here are a few specific skills to bring the Alexa personal assistant into your classroom:

If you teach elementary school:

  1. Freeze Dancers: Do your students have ants in their pants? Let them burn off that extra energy from lunchtime by playing a classic game of freeze dance! This skill is certain to give your class a case of the giggles.
  2. Amazon Storytime: If you’ve lost your voice for the day or need a quick break from talking, try Amazon Storytime. The skill offers a growing collection of professionally narrated short stories for children ages 5– Take a few minutes at the end of a day to bring a short story into your classroom.
  3. The Magic Door: In this choose-your-own-adventure skill, students can explore a variety of places like the sea, a dark forest, or the rolling hills. Students will be hooked once they experience the faint music and awesome sound effects of each story. It can be hard to finish the stories in a class period, so challenge your students to write their own ending.
  4. The Queen’s Mathematician: In this skill, students will be transported to a land where the Tree Queen has been kidnapped by mischievous elves, and they will need to solve math problems to rescue her. This game is aimed at children ages 6 – 8, providing patient encouragement when a child is stumped, and it is packed with tons of child-friendly content and humor.

If you teach middle or high school:

  1. Curiosity: Curiosity is a skill that delivers interesting facts and perspectives on a variety of topics. Spark a great classroom discussion with students at the beginning or end of a class period, and let their imaginations run wild.
  2. Translated: Are you a foreign language teacher who could use a little help with translation now and again? Say no more—Translated is here to help! You can ask Alexa to translate a short sentence from English into 36 different languages. This is a great tool to help students learn a variety of fun phrases or words in the language they are studying.
  3. This Day in History: Start off your history class with a daily recollection of historical events that happened on each day of the year. This could spark some compelling conversation in your class or spur further lessons and exploration!
  4. Word of the Day: Test your students’ knowledge and expand their vocabulary with this fun quiz. Start your day off right by introducing a new word into the classroom!

With a variety of skills and topics fit for every age, virtual personal assistants offer something for every classroom! If you’re interested in becoming a tech-savvy educator with a computer helper, check out our additional list of ways to bring Alexa into the classroom!