As I was writing a post for educators selling materials and/or services online I realized the question of if smart speakers like Alexa should even be in schools was a big deal.
I broke this information into its own blog post to give some weight to this question:
Should Alexa Be in School?
This is the big question. Smart Speakers are such a new market space, but educators are asking this question right now and trying things out right now.
Twitter has an #Alexa4edu hashtag which has many posts from #ISTE18 still to check out. Ultimately you will have to decide. Make sure that you have answers to concerns about student privacy (see links to articles below).
Alexa, is it Even Educational?
Like many devices, the tool itself may not be educational unless it is used that way. By itself, this is nothing more than a browser search but used strategically this could be educational.
Alexa Skills, consider them educational voice apps for Alexa. Integration into a classroom would fall squarely on the teacher(s) of that classroom. Frankly, there are not many examples out there yet, but Amazon would like to change that.
Teachers are openly looking for classroom applications, take a tour of YouTube keyword Alexa and feel free to watch:
Does it indicate an issue if we buy a device first and then look for applications in the classroom?
Should Smart Speakers be in Classrooms?
This is a popular question. Some people are concerned about privacy issues on behalf of students. Some are concerned over the constant “listening” status of such devices. Others are concerned about the perceived disjointed act of searching for information as a student thinks about something. Here are some recent articles you may be interested in:
6/2018 How Amazon Alexa can Impact Education – Balanced
6/2018 Teacher’s Aid or Surveillance Nightmare? Alexa Hits the Classroom – CON
Spring 2018 Hey Alexa, can you Help Kids Learn More? podcast – Balanced
12/2017 Alexa, How Can You Improve Teaching and Learning? – Balanced
2/2017 Your New Teacher’s Assistant – PRO
Where do you keep your Smart Speakers like Alexa?
This is an easy technology to literally SEE where people stand. Do you have or are you considering, bringing a smart speaker into your classroom?
Does your school or district have a policy on smart speakers?
Will you be using your personal account for a smart speaker in your classroom?
I cannot wait to hear from you on this hot topic!
2018-07-28 at 8:57 am
My son has seen this and he keeps asking for one for our home and since we Homeschool and he has seen the question should it be used in school he thinks we need it as well. Although I don’t personally think we need it.
2018-07-28 at 9:44 am
We have them at home, but how we use it I don’t really see a need of it at schools? What would they use it for? We find Alexa doesn’t know ‘everything’ and sometimes can misunderstand us and react in a way unintended. I think it would just cause distraction and confusion!
2018-07-28 at 10:51 am
I think that schools should move with the times and if there is a need for it, why not? I think it’s great that children have access to technology in school!
2018-07-28 at 12:22 pm
I don’t know enough to say yes or no to having Alexa in school. I think that i depends on what it is used for. I can see an argument on both sides.
2018-07-28 at 1:28 pm
I think it’s a good idea. I think it’s something that should be looked in to.
2018-07-28 at 3:56 pm
I don’t know a lot about Alexa systems but if it can help kids learn it might be a great tool. I want to learn more about it and all its uses.
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2018-07-28 at 5:43 pm
I am ambivalent if I think this is a good idea. That said I think it should be tested before they roll it out.
2018-07-28 at 5:54 pm
We do not use Alexa at our school. I am glad we don’t. I can only imagine what some of the students may ask in their search. Even the best teacher may not be able to prevent misuse.
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2018-07-28 at 6:12 pm
That is so true! I would not want to be in that room if something went wrong. I’d look for more “parental” controls in the future.
2018-07-29 at 2:08 pm
We have a few echo dots at home but I can’t see a reason to have them in school. We use it at home to ask questions or play fun games. I don’t think it is needed at school.
2018-07-29 at 6:43 pm
My husband and son have alexa’s. Although my husband annoys me with his I really like them. I think they are really helpful if used for school things, I think it could be beneficial. But not to mess around with, play music etc.
2018-07-29 at 9:49 pm
I think an Alexa could be helpful in the classroom. It can answer questions and be a useful device as long as it is used correctly.
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2018-07-30 at 3:56 pm
My grandkids love to use Alexa and Google Home. I think schools would benefit but it could also make kids lazy. If we were ever to lose internet, kids wouldn’t know how to find information.
2018-07-30 at 10:18 pm
I actually never considered this. I do think it has it’s pros and cons in the classroom, and we have one at home my son has used a few times with homework questions… I honestly wouldn’t be against it in the classroom depending on how it’s used
2018-08-01 at 11:59 am
I’m split on this. As the world becomes more and more technology focused, we need to prepare children for it, but I definitely think there’s such a thing as too much ICT in a classroom. There needs to be a balance, and Alexa would be a step too far for me.
2018-08-02 at 4:11 am
We don’t actively used Alexa here at home and if not needed then I don’t think it should be used in schools as well.
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2018-09-20 at 2:38 am
I don’t know everything about Alexa, but I think it will depend on how it’s going to be used in the classroom. We’ve heard about the cons of Alexa at home, so I think it would be better to not let Alexa be used that often in schools, unless needed (?).
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2018-10-04 at 7:48 am
We haven’t gotten Alexa at home yet so I feel like in a lot of ways it would be wasted money to purchase one for school.
2019-05-13 at 9:02 pm
I never thought about the use of Alexa in school and I feel that students should have to learn how to study without the use of a computerized searcher. If they don’t learn the skills how will they learn to search for things in the business world!