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15 Ways to Use Alexa in Your Classroom Today!

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture


Tuesday, June 25, 11:45 am–12:45 pm
Location: 113BC

Amy Attinger   Rebecca Dwenger  
Are you using an Amazon Alexa in your classroom? Why not? We want to help you accomplish as much as you can in the classroom as well as challenge your students with innovative creation activities. We will introduce 15 productive, instructional and creative ways to use Alexa in the classroom.

Evaluate this session

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Professional developers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Amazon App
Amazon Alexa App
Google Doc
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
For Educators:
Designer
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate the variety of skills and tools that teachers can use by adding an Alexa device to their classroom. The interactive lecture will give teachers ready-made ideas that can be put into use right away in lessons and classroom activities, harnessing the power of this 21st century virtual assistant. Teachers will leave the session with digital resources related to the impact of having a virtual assistant in the classroom, and a library of commands/skills/abilities that Alexa possesses. They will also observe and experience real-world applications that they can use in their own classrooms as well as having time to collaborate with a variety of educators on future uses of Alexa.

My co-presenter and I will be using Google Slides, a projector, Alexa Echo and Dot(small but mighty virtual assistants that are controlled via voice commands), a connection to the internet, and Android/iOS apps.

The lesson plan is focused on frontloading information about Alexa and giving educators a variety of ways to be productive in the classroom, as well as, challenge their students with innovative creation activities.

We will know that we are successful when the attendees are engaged in the activities and excited about using Alexa. My partner and I have already presented this topic at ten different meetings/conferences, including an intro level presentation at the 2018 ISTE conference. Each time we have presented we have been met with excitement and requests to present at more district PD days.

Outline

5 min introduction & Icebreaker: As attendees enter the room we will have Alexa playing energetic music as we welcome and get to know our guests.

10 minutes frontloading basic Alexa skills & information: Rebecca will give background information on what Alexa is, how she operates and a demonstration of a variety of functions. The two of us will go back and forth when demonstrating and discussing applications in the classroom.

30 min of 15 new ways to use Alexa in your can use in your classroom today: Examples that fall along the SAMR and TPACK framework.

5 minutes of extras including resources on setting up Alexa devices in a classroom.

10 min wrap and questions: We will wrap up by giving the group time to collaborate and share ideas with the group. This will also be a time to ask and get questions answered. The session is fast-paced and fun.

Supporting research

Growth estimates suggest that by 2020, 75% of U.S. households will feature at least one smart speaker (Bryant, 2017) Using a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant like Alexa in the classroom/education is still very new. Since my first presentation on using Alexa in the classroom, we have seen many start-up companies like Class Alexa, as well as, schools jumping on board. Schools in America and abroad are piloting the use of a voice assistant in their schools. I think this article from Edscoop
(https://edscoop.com/voice-command-technology-alexa-how-can-you-improve-teaching-and-learning) has a good bit of information. For instance, Collin Miller, a technology administrator at Taos Academy Charter School in Taos, New Mexico says, “We’re preparing kids for the future, and we’re preparing them for their future careers.” If voice assistants are in our homes and work then we need to prepare our students for that. This article really hits on how Alexa or voice assistants are starting to be utilized in an educational setting.

Devices like an Amazon Echo offer many opportunities, but teachers need to be more trained and accepting of them in the classroom. As technology evolves, our students will benefit when educators are open to using new technology in the classroom.

Below are more articles that support the importance of this topic.

Straight from a teacher in Texas. This is a recent article where a teacher has integrated Alexa into an inclusion classroom.
https://www.aimsedu.org/2017/09/28/help-alexa/

I would like to also reference the 2017 National Education
Technology Plan Update from U.S. Department of Education. https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf "The NETP focuses on using technology to transform learning experiences with the goal of providing greater equity and accessibility (see Section 1: Learning). When carefully designed and thoughtfully applied, technology can accelerate, amplify, and expand the impact of effective teaching practices. However, to be transformative, educators need to have the knowledge and skills to take full advantage of technology-rich learning environments (see Section 2: Teaching). In addition, the roles of PK–12 classroom teachers and postsecondary instructors, librarians, families, and learners all will need to shift as technology enables new types of learning experiences." We feel this session topic supports these roles and teaching practices to transform learning experiences.

This year, AIx (https://www.csun.edu/it/aix) will focus on ways in which Artificial Intelligence can make learning accessible and engaging for all individuals. These include:
AI for Assistive Technology. AI can help all individuals through technologies such as captioning, voice recognition, and video description. One specific focus is on AI's potential to increase the accuracy and efficiency of Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech to help caption videos. Led by Dr. Li Liu from Computer Science.
AI in Teaching and Learning. AI can assist learning in various ways. This semester we are focusing on how virtual tutors can help students learn material by clarifying the questions they are asking, providing helpful answers, and removing the intimidation factor. Led by Dr. Mariano Loza-Coll from Biology.
AI for Personalized Classrooms. Virtual assistants are now commonplace in the home for controlling appliances and providing information. How might they be used in the classroom? This semester we are exploring faculty use cases for how Alexa can be used creatively in the teaching spaces and beyond. Led by Dr. Deone Zell, AVP for Academic Technology.
AI in Research. AI can further research by helping to identify patterns in all disciplines, from art to engineering. This semester, interested faculty from across campus are meeting regularly to identify opportunities for funding and collaboration. Meeting dates coming soon. Led by Dr. Crist Khachikian, AVP for Research & Graduate Studies.
AI-Jam II. This cross-disciplinary competition, held in Spring 2019, will challenge students to create applications of AI that can make learning accessible and engaging for all individuals. Students will be invited to work in teams and draw talent from all interested majors to compete for prizes and recognition.

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Presenters

Amy Attinger, Hamilton County ESC
Rebecca Dwenger, Hamilton County Educational Service Ctr.
ISTE Certified

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