Voice Activated Learning Devices to Enhance the Classroom Experience

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There is a surprising divide in education over the role of voice-activated learning assistants in the classroom. The uses of modern AI technologies such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Home are becoming more widespread in many students’ homes; however, using these voice assistants as an EdTech tool at a university level suggests a different tale for the higher education space. Critics of voice-activated AI devices raised some concerns over the privacy of students around the devices, and one of Amazon’s representative even went as far as to say that “[Amazon’s] voice assistant devices were not intended for the classroom [1].” In fact, both Google and Amazon similarly tell EdSurge that their voice assistant devices are focused on providing exceptional smart home experiences [1].

However, educators have found reasons to include the devices in their classroom. Some educators argue that their students will spend more time in learning environments that make use of voice assistants, and that students would—and should—know how to best operate and communicate them ethically. One educator found that voice assisted devices both helped bridge gaps as well as improved the learning experience for English Second Language students. For instance, voice assistants in any educational context provide language learners a powerful educational resource to develop their speaking and listening skills—which is something traditional search lacks [1]. Whether or not they belong in the classroom or at home, these devices have proven to provide a more engaging learning environment and help transform the way we interact with technology [2].

For more information, read the full article on EdSurge.

References

[1] T. Nazerian, “Do Voice Assistant Devices Have a Place in the Classroom,” EdSurge.com, July 11, 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-07-11-do-voice-assistant-devices-have-a-place-in-the-classroom [Accessed July 30, 2018].

[2] C. FellingHam, “Alexa’s role as the platform for educational goods will push Amazon into Educational services,” Medium.com, September 6, 2017. [Online]. Available: https://medium.com/human-learning/alexa-amazons-trojan-horse-as-an-education-platform-8e284d7e3ca0 [Accessed July 30, 2018].