Alexa in the Classroom is one of the coolest technology tools you can have in your classroom! An Amazon echo dot in the classroom will help you save time, and your students will be excited to use Alexa in the classroom. I personally love Alexa, and so do my students.
At the beginning of the school year when I introduce Alexa to my class, I explain exactly how she works AND the rules. You can access a record of anything and everything that is asked to Alexa. So, if you are concerned your students may have asked inappropriate or undesired questions to Alexa, go into your app and check the record.
Make sure students understand your expectations when you begin incorporating Alexa in the classroom. Yes, this device is fun and cool to use, but make sure to set clear boundaries.
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Create and use “skills” to simplify using Alexa in the classroom by using the Alexa app. I love using the Alexa app due to the fact I can assign Alexa skills, as well as many other things, from the app. Basically, you can use the app to program Alexa to do or say what you would like. There are so many alexa skills you can use in your classroom.
*Teacher Tip: Using the Alexa app, you can talk through Alexa. So, next time you are absent and have a message for your students, log into the app and talk to your students through Alexa! SCORE!
Do you currently play music in your classroom? My students and I love listening to music each day. Yes, we listen to music every day! At the beginning of each semester, I survey my students to ask for their input for our classroom playlist. Then, I give the songs a listen during free time. If the song requests are appropriate, I add them to our classroom playlist. My students LOVE when a song is played that they have requested. Of course, I also add in some uplifting and inspiration jams of my own. I set my expectations for students when I am teaching rituals and routines and remind them when needed. During tests, I do not play music, because I do not want to invite distractions in any way. Alexa can play music from your playlist or favorite station through Amazon Music.
Get students input! Allow students to recommend songs for the classroom playlist. However, be SURE to listen to each song that is recommended by students to make sure songs and lyrics are school appropriate. I often use a Google Form to keep this process organized and also keep recommendations for the future. This is just in case you are forgetful like me.
Another great feature Alexa offers is timers. This is perfect when students are working in learning centers or any other "timed" task. My students respond well to timers, and Alexa is loud enough for students to hear during center time. I also set timers with a 5 minutes warning before transitions happen. So 5 minutes before we switch from science to math, the timer goes off. This is a GAME CHANGER! Another timer goes off when the time comes for the transition.
Educate your students on how Alexa works and operates. Be sure to explain that Alexa keeps a record of what she is asked. Hopefully, this will eliminate students from asking Alexa inappropriate questions. Fortunately, this hasn't been an issue inside my classroom.
My favorite new way to implement Alexa in the Classroom is listening to podcast! My students love podcasts as much as I do and inviting Alexa to our podcast parties is a pleasure. I teach upper elementary so when it's time for my class to choose a podcast to listen to, I let them vote. I do LOTS of research before providing my class options to pick. To keep this process simple for me, I use a Google Form. This is quick, easy process and my students are familiar with Google Classroom so it's a win, win for me.
Some type of technology can be found in all classrooms. My school is lucky enough to offer one-to-one technology to students. It's important to teach students the correct way to take care of and use technology. Make sure you take the time to educate students on how to protect themselves online. Teachers can incorporate online safety when introducing Alexa in the classroom. Unfortunately, some children are handed technology but not warned about the dangers of the online world. Again, take time to teach your children about cyber bullying, and how to be safe online. Internet and technology is not going anywhere so online education is so important.