Teaching & Learning

Alexa: Your Classroom Assistant

Amazon’s Alexa is here to help

Need a little help in your classroom? Someone to keep track of your classroom schedule, remind you to give a quiz, or read a book to students?

Help is here — and her name is Alexa.

Alexa is Amazon’s virtual assistant that works with their line of Echo voice-activated, Internet-connected smart speakers. Named after the ancient library of Alexandria, Alexa allows you to ask questions and make requests using just your voice. It’s like having a Star Trek computer inside your classroom. Here are just a few examples of what you can ask Alexa to do.

“Alexa, how do you spell ___?”
“Alexa, remind me to ___.”
“Alexa, what is the definition of ___?”
“Alexa, what is a synonym for___?”
“Alexa, what is the weather today?”
“Alexa, what is my schedule today?”
“Alexa, set a timer for .”
Alexa, read ___ book.”
“ Alexa, what is ___ plus ___?” (Or minus, times, etc.)
“Alexa, pick a number between ___ and ___ .”
“Alexa, play ___ music.”

Along with impressive out-of-the-box commands you can ask, there are 70,000 more skills you can add to extend Alexa’s capabilities. Just go to Amazon.com and search Alexa Skills to link to your account. On the following page are a few popular ones for the classroom.


Echo Chamber

Get started by purchasing an Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo speaker:

Echo Dot
($29.99)
Amazon’s most popular smart speaker, with new fabric design, and improved speaker for richer and louder sound.

Echo
($89.99)
Powerful speakers with Dolby technology play 360-degree audio with clear vocals and dynamic bass response.

Echo Dot Kids Edition
($69.99)
Just ask and Alexa will play music, answer questions, read stories, tell jokes, and more — all with younger ears in mind. The Kids Edition, pictured above, filters out explicit lyrics on Amazon Music and disables voice purchasing, news, and adult-themed question- and-answer scenarios. It’s more durable and comes with a year of FreeTime Unlimited, which gives you access to thousands of books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games.


Heads Up by Ellen DeGeneres
Fun and hilarious game that the comic actor plays on her show. She’ll provide clues to help you guess the word on the card, from naming celebrities to identifying your favorite movies. Guess the word before the timer runs out!

National Geographic Geo Quiz
Put your kids’ geography knowledge to the test. Only the first try counts, but you can repeat the questions as many times as you’d like each day for practice. Six new questions are released every day.

This Day in History
Check in with Alexa to find out about the historical events that happened on this day and every day of the year.

Amazon Storytime
A collection of more than 100 short stories featuring lively full-cast recordings. Turn any time into story time with this free Alexa skill for kids ages 5-12.

The Queen’s Mathematician
Kids use early elementary math facts, solve word problems, and stretch their imaginations and vocabularies in a quirky tree house castle full of surprises and kid-friendly humor.

AskMyClass
Set up askMyClass to give your students a morning message, reflective question, writing prompt, math word problem, dance breaks, and music countdowns. AskMyClass allows teachers more time for planning and instruction, while saving effort in looking for new ideas.

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