Can Voice User Interfaces Be The New Teaching-Learning Assistants?

Can Voice User Interfaces Be The New Teaching-Learning Assistants?

Voice User Interface is a design function that allows for conversations between a human and some type of electronic device, and an answer using artificial intelligence (when a computer performs tasks typically reserved for humans).

Today's VUI is so advanced you can do it without touching or even looking at the device you're interacting with! This technology basically recognizes your speech and get back to you with results on whatever you wish to. The widespread use of this technology in the AI systems is not unknown to us. But using voice user interface alone to aid our learning and teaching practices can be a thing in itself.

Widely known Siri and the recently launched Amazon’s Alexa are of great use and if integrated in education can do wonders for both the student as well as the educator.

Let’s discuss each in the education and how effective they can be:

1. Amazon’ s Alexa:

Alexa is Amazon's voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including the Amazon Echo. It provides capabilities, or skills, that enable users to create a more personalized experience.

From training the next voice designers and developers to reinventing life on campus or in the classroom, the possibilities with voice are endless. Whether you are a student, professor, IT administrator, or ed-tech professional, Alexa can help you reimagine your world.

Let’s see how it works:

Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus are voice-controlled speakers that have Amazon's artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistant Alexa built in. They allow users to talk to the speaker to carry out tasks such playing music or setting reminders.

When we speak of using it for teaching learning purpose, the system is useful in many ways and can be used with ease.

User simply has to ask questions and the AI system will get back to you with the answer.

The simple information can be asked as easy as you would ask another person:

- Alexa, What Is The Capital Of Alaska?

- Alexa, How Do You Spell…?

- Alexa, Random Fact.”

- Alexa, What Is ____+_____? Or ____ X ____? Etc.

What needs to be taken in account is that Alexa pays attention to the user when you call her by the name!

If intrigued, read the resources mentioned below and find out how you can use Echo in the classroom.

Using The Amazon Echo Dot In The Classroom

Alexa: Your New Teacher Assistant

2. Apple’s Siri:

Siri classroom applications include anything from a quick check on the forecast to setting an alarm to remind you when the kids need to leave for recess. But when we speak of special education, Siri can be of some great use. Siri can help students who struggle with organization by scheduling activities and setting reminders. And Siri is integrated with VoiceOver — an advanced screen reader — so blind and low-vision students can ask where the nearest music store is, and hear the answer read out loud.


Your Next Read: Does Apple’s Siri Belong in the Classroom?

7 Pros And Cons Of Using Siri For Learning

We cannot deny the benefits of this technology in education, especially in special education where it can actually help learners with so many things.  But other than this, use of Voice User Interface can be beneficial for one and all. Imagine how useful this technology can be when students are on fieldtrips and they just have to ask these smart systems for all they wish to know. There is no limit to learning and these systems can give you the power of unlimited knowledge and endless learning! 

Share your take on this in the comment section below. 

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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