If you are blessed enough to teach in a system where you have a teacher’s aide, assistant, or angel -- whatever you want to refer to them as -- consider yourself very lucky. Many teachers have students stacked to the ceiling it seems in classrooms with growing class sizes. Many teachers have learned to adapt by working smarter through productivity tools and measures implemented throughout the day, but what if $29.99 - $49.99 could purchase an effective teacher’s assistant you didn’t have to set up a desk, buy a Christmas gift, or get along with?
Meet Alexa; chances are you’ve probably already met her or at least have friends that shout to this Alexa in their homes. Some teachers have explored the idea of using Alexa in the classroom once the Echo Dots became very affordable in late 2016. With the addition of Skills, Alexa can do more than just pick a number, tell the weather, and roll the dice. Alexa can really help your students (and you) to be more productive and learn more everyday.
While Alexa won’t be able to help you grade papers, supervise the students while you take a much needed bathroom break, or clean up your classroom after a glitterific art activity; there are many ways Alexa can help with productivity to help you power center rotations, provide vocabulary definitions, and even provide fun facts for learning during the school day.
I have searched the 3,525 (as of December 1, 2017 when I began writing this post) Alexa Skills in the Education and Reference category on Amazon. Whew! Many were educational… but not necessarily for the K-12 classroom. But after culling through the list, testing the skills on my Echo Dot with teachers and students in the classroom here is a long list of skills to make you consider purchasing an Echo Dot for your classroom. Here is the link to the Skills Database [Google Sheets]: https://goo.gl/gFRr2D
While the Skills Database list is growing longer, I have curated 10 Skills to get you started using Alexa in the classroom today.
The New Year brings many people to make resolutions or motivation to complete tasks they've been putting off for way too long, right? [Asking for a friend.]
I like to share instructional technology, integration ideas, and best practices with the teachers I work with, but there are so many others in my PLN outside of my school system that I like to share with as well. I have given thought to shifting the purpose of this website from strictly serving as a portfolio. I've created a blog portion to be able to share ideas, post the wonderful (and credited) ideas of other hard-working educators diving into instructional technology, and to provide a forum to hopefully help others integrating instructional technology.
Hopefully by setting this professional goal to begin writing, sharing, and connecting with other educators in similar roles, I will be able to sharpen my skills as an educator and technology integration coach.
If you want to know more about who I am, you can check out my biography & portfolio areas of my website.