Alexa Skills for Schools

Published: June 1, 2018

With the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa cloud based voice service, a whole world of interactivity between voice and technology has been opened. The key question for me however is; can we use the Amazon Alexa skills kit within schools.
With Alexa, you can build natural voice experiences that offer users a more interactive way to interact with the technology they use everyday. Using the Alexa skills kit you can add a usable skill to the Amazon Alexa device, for example, you could ask it to recite a school calendar date, or a parent could use it to monitor a child’s homework.
So how could Alexa be used within your school?

Head Teachers Blog

A Headteacher could use Alexa to create and curate a headteachers blog. From this, they would be able to do weekly updates or even daily updates on the progress of the school giving praise to children and inviting parents into the school making them far more involved.
We all know how busy parents are and we all know how busy headteachers are within a school. Using Alexa would be a quick and easy way to interact with parents without intruding on their already very busy lifestyles. Parents will be able to listen to the weekly or daily update from your school, while carrying out their other daily chores, not hindering they’re already very busy schedule. Headteachers or school Communications Officers will be able to use voice messenger apps like Sound Branch to leave brief audio notes on what is happening that day. Parents will be far more engaged with the goings on within the school and a lot less questions would be asked relating to a child’s daily activity.

School Calendar

In the future, a schools calendar will have the ability to be accessed via voice communication. Once the schools calendar has been synced with the audio technology any parent will have the ability to ask there smart speaker about upcoming events at the school. This can save the parents lots of time having to check an online web based calendar. Imaging asking a smart speaker when the next school football game was and getting an accurate response? This would dramatically reduce the time searching online calendars and ensure events are not missed.
iSAMS calendar integration with Alexa means parents can get audio notes from the school about what is going on, without any members of staff having to even get their phones or laptops out to record a single thing.
This service would be free of charge to any parent once that have a smart speaker at home at the school and would interface with any smart speaker on the market. As this technology becomes more prominent in society, more parents will rely on this form of communication. Some devices start from as cheap as £20 so it won’t exclude any demographic. The school would be charged a licensing fee based on the number of users which will allow even the smallest of schools to get this service.
Various providers of learning platforms in schools are working on integrating with smart speakers which will be used in class to help teachers workload and improve pupil performance. Webanywhere CEO, Sean Gilligan said: “We are reaching an inflection point where are Alexa echo and Google assistant are becoming quite prevalent both of mobile phones and smart speakers.”
He added “This new voice technology brings a multitude of possibilities to schools parents and children in terms of teaching and learning and communication.”

Listen to Sean Gilligan’s podcasts on this topic:

  1. Alexa Skills for Schools
  2. 10 Reasons to use Sound Branch and Voice Technology