a technology coach at Alabama’s Mobile
County Public Schools who presented at
ISTE about how she has helped teachers in her district bring Alexa into their
At ISTE previously, Flowers says
she was disappointed that she did not
hear about more innovative ways to use
Alexa with students other than as a timer
during test-taking or for randomly calling
on a student in class. “I thought, ‘There’s
got to be more,’” Flowers told EdSurge.
Then Flowers learned how to develop
her own Alexa skills using Amazon Blueprints, a website that allows users to build
custom apps on the voice-enabled devices.
Her passion project took off from there.
Now she has taught teachers how to use
it across grade levels and subjects—from
kindergarten to 12th grade, from math to
One of her favorite ways is to use
‘Everybody Loves Alexa’
Echo Dot smart speakers as buzzers,
which allow students to review test
material in a game show environment.
“It’s brand new to use it this way,” Flowers
said. “It’s beautiful.”
The school has paid for the devices,
which cost between $30 to $40, and
there’s nearly one in every classroom, she
said. In the classroom, Echo Dots are con-
nected to the teacher’s account, but the
skills he or she creates—such as fourth-
grade Revolutionary War review—are
shared with students’ individual accounts.
Despite worries raised and lawsuits
filed over how Alexa devices might listen
in on users and store and share data,
Flowers says neither she nor her students’
parents are concerned about the privacy
implications, because she believes the
skills she develops are private and cannot
be accessed by anyone else.
“Everybody loves [Alexa], and everybody wants to be able to use it in the
classroom, especially when they already
have one at home,” Flowers said.
And everyone is going to be using it
for education soon, she predicts.H
Emily Tate is the K- 12 reporter for EdSurge,
a media outlet that covers the future of
learning through news and research. This
article was originally published on EdSurge
and is reprinted with permission. Copyright
2019-20 by EdSurge. All rights reserved.
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