How to Use Amazon Echo in the Classroom.
I love new ideas and I love new methods of getting student engagement, so when I saw one of my Instagram followers (link at the bottom of the page) put a post up about how to use Amazon Echo in the classroom I had to jump on it. I mailed her and asked her to write a little review of what she does. I’m sure some of her ideas can be transposed to any age of student. I will include an Amazon link to various Echo products in this post. I am an Amazon associate so I do get a small kickback from any purchase you make through that link, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve added a good YouTube video I found at the bottom the the post. It’s got some good ideas for using Amazon Echo in it.
Hi all! My name is Kat Scantlin and I am a first grade teacher in Springdale, AR. I work primarily with English Language Learners, from a variety of backgrounds with the majority being Hispanic and Marshallese. I have a huge passion for working with students in poverty and being able to expose them to new things and technology that they might not have otherwise seen or experienced yet. I am learning to enjoy exercise and plan to run my first marathon in the fall. I just drank my first cup of coffee at Christmas (crazy I know!) and since then have become a huge fan of iced coffees and have a small addiction to gummy candies. I graduated from the University of Arkansas, and am entering into my 7th year of teaching in the fall. Go hogs!
I am here to tell you all about how to use Amazon Echo in your classroom. As I have told you already I teach at the elementary level but many of these ideas will be perfect for upper elementary or even secondary students as well.
This past year was my first year to using Amazon Echo in my classroom. I use the Amazon Echo Dot, which is a smart speaker, and I have learned some great uses for it and know I will continue to figure out even more great things it can do. Many call her Alexa, I however had two Alexa’s this year so we had to change her name- which you can do, so we referred to it as ‘Echo’. Here’s how to use Amazon Echo in the classroom.
Day of the week, time, and weather.
Everyday we tell the dot good morning, she returns the message, tells you good morning and a fun fact for the day. For example she might tell you that it is national donut day, or the date of Pearl Harbor, etc. This was a great way for us to learn something fun for the day. In first grade some got it and others didn’t but that’s ok. Then we asked her to tell us the date and weather for the day- which she reports to you out-loud! So much easier than looking it up on the internet.
Reminders and timers.
If you are anything like me your lessons are always cutting it close to recess, specials, or the end of the day. You can go tell ‘Echo’ to set reminders or timers for a certain amount of time. If it is a reoccurring thing you can have it set a timer every day for the same time by telling her or going online to your alexa account and setting it up there. There is also an app you can use to navigate settings as well.
Dice and coins.
Your Echo will also flip coins, and role a dice for jigsaw purposes or having students speak, or even teaching probability. This is a fun feature that doesn’t get used often but for sure can come in handy. I might use this more in the upper grades! It will also choose a random number from a number generator.
This one we used ALL the time – for transition music, quiet work music and more. Ask ‘Echo’ to play any type of music and she will find it or you can hook it up to any of your Pandora, Spotify or any other music streaming service and ask to play something specific.
Random facts and definitions.
Often times I just flat out don’t have the answer to a question- rather than telling the students “I don’t know” and look it up later we can ask ‘Echo’ right away. We learned lots of great facts about the rainforest this way this year. It will also tell you word definitions or synonyms if you are looking to add to your children’s vocabulary.
I would not use this all the time without fact checking and making sure it is correct but this is something that the Echo is capable of doing. We used this to listen to our numbers to 20 in Spanish this year. My Spanish speaking students thought this was WAY cool to teach our whole class to count in their language.
Joke of the day.
This doesn’t have much educational purpose but sure is fun. The jokes are simple and kid friendly and give us a good laugh everyday.
Thanks for reading,
So that’s Kat’s Review of how to use Amazon Echo in the classroom. Whilst Having an Amazon Echo unit in your classroom isn’t going to allow you to leave the room and pee/make coffee in peace (yet!) they are a fun addition to any classroom and the kids will absolutely love it!
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