Alexa in the classroom

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Rabbitt, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Apr 26, 2018

    Does anyone use Alexa in the classroom?
    I observed one in grade one today I and was awestruck.
    "Alexa, in which state is Niagara Falls?"
    How do you spell statue?
    Alexa played their class music and favorite go noodle and brain break.
    She displayed the timer and temperature when prompted onto the smartboard,.
    When prompted, Alexa brought up websites.
    I just never thought of using one in the classroom.
     
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  3. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Apr 27, 2018

    I can see how it might be useful for high school seniors and college students, but students in the lower grades are already beginning to show signs of soft brain syndrome which Alexa would seem to exacerbate.
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Apr 27, 2018

    Would Alexa alleviate the need of students to actually learn much of the content of the elementary classroom?
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We are living in an age where information is freely available. I feel that the world of education hasn't yet caught up to that and still focuses a lot on acquisition and retention of information rather than on how to ask the right questions and sort through the results. I can see how something like Alexa could be useful, as long as, like any other resource, students are taught how to use it.

    With that said, I do have some personal concerns about privacy when it comes to these types of devices. I know that my own iPhone is always listening in, and it's more than a little creepy. A private discussion with a friend or family member where one of us might mention that we need to swing by the store to buy carrots will undoubtedly result in a grocery ad appearing right there in my next browsing session. That's pretty harmless, but it raises questions about what other things are being heard and, more importantly, whether/how they are being stored in the cloud somewhere. I don't love the idea of my private conversations living for eternity in the cloud, freely accessible to anyone with the right credentials or an arm strong enough to break in. I would have similar concerns about student privacy.
     
  6. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Apr 27, 2018

    I have mixed feelings about it. If teachers use it for the sole purpose of easing the transitions of the day I love it. However, if it is used for learning purposes and taking out learning and research, I believe it should not be used.
     
  7. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I think it could take them further. For instance, first graders cannot spell to research a topic of interest. Alexa could help them spell a word into search engine.
     
  8. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Apr 27, 2018

    Another thought is this: one of the more core areas that I notice my fourth graders have the need to work on is their perseverance and ability to try something rather than just give up. I would worry that this would exacerbate this if students are using it, especially during the elementary years.

    (That being said, for the other uses, if it helps the teacher -- great! Of course, given that privacy concerns are addressed.)
     
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  9. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Apr 28, 2018

    Yes! This is my thought. Those that already lack work ethic would use Alexa as a crutch. It may also inspire one though.
     
  10. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Apr 28, 2018

    I'm too jaded to even consider using it in the classroom, lol. After teaching ED for eight years, all I can think of are the inappropriate things that would be asked. :D
     
  11. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    And how! I think of my kids who say, after 15 seconds of looking through their 2 paragraph source material, "come help me I can't do it by myself" "this must be a bad question becuase it doesn't say anything about that in here at all I'll just skip that one". Or like the one I have this year who actually says after less than 1 minute of trying to work on math independantly "fine if you won't help me than I give up, I won't do it and I won't learn" (stomps feet and cries). This from a 3rd grade student who is at grade level and passes all tests. If he was any more enabled by being spoon fed answers I fear that his brain would literally turn to pudding
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Apr 29, 2018

    There is a time and place for everything - students need to learn to search in a consistent manner, they need to learn how to redefine their searches when one way isn't working, and they need to know that long before a computer thought for you, people wrote books which are still accessible in libraries. Of course, these wonderful books require humans interfacing with them, and one can use the index and table of contents to get to the right place in the books, but effort must be made.

    For students who are prone to give up at the mere smell of more work, I would leave Alexa on someone else's doorstep. Until students learn that perseverance is actually the magic ingredient to most success, then I would be very wary of giving them more technology that they would misuse and then blame. Perhaps there is a use for this technology with some classifications or disabilities, but I champion learning how to learn without tears for the vast majority of students. I agree with those who mentioned that the students expect instant gratification from their computers, from their teachers, and this will not serve them well if they truly want to be successful as the subject matter gets harder, more complex.

    On one hand, we talk about trying to curb cell phone use in the classroom, and on the other, we advocate including technology that marries word recognition to instant gratification. What have we done that enhances the intellectual growth for the average student in this situation? That's an honest question. If I teach a student how to use references, that student is no worse off if using voice recognition software. However, if I let my student become totally reliant on the Alexa, how will this prepare my student when faced with the need to use non digital resources (sometimes online resources are not available)? I vote for developing some self sufficiency and resilience first - i doubt that they will have any difficulty letting the computer think for them. No Alexa in my house or life. I prefer to create my own mistakes from scratch, without help from AI.
     
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  13. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Apr 29, 2018

    YEP! And they will hear it at home and bring it to school.
     
  14. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Apr 29, 2018

     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I hear so much...put the technology down.
    I also hear...we need to teach our kids to use technology for tomorrow's world.
    You are right, a time and a place.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  16. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    Apr 29, 2018

    I love my Home. If I had a classroom, I would put one in there just as my assistant, if nothing else. I like being able to vocally set timers and alarms, add stuff to my shopping list, get the temp, music, etc. I probably would mute the microphone at times, though. To each his own.
     

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