Education technology (ed-tech) was initially adopted as a way to supplement traditional teaching methodologies. Around a decade ago, ed-tech just meant playing a bit of multi-media content to showcase what was said verbally. However, in the last 5 years or so, technology began to take the centre stage. Ed-tech is now more about making teaching interactive with the help of technology. Considering the scope and the resultant popularity of voice tech, the most effective way to make learning more interactive is to use voice technology in the classroom.
Benefits of Using Voice Technology in The Classroom
Voice technology isn’t just meant to automate tasks and save time. It is also pretty useful for modernizing the way teachers and students interact with each other. Here are the major advantages of using voice technology in the classroom:
1. Voice assistants are closest to human teachers
A voice assistant like Alexa, with its human-like voice features, is the best aid a teacher can use to make learning more personal and human for the students. It has the ability to use voice modulations and express a range of emotions. For that reason, students find it easier to follow instructions from and engage with voice assistants.
2. Voice technology eliminates the need to break eye contact
Voice assistants help in overcoming certain limitations that other forms of technology pose in the classroom. For example, reading information from a device forces the teacher to break eye contact with the students. Making a voice assistant read out things helps teachers maintain a close connection with the students.
3. Voice technology reduces touchpoints and helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19
We don’t know when the world will be free of the coronavirus pandemic. We have to learn to live with it and the new normal indispensably involves reducing touchpoints. The use of voice technology in the classroom and in other areas of the school enables everyone to get work done with the help of voice commands.
For example, students can avoid touching devices in the classroom by using voice commands to operate them. Alexa in the classroom is an essential measure to contain the transmission of the virus inside the school premises.
4. Voice-enabled devices can help collect data in real-time
Voice tech devices not only help get work done, but they are also an important asset for collecting and storing data. With just one device, teachers can record students’ presentations, attendance, classroom participation, and much more. This data can then be accessed and studied at the time of periodic assessments.
Artificial intelligence in these devices eliminates the scope of human errors and biases and thus, leads to a more accurate assessment of students’ holistic behavior throughout the year.
7 Super Smart Ways To Use Voice Technology in The Classroom
Now that we are well aware of how useful voice tech can be for the education industry, here’s 7 effective ways of using voice technology in the classroom of today:
1. Ask questions and get answers immediately
Voice search can prove to be a very significant tool in enhancing the learning experience of students. Oftentimes, students have to spend a great deal of time looking for information on certain topics or get their doubts cleared. They spend hours waiting for teachers to help them or looking through their classroom material.
However, the voice search option available in smart speakers can tackle the barrier of time and provide accurate & relevant results pretty quickly. Voice search can be used to access the data that’s available on the internet.
An alternative can be to program a specific ‘Alexa skill’ or a voice-command that can be prompted to solve the queries of students using local resources and information.
2. Routine learning exercises
Many children have a tendency to avoid schools because they perceive school as more of a compulsory training center and less of a learning haven. Incidentally, some children may lose their focus in the classroom owing to the monotony of traditional teaching methods. In this situation, teachers can leverage children’s interest in the latest technology to make classroom learning more fun.
Voice-powered smart devices can be used for routine learning exercises such as memorizing spellings, learning the definition & pronunciation of a new word, translation for foreign language studies, etc.
Accordingly, voice tech helps in solving the problem of school attendance by making the learning experience more creative and engaging. In fact, it is even beneficial for playgroup toddlers who can learn about recognizing the most basic sounds through a smart-speaker.
3. Customizable quizzes and tests
One of the most important features of voice technology is that teachers can customize and train the devices as per the needs of the classroom. When using Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker, the ‘Skill Blueprints’ tool enables teachers to design specific interactions for various classroom activities.
For this, they don’t require any coding skills as the tool offers a list of readymade templates available to use. For instance, teachers can use a quiz template to design a short-term assessment quiz based on the recent topic of study. Besides, the quiz can also be shared with other students in case they have access to a similar technology at their homes.
4. Reading stories and books to students
One of the more obvious ways of incorporating voice assistants in the classroom is by asking them to read stories to students. Voice assistants have the ability to access a number of audiobooks that are available online. In addition to keeping the students engaged, this feature also reduces the strain on the throats of the teachers.
Voice technology can further take storytelling to the next level by making the stories interactive. This is possible by especially writing and programming stories that give the readers a controlling reign over the plot-lines.
5. Controlling the environment of the classroom
It is an established practice to set the tone and mood of the class with the help of music and voice technology takes it up a notch. Simple voice command is all it takes for the teachers to play music of their choice.
The teachers and students can carry on with their work while the former instructs the voice assistant to play sounds such as white noise. This can also take the shape of a fun classroom activity where students can sing and dance to music or play musical chairs, passing the parcel, and so on.
6. Contemporary learning with the help of podcasts
Voice technology can also be immensely helpful to the students engaged in remote learning and revision exercises. Teachers can record their lectures as audio-tapes and upload them as podcasts. The students can then access these podcasts by simply asking their voice assistant to download them.
These podcasts can be of great help to students during their revision and preparation exercises as they can access vital information anywhere and at any time.
Also, podcasts offer a lot of flexibility to the students, thereby encouraging them to learn at a pace that's comfortable for them. Furthermore, the absence of a screen on voice-powered smart speakers keeps the students from getting distracted frequently.
7. Teachers’ personal assistant
Besides assisting teachers in teaching activities, voice-driven devices can also act as a personal assistant to them.
Teachers are often caught up in multiple classroom management activities which take up a lot of their allotted time. Instead of paying personal attention to every detail, teachers can assign some of the tasks to voice assistants.
For instance, the devices can be used to set reminders, give instructions to the students, answer general queries, etc. Consequently, teachers will have more time on their hands to conduct classes as well as enhance their creativity and teaching skills.
Also, the school management can further leverage voice tech by replacing the PA systems in each class with a smart speaker. This will make the task of making announcements more convenient.
The Bottom Line
After the abrupt shift to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions across the world quickly adapted to leverage technology for education. Now as the world unlocks itself again, using voice technology in the classroom is gaining momentum. On one hand, it helps reduce touchpoints. On the other, it reduces manual tasks and makes learning more interactive.
However, it’s still relatively new. While using voice tech in schools does pose some privacy concerns, it’s up to the experts in the industry to find ways to make the most of it.
Ed-tech entrepreneurs recognize the potential of voice tech in the future of education. They are building voice apps and Alexa/Google Home skills to implement smart learning programs that are sure to revolutionize the education industry.