In the News: Teacher’s Aide or Surveillance Nightmare? Alexa Hits the Classroom

At the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education, being held in Chicago this week, several shared the ways they are using voice-powered devices like Alexa in the classroom.

As Benjamin Herold writes:

The internet-enabled devices listen to what users say, send audio recordings to the cloud, translate that information into commands, and respond accordingly—providing users with a personal digital voice assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa, which teachers are now using to help with everything from setting a classroom timer to leading a group of 3rd graders through a spelling test.

However, Herold notes:

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union are raising alarms about privacy.

“Should students be required to submit themselves to always-on voice-tracking and other third-party surveillance in order to get an education?” asked ACLU staff technologist Daniel Kahn Gillmor in an interview.

Michael Horn wrote for EdNext about how Alexa might disrupt the classroom in “Hey Alexa, can you help kids learn more?

— Education Next

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