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Voice-Enabled Tech

New Alexa Education Skill API Enables Voice Control of Ed Tech

Alexa devices

Amazon has introduced the Alexa Education Skill API, a new application programming interface that gives developers the ability to integrate Alexa skills into their education technology services. The skills range from K-12 (allowing parents to check in with teachers about their child's grades and behaviors in school) to higher education (enabling students to ask Alexa questions about assignments and check their overall progress in courses).

Developers will be able to incorporate Alexa skills into their learning management systems, student information systems, classroom management tools and massive open online course platforms. Students and parents will be able to retrieve information from multiple skills at the same time by only making one request.  

Through the API, Amazon is creating a voice model for common education requests, which gives developers more time to spend on specializing voice design. Kickboard, ParentSquare, Coursera, Canvas and Blackboard are currently working with Amazon to develop Alexa skills.

Each of the skills are focusing on a use case:

  • Kickboard's skill gives parents the ability to receive school communications about their child’s behavior in school.
  • ParentSquare's skill enables parents to get school messages, posts and updates with Alexa to help parents stay connected to school.
  • Coursera's skill allows students over 13 to stay updated on their coursework and check their progress for any courses they are enrolled in on the Coursera platform.
  • Canvas is improving their skill to enable customers to ask for updates on assignments and school communications for parents and students over 13.
  • Blackboard is developing a skill that includes upcoming assignments for parents and students over 13.

The Alexa Education Skill API will be available in preview by invitation only for the following interfaces:

  • Alexa.Education.Profile.Student
  • Alexa.Education.Course
  • Alexa.Education.Coursework
  • Alexa.Education.School.Communication
  • Alexa.Education.Grade.Course (coming soon)
  • Alexa.Education.Grade.Coursework (coming soon)

For more information, visit the Amazon developer site.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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