Using Amazon's Echo Dot in the Classroom: "Alexa, I Need a Teaching Assistant!" (FREE Download)

"Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes."   That's how easy it is.  For real.

When you are managing children, there are undoubtably times when you wish you had an extra set of hands.  Not to fear!  The Echo Dot is here!  

Let me tell you about how handy the Echo Dot can be for management tips, skill practice, and classroom fun! Did I mention it occasionally goes on sale for 50% off?! 😊   
{This post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend. If you purchase something using these links I may receive a small commission.}

What is the Echo Dot?

Amazon's Echo Dot is a voice-controlled, 'smart speaker.'  It can be used to listen to music, research information, call people, and control other 'smart' devices.

I think of the Dot as my personal teaching assistant.  It is a fun and engaging way to add technology skills into your classroom, during Reading or Math workshops, science and STEM activities, and even during your Morning Meetings or other social-emotional learning blocks!  

How Does it Work?

Once you have connected your Dot to your classroom Wifi and have completed the (easy-to-follow) set-up, it is very simple to use:

  • It is activated by saying "Alexa.." and then giving it a command or asking a question.  Ex. "Alexa, tell me what time it is?"  
  • When you give the command, a blue ring will light up around your Dot.  
  • "Alexa" (the search engine) will find the answer and respond promptly through the speaker.

There are oodles of Amazon Alexa skills, which can be opened up through the app or through verbal command.  (See list below)

Why Do I NEED This in My Classroom?

STUDENTS will absolutely love using the Dot (or "Alexa") to ask questions, check computation equations, find out how to spell a word, or find out what the temperature is like outside.  Download a FREE list of Classroom-Friendly Alexa Skills below!

TEACHERS will like having something that can be turned on through voice-command to help you set timers, schedule events, play music, find fast information, and act as an "assistant" when you are busy with other tasks!

Tips for Using the Echo Dot in the Classroom

1. Speak clearly: My 4 year old, who has some speech issues, has had to work very hard to make his 'commands' understood.  It has been challenging and he loved when 'Alexa' knew what he was asking for!

2. Keep a List of Questions/Commands Posted: You will want this list handy for students to use, so they know what works best in your classroom.   You should keep one close to the Dot and in any other area, where students may look for rules and procedures.

3. Create Rules Together: Speaking from experience, there will be days in the beginning when you will wonder if this was all a mistake!  Remember.. TEACHABLE MOMENTS! :)  Work through the issues with your students.  Come up with some agreed-upon ground rules for who, when, and how to use the Echo Dot.  

4. Consider Placement of Your Dot: Depending on the age of your children or students, you may want to position your Echo Dot out of reach of hands.  This way, you can disable the voice-command by pressing the microphone button; then younger children cannot reach it.  And/Or you can control the volume, using the volume buttons (although, that can be changed through voice-command, as well.)  For my third grade students, I have my Dot where they CAN access the Dot, because I want them to be able to use the action button, in case we want to bypass calling out "Alexa..." repeatedly.  At my home, however, I keep our Dot up higher on a wall outlet, so my 3- and 5-year olds cannot continuously request various things (non-stop!)  I am able to disable the voice-command by pressing the microphone button, and they have to listen to the game or song that is playing.
***We purchased this Wall Mount Holder for our Dot at home, and we have been very pleased with it!  

If you are looking for a more playful way to "hold" your Echo Dot, Amazon has some fun options!  You do not need a holder, but they sure are cute!

Our Favorite Commands/Questions We Use on Our Dot

"Alexa, please set a timer for 5 minutes."

"Alexa, what is the temperature outside?" Or, "Alexa, what is the forecast today?"

"Alexa, play .. (insert song, artist, or type of music)"
For example, I often pick Jack Johnson, Classical Music, Kidz Beats, or yoga music.

"Alexa, how do you spell (insert any word)?"  

"Alexa, add (insert event) to my calendar."  Or, "Alexa, what is on my calendar today?"

"Alexa, pick a number between (insert any two numbers, like 1 and 16.)"

"Alexa, tell me a story."

"Alexa, what is __ + __ ... or __ x ___"  (math facts)

You can also ask it to... 
Find the definition of a word
Find the synonym of a word
Tell a random fact
Count by (insert number)
Play Simon Says
Play Rock, Paper, Scissors
Flip a coin
Pick a card
Roll the dice

Amazon Alexa Skills

Here are some of the skills you can open through the app on your phone or through voice-command:  

"Alexa, open..."

Brainy Bee: Questions and quizzes on science, math and vocabulary.
Spelling Bee: Live spelling bee activities.
Word of the Day Flash Briefing: Learn a useful word, definition, and examples of how to use it in a sentence.  (NOTE: there is a "kids" version of this, with a lower rating)
Magic Numbers: K-4 Mental Math: Practice math skills through mental problem-solving.
Math Mania: Variety of math game modes, where you can choose addition-only or subtraction-only, etc.  There is even a custom mode, where you can choose the numbers you want to work with.
1-2-3 Math: Math challenges include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and more!
State Capital Game: Use to learn the capital city, which belongs to a state.
Science Buddy: 10 Science questions about earth science, physics, energy, and biology.
AskMyClass: Provides short activities for students to do as a group (mindfulness, music, mindset, calm downs, dance, countdowns, etc.)
Animal Workout: Kids get lots of movement while acting out different animals.
Curiosity: Surprise your class with information the world around you: current events, health news, history, productivity hacks, psychology, and more.
Questions Kids Have: Alexa poses a kid question and the answer behind it.  
Would you Rather: Make a choice between two situations.
CompliBot: Shares positive and encouraging messages with a dose of encouragement.
Laugh Box: Play different types of laughter (baby, sinister, etc.)
Tic Tac Toe: Play against Alexa, with verbal directions for using spaces.
Bingo: Alexa calls out bingo numbers and students say "next" or "bingo" to keep the numbers going.
Kids Animal Sounds: (for fun!) Animal sounds from around the world!
Yoga Music: An hour long session of peaceful music to listen to.  

Claim your FREE LIST of the (above-listed) Classroom-Friendly Alexa Skills, by subscribing!  

Using the Dot in your classroom is very useful and a ton of fun.   

Grab your own Echo Dot TODAY!

The Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - is CURRENTLY on sale for 50% off!  

🌟 Check out UPCOMING Prime Day Deals for Teachers! 🌟

{This post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend.}