How Voice Technology is Benefiting Education

Image 1 J Birch
by Janet Bolderfinn

Voice-command technology (also known as Voice First) is rapidly integrating into many industries today, and arguable poses the greatest value for education. From increasing productivity and engagement to aiding in lesson retention, current voice applications show how the technology has the potential to greatly benefit both educators and students. That’s why many schools and universities are investing in incorporating and further developing the technology into their curriculum.

Personalized and accessible education

In the age of personalization, Voice First solutions provide ways for educators to close the learning gaps between students of different levels, and help those with special needs. The ubiquity of voice-enabled devices helps students access educational materials anytime, anywhere. On another level, applications like the one demonstrated by Frontline Education at the ISTE 2018, helps educators leverage the data captured in classrooms to make real-time assessments of the students’ performances. This on-demand access is critical in creating actionable insights for educators so that they can refine their methods for efficiency, and, more importantly, identify any gaps in a students’ learning ability.

Voice-enabled technologies are also shown to benefit accessibility among differently-abled students. Augmentative communications technology that reads lessons out loud to students helps ensure that they don’t fall behind. In addition, voice recognition applications now transcribe faster than humans – which is crucial in note taking. Innovations like Genderless AI can also help introduce social values that are important in shaping young minds.

Enhanced experience

Higher education institutions are also starting to leverage Voice First technologies to add value to their students’ learning experience, both academic and non-academic.

For example, the Chesterfield Hockey Association recently announced a partnership with Tech Electronics – a company that specializes in voice and data technologies – to equip the Maryville University Hockey Center with tech solutions. The new 84,000 square-foot complex now features state of the art video and sound technology that will help the university’s athletes learn and develop. This is in line with the institute’s drive to increase the use of technology across all departments. This led to Maryville University being awarded the Apple Distinguished School for 2018-2021 due to its “track record of technological leadership in education.” Amazon’s Alexa Fund, on the other hand, is partnering with universities to encourage the integration of Voice First solutions in a myriad of ways. This year, Arizona State University partnered with Alexa to include more than 1,500 questions specific to their students’ needs. Like many other Alexa Fund partners, they also offer skill-building classes for the device.

Way forward

The adoption of voice tech in classrooms, however, is not without criticisms. In fact, concerns over the privacy of students remain the biggest barrier to widespread integration. That’s why recent developments in data privacy regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act among others are helping create a safer environment for innovation. As regulations today continue to catch up, more schools will benefit from this truly innovative technology. Tech giants Amazon, Google, and Apple are increasingly investing in Voice First solutions aimed at enhancing the education sector. EdTech startups are also stepping up to help accelerate voice tech integration into education. For instance  Bamboo Learning, which recently landed a $1.4 million seed round, is a pioneer in building Alexa skills focused on interactive learning and voice-activated curriculum. As these technologies continue to be refined, it’s not far-off that voice command applications will be a necessity to all forms of education.

Article exclusively for:

Written by: Janet Bolderfinn

About the author

ID J Birch
Janet Bolderfinn
Freelance blogger
Janet Bolderfinn is a freelance blogger, covering the latest issues in emerging technology.

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