“Hey Siri, is it going to rain today? Alexa, remind me to pay the electric bill. Google, play Dark Side of the Moon!” Voice commands have become a natural part of most tech-savvy households. They improve accessibility and make everyone’s lives easier and more fun. Can voice command technology be incorporated into edTech? Keep reading to find out more about the purpose of voice command in eLearning. Aye, aye, Captain Siri!

What is Voice Command Technology?

Don’t worry if you’re still a little lost after the introduction’s anecdotal overview of voice commands. Voice command, or speech recognition, technology is the ability for computers to understand human speech. Since advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), the technology has gone from clunky ‘Yes’ and “No” style answers that remind more of a Magic 8 ball to sophisticated tech that could fool Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. 1950s Bell Laboratories could not have imagined a world in which it takes us a few moments to realize that the online assistant we’re chatting to in a phone queue isn’t a real-life human being.

How is Speech Recognition Different from Speech-to-Text Technology?

These two are often used interchangeably, but speech-to-text technology cannot turn commands into actions. None the less, it still has its place when it comes to transcribing speech. 

How Can Voice Commands Support Learning?

Did you know that 1.5 million children under the age of 11 have access to a smart speaker? 9 out of 10 children have a device such as Amazon’s Alexa in the home. Forget Gen Y and Z. This new generation has been called the Alexa generation. StoryCircle is an application, also known as an Alexa Skill, that can be loaded onto a smart speaker and be used to teach children how to read. A phone app gets coupled with the smart speaker and teaches using phonetics and entertainment. If the technology can teach something as essential and macro-learning based as reading, the learning potential for adults and children alike is endless.

What Type of Learners Can Benefit from Voice Commands and Speech Recognition Software?

How can Voice Command be used in Education?

The days where learning was equal to drafty libraries, busy coffee shops, and vast lecture halls are starting to be behind us. 2020 was the final push to make learning more tech-savvy and unafraid of eLearning. 

The Future of Voice Commands

Voice Commands are part of the future of edTech, for sure, due to voice being one of the most accessible ways of engaging with technology. The sky is the limit as innovation keeps pushing forward. The future may look a little like this.

  • Using AI voice technology for practical skills.
  • The AI interface becoming smarter.
  • Voice commands improving education in developing countries. 
  • Voice commands making edTech more sophisticated. 
  • Create more data about learners. 

Downsides of Voice Command

  • Accessibility: whilst many learners have access to this type of education, some do not, and this can cause them to miss out on what the technology could do for them. 
  • Distraction: when the same devices are used to learn and to play, it is increasingly difficult for even the most focused adult learner not to deviate from the topic at hand. 

Conclusion

Voice Commands have moved very far from the early days of technology. With AI becoming smarter and smart speakers becoming integrated into most households, the possibilities of using them to improve learning opportunities in both official education fields and self-education are endless. I, for one, cannot wait what the future holds. 

Hey, Alexa, make me a cup of coffee, please. Thank you!

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