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Amazon Alexa Skill Development

  • 1.  Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 10-31-2018 09:19

    Has anyone built an Alexa Skill app for your district?  Any recommendations for a vendor to help with this?


    My C&I department wants to build an Alexa Skill that will serve as an interactive FAQ, as well as provide information about upcoming events.



    Kevin Bogue

    Chief Information Officer

    Tyler Independent School District

    Tyler, Texas


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  • 2.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-01-2018 07:47
    We have not done this, but I would love to be a part of this development. Every district needs this.

    Joseph Lehman
    Information Specialist
    Ocean City Board of Education
    Ocean City NJ
    (609) 814-8730

  • 3.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-01-2018 08:57
    Interesting topic.  We previously haven't been able to approve Echo and other personal assistant devices because they don't take our SSL certificate for DPI and the providers told us they weren't meant for classroom use.  Have the devices been upgraded/updated to accept certificates or are you allowing the traffic to pass un-examined?

    Jeffrey Eagen
    Manager of Internet Security and Communications
    San Antonio ISD

  • 4.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-01-2018 11:42
    In our district, we don't approve personal assistant AI devices in clasrooms? I would also be interested in how these devices are passing through the district's filtering programs..

    Eileen Belastock
    Director of Academic Technology
    Mount Greylock Regional School District
    Williamstown MA
    (774) 571-3374

  • 5.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-01-2018 20:01
    This would not be intended as a classroom app, or even necessarily available in district.  I think the idea is more of a public information resource for our teachers at home.

    Kevin Bogue
    Chief Information Officer
    Tyler Independent School District
    Tyler TX

  • 6.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-02-2018 07:14
    : I work for Microsoft and this is intended to be informational only.

    Have you considered a middle ground of a Chatbot?  While it could be integrated with a personal assistant, it can also be integrated with a web page or an app.  We have a service below that makes the process pretty easy.  I'm sure other vendors have similar services as well.

    This is a middle ground between where you are today and Alexa or other digital assistants.


    QnA Maker

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    QnA Maker
    QnA Maker is an easy-to-use web-based service to train AI to respond to user's questions in a more natural, conversational way.
    View this on Qnamaker >


    Doug Thompson
    Microsoft Education Technology Strategist
    (512) 864-5940

  • 7.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-02-2018 11:07
    Our biggest reason for NOT using Amazon/Google Home type devices is that under state law we are responsible for backup/archiving all voice recordings of students. In the case of special Ed students we have to keep the recordings until the student is 18 years old.
    Currently we do not see that Amazon and google dont have the "enterprise" tools available for correctly managing these devices within our environments
    When we tested devices they could not be registered with a  "business" email this left the "individual" responsible for all data on that device. I think this limitation has since been removed
    I contacted our State and Federal education departments and there was no guidance available for the use of these devices.
    I would tread carefully when planning to deploy these devices and take a  real close look at your state data retention laws especially concerning voice and video recordings from within the classroom

    Alan Cunningham
    Information Security Officer
    Washoe County School District
    Reno NV
    (775) 789-3400

  • 8.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 11-05-2018 07:45

    The U.S. Department of Education has not issued any formal guidance on the use of voice assistants in the classroom, but their FAQ's on Photos and Videos Under FERPA provides guidance and examples of situations in which photos and videos would be considered FERPA-protected education records (the same principles would apply for audio recordings).

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued Guidance on COPPA and Voice Recordings which you might find helpful.

    In addition, CoSN has published a Member Exclusive Brief on Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom.

    Susan Bearden
    Chief Innovation Officer
    Consortium for School Networking

  • 9.  RE: Amazon Alexa Skill Development

    Posted 12-12-2018 15:01
      |   view attached
    I was at the recent SETDA conference in Arlington, VA and ran into Dr. Rich Contartesi, CEO and Founder of Ask School Data (Ask School Data). He is the former CIO of Palm Beach, Kansas City and Loudoun. 

    According to Dr. Contartesi Ask School Data based on Amazon's Alexa platform, retrieves student data on voice command and recites it aloud to an educator. It provides busy teachers with immediate access to student information by using simple "Amazon Alexa" voice commands. Teachers can make sound instructional decisions with virtually no training. It give teachers more time to focus on personalized instruction and less time dealing with ad-hoc reports and cumbersome technology. Teachers can receive student information by voice, text, or email in a secure private environment. Please see the attached for details.

    contact information:
    Dr. Rich Contartesi
    Ask School Data

    BJ Devkota
    Director of IT
    District of Columbia Public Schools
    Washington DC


    ASD FAQ’s 12012018.pdf   1.36MB 1 version