Contributed by: Jennifer Freeman, Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Alexa is very talented! I want you to discover some of the ways that you can use Amazon’s Echo Show during O&M Instruction to teach a variety of skills. You can also use Alexa to have a little fun on a lesson on a day when the weather outside is not that great! Alexa can do so many things but some of the ways you can incorporate her into your lessons are to have students or clients practice setting timers, listen to music, look up recipes, listen to weather, calendar events, listen to movies, have Alexa tell jokes, have Alexa read stories, order an uber, create shopping or to-do lists, play games, listen to the news, make video calls, listen to a Youtube video to learn a skill or scan and order products.
The Echo Show has voiceover type accessibility capabilities that require gestures but they are explained under the settings. The accessibility features appear to interfere with Alexa herself. My students and I have been trialling the Echo Show and the voiceover accessibility feature appeared to interfere when we were trying to look up recipes. You’ll have to trial which way the Alexa Show works best for you. Alexa also has magnification capabilities and closed captions.
On a great note, Alexa was easy to set up and I was able to add the app, however an app is not required to use the device. If you student or client is unable to learn an IOS device or even gets a bit lonely, Alexa can be a great companion. It is best if you have a Amazon account with Alexa but she can operate without one.
Appropriate for ages: All
Materials needed: I was lucky enough to win the device at the recent San Diego CSUN Conference this year!
However, you can buy any of the fun speaking devices on Amazon. Here are some examples of the various speaking devices that are out there that are useful to people who have vision loss and have either high or low tech abilities.
Amazon Alexa App link: Click Here
Let Alexa tell you what she can do:
The information in this link includes how to set up Alexa: Click Here
How to utilize during an O&M lesson:
The Amazon Alexa Show is relatively self explanatory. Once a IOS device is connected to her, there are many more things that she can do. Be creative in thinking of ways to incorporate Alexa into your lessons. Some of the ways I have used Alexa during O&M lessons are as follows:
- Have her set timers or say the time particularly for individuals that have no concept of time. (see video below)
- Have her locate recipes and read them to you. Set a timer during a cooking lesson. (see video below)
- Check the weather outside before you leave for an O&M lesson.
- Have a person make a grocery shopping list using Alexa.
- Have a person order an Uber using Alexa
- Listen to Youtube videos to learn to tie shoes or about how to use a tool.
- As a reward, have your student or client pick their favorite song and learn to tell Alexa to find a new song while you are working in a quiet room. After all everyone loves music!
- Have Alexa read a story to your student. You must have an Amazon account for this.
- Play a game together.
- Have Alexa tell you joke
Here are some additional helpful links explaining all about what Alexa can do: