The Alexa Education Skill API (Preview) Allows You to Easily Create Voice Interfaces for Education Technology Applications
Marissa Mierow Sep 25, 2019
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We're excited to introduce the Alexa Education Skill API, a new set of interfaces that allow Education Technology (Ed Tech) developers to build voice experiences for parents and students 13 and older. Launching in preview today, the Alexa Education Skill API integrates with ed-tech systems such as Learning Management Systems (LMS), Student Information Systems (SIS), Classroom Management providers, and massively open online course (MOOC) platforms quickly and easily. Parents and students can request information about school work and assignments directly from Alexa without the added step of opening a skill. Simply ask, “Alexa, what did Kaylee do in school today?” or “Alexa, what is my homework tonight?” In addition, parents and students will be able to ask more detailed questions like “Alexa, how did Kaylee do on her Math test?” before the end of the year. The Alexa Education API is currently being used by Kickboard, Blackboard, Canvas, Coursera, and ParentSquare to develop their Alexa skills which will go live later this year.

“At Kickboard, we understand the importance of family engagement and the need to provide real-time access to important behavior information,” said Stefan Kohler, Chief Executive Officer for Kickboard. “Educators need multiple, innovative ways to reach and involve a student’s family members. Our voice-activated Alexa skill provides instant information for families about how their child is doing throughout the day, including not only in the classroom, but during lunch or recess.”

Skills built with the Alexa Education Skill API don’t require parents and students to invoke a skill by name, making them easy to access. They also allow parents and students to retrieve information from multiple skills at the same time through one request, making it even easier for customers to get helpful school-related information. Not only are education skills simple for parents and students 13 and older to use, Alexa Education skills are also easy to build. Because Amazon takes care of the voice model for these common education requests, Ed Tech developers no longer have to spend time specializing in voice design. Rather, they can focus on what they do best, which is sourcing the right information to parents and students at the right time.

“We’re committed to helping learners seamlessly integrate their studies into their everyday lives, and our collaboration with Amazon Alexa is another way that we are helping to enhance this experience for learners everywhere,” said Kathy Vieira, Chief Strategy, Portfolio & Marketing Officer at Blackboard.

The Alexa Education Skill API is available by invite only while it's in preview. The API has 6 planned interfaces that developers can use to surface information to parents and students via voice:

  • Alexa.Education.Profile.Student
  • Alexa.Education.Course
  • Alexa.Education.Coursework
  • Alexa.Education.School.Communication
  • Alexa.Education.Grade.Course (coming soon)
  • Alexa.Education.Grade.Coursework (coming soon)

Developers can load these interfaces just like using the audio player interface, or the custom interaction model.

We worked closely with a variety of leading Ed Tech companies to develop the Alexa Education Skill API. These developers will release skills later this year with the following use cases:

  • Kickboard: launching a new skill that allows parents to receive school communications about their child’s behavior in school.
  • ParentSquare: launching a skill that enables parents to get school messages, posts and updates with Alexa to help parents stay connected to school.
  • Coursera: launching a skill that allows students over 13 to stay updated on their coursework and check their progress for any courses they are enrolled in on the Coursera platform.
  • Canvas: updating their Canvas skill to enable customers to ask for updates on assignments and school communications for parents and students over 13.
  • Blackboard: launching a skill that will include upcoming assignments for parents and students over 13.

If you are interested in getting updates or learning more about the preview, please visit our site and sign up.