This year we changed our device allocation in the elementary school to 1-to-1 iPads from kindergarten to grade 5. With that came Siri!
A couple of weeks ago one of our grade 1 teachers asked me about the role of voice assistants (primarily Siri and Alexa) in research. Her grade 1 students, while just learning the basics of research with PebbleGo, are experts in asking Siri and Alexa questions. However, theses experts had a few misconceptions – there was a consensus among the class that either Siri and Alexa were “real” or they just “knew everything”. So, I teamed up with Flynn and our elementary librarian to design and deliver a lesson to investigate Siri and Alexa as research tools. We have two primary goals:
- Students will reflect on the effectiveness of their searching techniques when using Siri, Alexa, and Google.
- Students will reflect on the usefulness of information gained when using Siri, Alexa, and Google.
We didn’t want to discount Siri and Alexa completely, but instead we want the students themselves to draw some conclusions on their effectiveness.
Last week our elementary librarian and I delivered the lesson to one of the grade 1 classes. It wasn’t perfect, but it led to some great discussion with the class and they drew some wonderful conclusions:
- Siri and Alexa are good for things like facts and information
- Siri is good at opening websites
- Siri and Alexia are good at finding out about animals and leaves
Thankfully, our grade 1 students are currently inquiring into our new school campus and that led to some fantastic questions and answers (including Alexa defining the word ‘new’ when asked about our new school campus), and helped us develop a list of what Siri and Alexa are not ideal for.
Flynn and I reflected on the lesson and made a few changes. Primarily, we wanted to further develop the assessment and reflection. We found value in the class discussion and it worked well with grade 1, but we wanted a more substantial assessment and reflection for older grades – thus the addition of a Seesaw post with reflective questions directly related to our goals.
I look forward to teaching it again with an upper elementary grade after our spring holiday.
Our unit planner
Our lesson plan
Siri image by iphonedigital on Flickr
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