Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills ChallengeTransforming education with Amazon Alexa’s voice technology

Transforming education with Amazon Alexa’s voice technology

Applications for teaching, research and industry likely to be used ‘more and more’, says edtech competition judge

A social platform helping students learn English and the creator of an educational adventure game have won awards in the Amazon Alexa Edtech Skills Challenge EMEA 2020.

The competition, open to all education technology companies, is designed to promote best practice for the emerging field of voice technology in education.

Little Bridge, a research-backed platform and social community helping children aged 6-12 learn English, has won the judges’ choice award and prize of $50,000 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) promotional credits.

Ambiently, a voice-first start-up and creator of Redemption Earth, an Alexa-based adventure game focused on saving the planet from climate catastrophe, is the people’s choice winner and claims $25,000 in AWS promotional credits. 

The other four finalists, Classlife Education, Levooba!, My School Portal and ZenTeach, will all receive $10,000 in AWS promotional credits.

The contest, launched in January by AWS, challenged EMEA-based edtech companies to use Alexa to transform education. Competitors devised innovative applications for voice technology in education, aimed at improving teaching practices, learning throughout life, continuing professional development, or administration and assessment processes.  

Emma Rogers, CEO and founder at Little Bridge, said that the challenge had inspired the company to think about how it could use voice technology.

“We've always been really interested not just in digitising traditional education, but looking at ways of using new technology and innovation to really fundamentally change education,” she said.

“So, when a competition like this comes up that is asking you to think innovatively about something, it’s like an extra shot in the arm to enable you to do that.”

Robert Moores, CEO and founder of Ambiently, said that the prize would give the company space to try out other Amazon products.

“It gives us that buffer to experiment. We want to experiment with other AWS services, such as [computer vision platform] Rekognition and [machine learning platform] SageMaker,” he said.

“We're a small start-up, we have to manage our budgets carefully…it gives us that ability to have a look at how we can use the other features of the AWS stack to enhance our products.”

Caroline Wright, director at the British Educational Suppliers Association and one of the challenge’s judges, said the judging panel was “blown away” by the “exceptionally high calibre of entries”.

“I think voice technology is going to be used more and more within our sector to good effect,” she said.

“It means you can use technology on the move as part of your everyday life while you’re doing other things. For busy families, busy academics, busy companies, you can multitask and really engage and use things effectively.” 

Find out more about the Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills Challenge EMEA 2020.

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