by Laura Zierer
From the Editor: Laura Zierer is a product development project leader at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). As part of her role, she leads a team consisting of members from various departments who are working together to investigate the use of voice assistant devices in the classroom. Laura is currently working toward her master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Here is an interesting product she and her team are marketing:
While the whole concept of voice assistants is only a few years old, these devices are making their way quickly into education and life. Dominated by Google Home® smart speakers and Amazon Alexa®-enabled devices, voice assistants marry the most natural interface—voice—with deep learning to provide answers, perform services, and even control home appliances. The opportunities for providing educational content to blind and visually impaired students are abundant!
In late September, APH launched a new action for Google Home devices. This action is based on the popular Math Flash software that combines math flash cards with fun audio feedback and a snarky personality. Math Flash for Google Home is available now and ready to use on any compatible device. If you have a Google Home smart speaker, say the wake-up phrase (“Ok Google”), then say, “Talk to Math Flash.”
Don’t have a Google Home speaker? Access the Google Assistant on your smartphone or tablet by following these steps:
Note that if you are using VoiceOver, open the Assistant app, then temporarily disable the VO speech with a three-finger double tap. To activate the microphone, use the magic tap gesture (two-finger double tap) and say, “Talk to Math Flash.” You don’t need to interact with the screen again until Math Flash closes. At that time, use the three-finger double tap to re-enable speech feedback for VoiceOver.
Have fun, and send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can continue to refine this and other skills and actions. This is our first step into these waters, and APH plans to create educational content for both platforms—Google and Amazon.Amazon Alexa is a trademark of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Android and Google Home are trademarks of Google Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. iOS is a trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.