AWS Public Sector Blog
ACT to release a new Alexa Skill to help students prepare for the ACT test
Every year, students across the U.S. and around the globe begin preparing for college entrance exams. These tests are a key component of any student’s application to college. The ACT, a nonprofit organization that administers the ACT test, wanted to make the process of researching, studying for, and taking the ACT less stressful for students and parents. Today, they are announcing a new Alexa skill that helps guide high school students through the process of preparing for and taking the ACT.
Helping students research, prepare for, and take the ACT
With ACT’s Alexa skill, students can get personalized guidance on important details like the locations of testing centers, preparation resources, and test-taking tips just by using their voice.
When students are researching the ACT test, they can ask any Alexa-enabled device common questions like: What is the ACT? How much does it cost to take the ACT? And how many times can I take the ACT?
When it’s time to register for the ACT, Alexa can help students locate the nearest testing center, get upcoming test dates, and make sure they know what information they need to register. To make sure students are prepared on test day, Alexa can send reminders about times and locations and clarify what materials students can bring. After students complete the test, Alexa keeps them up to date on when their scores are available and how to access them.
Alexa to help students study for the ACT
Helping students learn about, register, and take the exam isn’t all ACT’s Alexa skill can do. Equally important is helping students achieve their best possible score with personalized practice. ACT’s Alexa skill connects students to ACT Academy, ACT’s free online learning tool and test practice program. Using an Alexa-enabled device, students will be able to get personalized study plans that include practice questions and educational games designed to drive mastery of content.
ACT used the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), along with AWS services, to build their Alexa skill. The skill also supports a multimodal experience, where users can get supplemental information on an Alexa-enabled screen display device along with a voice-first experience. Supported with AWS services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store and show images and videos of the instructional materials, Amazon DynamoDB for data persistence, API Gateway, and AWS Lambda for a serverless implementation of the business logic. ACT built their skill to provide a personalized learning experience with learning diagnostics and feedback.
ACT will be previewing their Alexa skill at the 2019 International Society for Technology in Education conference in Philadelphia from June 23-26. The skill is slated for public release later this year. Come check it out at booth #963.