Congratulations to the winners of the Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills Challenge
For the first-ever Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills Challenge, Amazon Web Services (AWS) teamed up with SXSW EDU to challenge U.S.-based EdTechs on how they would use Alexa to transform education.
Out of six finalists, AWS recognized two winners: judges’ choice SayKid, the recipient of $50,000 in AWS Promotional Credit, and people’s choice VOGO Voice, the recipient of $25,000 in AWS Promotional Credit. The other four finalists will receive $10,000 in AWS Promotional Credit.
The judges’ choice: SayKid combines old-school play with new-school technology to help children learn. The Letter Game skill introduces letter sounds in individual or group settings and children play the role of teacher to help a robot learn about letters of the alphabet. SayKid entered the challenge with a specific problem to solve using voice technology: early childhood literacy.
“We knew that children who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school,” said DeLonn Crosby, co-founder and CEO of SayKid. “Early literacy skills, like phonemic awareness, start to form early in life—before most children are in school. We believe that if we can engage children that are hard to reach and build early literacy skills that are difficult to teach, we can change education. Now that most children are learning from home, it’s more important than ever that parents have tools to help children learn in a safe, natural, and engaging way.”
In the coming weeks, SayKid plans to publish their entire library of education skills to the Alexa skills store.
The people’s choice: VOGO Voice designs and builds voice skills for industries including education, civic, transportation, business, and nonprofits. The Kids Decisions skill teaches socio-emotional learning (SEL) to children and provides a safe place to make decisions and learn about character, strengths, and virtues across themes like courage, justice, and humanity. VOGO Voice entered the challenge with a goal to provide children a fun and an engaging way to learn these concepts and prepare themselves for the challenges they will face in the future.
“It is a great honor to know that the education community sees the potential in what we are making and how it can grow into something bigger,” said John Thompson, operations manager at VOGO Voice. “We also received great feedback from parents who were excited about the possibilities our skill could help with children with special needs, which was something we hadn’t considered.”
Next, VOGO Voice plans to enhance the Kids Decisions skill by sourcing more learning content from the education industry and hopes to collaborate with an SEL partner or learning company.
The Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills Challenge is going global. Stay tuned to learn more about competitions in India and Europe. For teams interested in building Alexa skills for education check out the new guide “Seven Tips for Building a Sticky Alexa Skill for Education.”