Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The potential of Siri in the classroom


I am sure you already know that Apple announced that they will be releasing the iPhone 4S next week which will include iOS5, iCloud, a an improved camera, and more. 

     The new feature which I found most interesting and with the most potential in education is Siri, your humble personal assistant. 

If the demo is anything like reality, Siri will use voice recognition beyond what is achievable on any other device. Apps like Dragon Dictation translate voice to text and Google Translate will translate what you see into another language. Siri, on the other hand, will go far beyond this and be able to not only understand natural spoken language, but also provide a number of amazing services in response. 


      Many of the features that were shown in the demo will be great for any user such as the ability to find out the weather, set your alarm, reply to messages, add events to your calendar, look up restaurants, get directions and so forth. The new feature also has the ability to use voice recognition to bring up the keyboard to type what you say, search Wikipedia and look up words in the dictionary. These are the kinds of features that I think will be very powerful in the classroom, particularly for younger students, second language learners and students with special needs. 


The ability of an app to not only understand what you say but to actually make decisions based on it, will open up so many possibilities for the future development of apps for education. I look forward to seeing what comes along over the next few months. 

     When you are getting stressed in the classroom, you will always be able to ask Siri how many days until the next holiday, and get the answer.