Engaging Ways to Practice English with Voice Assistants.

          “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”

— Vernon Howard.

Mobile learning and advances in artificial intelligence mean most of the world has access to virtual voice assistants. Many of our learners know you can ask Siri, Alexa, and Google questions and receive a verbal response. Some of our learners might also have a device at home that helps them turn these virtual assistants into digital butlers. The devices allow people to command Alexa and Google to complete tasks such as ordering groceries, turning on the lights, and playing their favourite music playlists.

Encourage your students to practice English daily with their voice assistants. Continuous practice with voice activated technology will help your language learners enhance their speaking and listening skills while they are learning English in an engaging way. Remember that with each command you need to start with “Hey Google/Siri/Alexa.”

Writing & Editing Assistant

 Voice assistants make the writing and editing process more engaging. When editing their own writing or the writing of their peers, encourage students to use their voice assistants to check the spelling of words by asking Siri, Alexa, or Google, “How do you spell ____?” Students can also ask for synonyms or antonyms of words by asking, “What are synonyms/antonyms for ____?” Students can even ask grammar questions and be led to a website with more information and examples.

Reading & Research Buddy

 Encourage students to use voice assistants to help provide them with context, research, and help when they read. When students come across words they aren’t familiar with, they can ask Siri, Alexa, or Google, “What is the definition for ____?” They can also translate words with the command, “Translate ___ into ____ (language).”

Interactive Fun

 Students can play interactive speaking games with their virtual assistants by downloading the free Google Assistant on Android or iOS devices. On the app try the following interactive activities:

Google Voice Experiments

 Google is encouraging coders to test the abilities of voice interaction technology with Voice Experiments .Visit the website to find free learning activities using the microphone on your computer. You can also play these games with a Google Home device. Below are a few of my favourite voice experiments for language learners. Make sure to allow access to your microphone. Some experiments require some setup and permissions before you begin.


  • Mystery Animal
    The computer pretends to be an animal. Students ask 20 yes-or-no questions aloud in order to guess the animal, and the computer responds.
  • Mix Lab
    Students will enjoy creating their own music using voice commands like, “Play me a funky bass” or “Add some jazz drums.”
  • Story Speaker
  • Students can create talking, interactive stories by writing their stories in a Google Doc and then adding the Story Speaker add-on for  it to be read aloud. This requires some set-up.
  • More Ideas

In addition to these engaging activities, you can ask your virtual assistant to give you homework help, sing you             songs, read you a story, or read you a poem. Alexa calls the interactive commands.

“     Skills.” You can do fun things like play a choose-your-own-adventure game by saying, “Alexa, open the magic              door” or investigate a murder by saying, “Alexa, open the Wayne Investigation.” Check out the following links              for more fun with virtual assistants:

In addition to these engaging activities, you can ask your virtual assistant to give you homework help, sing you           songs, read you a story, or read you a poem. Alexa calls the interactive commands “Skills.” You can do fun things         like play a choose-your-own-adventure game .



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