Safety and privacy do’s and don’ts with voice-activated technology

By: | January 11, 2019

Safety and privacy of students and their data remains a key concern when teachers bring Alexa, Google Home and other voice-activated devices into the classrooms. Teachers also have to consider how to protect themselves, too. Here are some tips.


  • Restrict device use to educational purposes.
  • Train teachers on the best practices for using devices and reviewing audio history.
  • Evaluate the pilot program at your school to determine its use and academic value.
  • Research the device you’re purchasing, the available apps or “skills,” and the technology company’s latest statements about education and privacy. (These statements change quickly as Amazon and Google realize the size of the education market.)
  • Create a classroom use policy and discuss it with students.
  • Alert parents about the devices.


  • Connect a device to a teacher’s or administrator’s personal account.
  • Allow just any app or “skill” to be added. Vet each one for educational purposes.
  • Leave devices plugged in all day.

Main story: Voice-activated technology sounds better in education

Did you know? About a quarter of U.S. households own smart speakers, according to a Nielsen poll released in September 2018. Most owners report using the speakers to listen to music, search for historical facts, or get real-time updates on weather and traffic, for instance.