Exploring Smart Speakers & Virtual Assistants

This is the online page for your class.  On this page you will find information about the class,  links and resources and the class handout/slides that you can download and optionally print.

Did you get a smart speaker as a gift?  Or maybe you have had an Amazon Alexa or Google Nest device for years but don’t feel you are making the most of this amazing technology as it sits on your counter.   This workshop will help you explore this amazing technology and its virtual assistants.    

Two leading smart speakers are the Amazon Alexa/Echo/Dot and Google Nest products.  Both are not only affordable smart speakers that can fill your home with sound but are also a path to a voice-enable smart home using either Alexa or the Google Assistant.    Alexa or the Google Assistant are powerful virtual assistants that will answer questions, deliver on commands and entertain.  

This workshop will help you explore the capabilities of your smart speaker/personal virtual assistant. The learning agenda in this workshop includes:  

  1. Explore, compare, and contrast the family of products from Amazon and Google.  (Hint both are good, have different strengths but share a ton of common capabilities) 
  2. Get to know the virtual assistants, that is, Alexa and Google Assistant.  
  3. Understand basic setup and management functions for each platform.  
  4. Explore common capabilities including questions, trivia, communication, information, productivity, music, and home automation.  
  5. Identify how these smart speakers might work in your new smart home beyond sitting on the counter. How do they connect and work with other devices?   
  6. Examine the privacy concerns around the platforms. 


Finally, we’ll learn how to have fun with our smart speakers. They can be a lot of fun and funny if you know how to tickle them with the right words.  


This class is for all users of smart speakers from Amazon and Google including the Amazon Alexa/Echo and Google Nest/Home products.  

Course Lessons and Materials

Course materials including the slide deck, video and Q&A forum are only available to students enrolled in the course.

Exploring Smart Speakers and Virtual Assistants – Course Materials

Access the slide deck, Zoom class link, resource links, lessons, and question & answer form for the Smart Speaker and Personal Assistants class.

📹 Exploring Smart Speakers and Virtual Assistants – Video

This is the recorded video for the Exploring Smart Speakers and Virtual Assistants live class held August 2, 2022