Making yourself at home in college may be a lot easier now that dorms are introducing Amazon Echo Dot speakers to tech-savvy students. While the shared rooms of your own collegiate experience may have been filled with common bathrooms and tiny beds, students at Arizona State University are enjoying brand new Echo Dot speakers. Each of the 1,600 incoming freshmen setting up a home away from home in ASU's Tooker House is being gifted this $50 smart speaker.
The lucky students on the receiving end of this bargain are all first-year engineers, and while the Dots come preloaded with an ASU Alexa skill that gives students quick access to information like the university's academic calendar and events, it seems that the hope is for these students to build skills of their own. After all, what better way to put their engineering lessons to use than by building with Alexa?
The ASU and Amazon partnership is being heralded as the "first of its kind," according to Amazon Alexa director Eric King."It's going to inspire the next generation of developers to use voice," he told Business Insider. ASU dean Kyle Squires echoed this sentiment, noting that the Echo Dot can help "merge the living environment with the learning environment," and thereby expand learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Obviously, Amazon has something to gain from this partnership as well. The company will work alongside the university to determine just how the Echo Dots are actually utilized, which could help in developing future devices or other Skills, specifically in the educational realm.
New students at Tooker House will have more than just Dots to look forward to in the fall. The engineering students will be treated to 3D printers, laser cutters, and other cutting-edge technologies. Even their laundry machines are high-tech, featuring Bluetooth connectivity that can alert students when their clothes are clean and dry.
So if you're considering a college program for next fall (or are helping your child make that tough decision), you may want to consider putting ASU on your list. If nothing else, for the free Echo Dot.