Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

5 Reasons Merlyn AI Teacher Assistant is a Game Changer

Merlyn is an AI powered Teaching Assistant. It truly allows you to do more of what you love, spend time with students instead of spending time with your computer. You already know how to use Merlyn! You think it and just ask "Hey Merlyn, open my Google Drive" and boom it does. Now you are ANYWHERE in the room and no longer tied to the front.
5 Reasons Merlyn AI Teacher Assistant is a Game Changer

I fell in love with Merlyn the first time I saw it demonstrated. My passion is for a student centered classroom. Finally a technology to free me from being stuck at the front of the room. Learn more at merlyn.org.

Merlyn is an AI powered Teacher Assistant that is voice activated.

AI Teacher Assistant

In a nutshell Merlyn is a device that connects to your computer to allow you to use voice commands to remotely control your computer. You will need to log into the Teacher Portal and install the Chrome Extension and desktop application. There are 2 ways to communicate with Merlyn. The Symphony Classroom is a speaker/microphone combo that allows you or students to simply shout out “Hey Merlyn” with your request. This can be disabled if desired. The other way is through the handy remote with the push to talk button. This eliminates the need to say “Hey Merlyn.”

I Did My Presentation Hands Free

Recently at the InnEdCO conference I did a session demonstrating Merlyn. My goal was to set my computer up on one side of the ballroom and never go near it. This allowed me to be 100% out amongst the audience. Normally, when doing live demo, I would need to keep running back to my computer or be stuck at my computer. Not anymore!

1. Pause a YouTube Video

There are SO MANY things you can do with Merlyn (and of course new and amazing features are coming) but I’ll start with this one. Why? Class should be interactive. If as a class you’re watching a video together that often includes pausing the video and asking questions. “What do you notice?” “What do you wonder?” “What do you think will happen next?”

Can we be honest? Trying to teach a lesson and figure out the YouTube video is challenging. Pause, start again, go stand next to the kid who needs to be stood next to, run back to the computer to pause…

Instead! Simply ask to pause, from anywhere in the room.

“Hey Merlyn, rewind 17 seconds.”

If you wanted to move backwards or forwards in a video exactly 17 seconds… can you feel the pain of moving the little slider trying to get it to that exact spot? Your attention is on the video not on the students!

“Hey Merlyn, go to 3 minutes and 24 seconds.”

Now your focus is on the class discussion and the students, not around messing with YouTube.

2. Start a Timer

I think I read somewhere that the number one use of Amazon Alexa devices is to start a timer!!
However, Alexa is not FERPA and COPPA compliant. Merlyn is.

Use Merlyn in much of the same way that you would use an Alexa device.

“Hey Merlyn, Start a 3 minute timer.”

As you work with students and let their curiosity drive the lesson, Merlyn is there for you!

“Hey Merlyn, Google Search the world’s tallest mountain.”

Or even just return quick information.

“Hey Merlyn, what is the square root of 196?”

3. Go to the 3rd Tab

For my lesson it is pretty common that I have multiple tabs ready to go for different parts of the lesson. Instead of running over to my computer or fumbling over a wireless keyboard I can simply ask Merlyn to complete these tasks. This gives me more time to spend working with students, and less time working with my computer.

“Hey Merlyn, close all tabs.”

“Hey Merlyn, go to the 3rd tab.”

4. Manage Google Drive

“Hey Merlyn, open Google Drive.”

If you wanted to open a presentation in your Google Drive how many clicks is that? Now you can stand at the back of the room and ask Merlyn:

  • “Open Pythagorean presentation”
  • “Start presentation”

Even when I am sitting right at my computer I use Merlyn because it is simply less steps to ASK what I am thinking rather than trying to move my mouse to click on the right spot.

5. Interact with Other EdTech Tools

After opening your presentation, by using Merlyn of course, simply ask

“Hey Merlyn, open in Pear Deck.”

This will seriously blow your mind. Merlyn does so many steps behind the scenes to take you to the screen where students enter the join code. BOOM! An assistant who actually is helpful to let you focus on teaching!! Merlyn works with Pear Deck, Nearpod, and so many other products.

“Hey Merlyn, share to Google Classroom.”

I want to make sure students have access to the resources we access in class for after the lesson. This means running over to my computer, “hold on kids, let me get this into GC,” opening Google Classroom, creating an announcement/material/editing assignment, choosing topic, points, dates, etc…, and saving. SO MUCH TIME LOST FROM INTERACTING WITH STUDENTS.

Instead, I simply ask Merlyn to share it to Google Classroom and without lifting a finger all of those steps are done for me. And I can do it from anywhere in the room.

Merlyn Will Blow Your Mind

What is great about Merlyn is it is a tech tool that ACTUALLY saves you time and requires “no” training. You know what you want and you ask Merlyn for it! Boom. Merlyn is the game changer that frees me from being tied to the front of the room so I can spend more time sitting with students.

Interview with Tim from Merlyn

Tim was kind enough to wake up early for me to show how Merlyn works. In this livestream we chat about Merlyn and show how it works. We didn’t get to show how Merlyn can control your document camera but whoa, it is mind blowing! Even more, Tim has his PHONE set up as his document camera so no matter where you are at in the room you can share student work on the display. You can contact Tim at thodkinson@merlyn.org

YouTube video

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