I fell in love with Merlyn the first time I saw it demonstrated. My passion is a student-centered classroom. Finally, a technology to free me from being stuck in the front of the room. Learn more at merlyn.org.
AI Teacher Assistant
Simply put, the Merlyn is a device that plugs into your computer to allow you to use voice commands to control your computer remotely. You will need to sign in to the Teacher Portal and install the Chrome extension and desktop app. There are 2 ways to communicate with Merlyn. Symphony Classroom is a speaker/microphone combo that allows you or students to simply yell “Hi Merlyn” with your order. This can be disabled if desired. The other way is via the handy push-to-talk remote control. This eliminates the need to say “Hello Merlyn.”
I did my presentation hands free
Recently at the InnEdCO conference, I did a session demonstrating Merlyn. My goal was to set up my computer on the side of the ballroom and never go near it. This allowed me to be 100% among the audience. Normally when I demo live I need to keep running to my computer or get stuck on my computer. Not anymore!
1. Pause a YouTube video
There are a LOT of things you can do with Merlyn (and of course new and amazing features are coming), but I’ll start with this one. Because? The class must be interactive. If you as a class are watching a video together, that often includes pausing the video and asking questions. “What did you notice?” “What your asking to yourself?” “What do you think will happen next?”
Can we be honest? Trying to teach a lesson and crack the YouTube video is challenging. Take a break, start again, stand next to the kid who needs to be next, run back to the computer for a break…
Instead! Just ask to pause, from anywhere in the room.
“Hi Merlyn, go back 17 seconds.”
If you wanted to move backwards or forwards in a video by exactly 17 seconds… can you feel the pain of moving the little slider trying to get to that exact point? Your attention is on the video, not the students!
“Hey Merlyn, go to 3 minutes and 24 seconds.”
Now her focus is on the class and student discussion, not playing around with YouTube.
2. Start a timer
I think I read somewhere that the number one use for Amazon Alexa devices is to start a timer!
However, Alexa is not FERPA and COPPA compliant. Merlin is.
Use Merlyn the same way you would use an Alexa device.
“Hey Merlyn, start a timer for 3 minutes.”
As you work with students and let your curiosity drive the lesson, Merlyn is there for you!
“Hi Merlyn, google the world’s tallest mountain.”
Or even just return quick information.
“Hey Merlyn, what is the square root of 196?”
3. Go to the third tab
For my lesson, it’s quite common for me to have multiple tabs ready for different parts of the lesson. Instead of running to my computer or fumbling for a wireless keyboard, I can simply ask Merlyn to complete these tasks. This gives me more time to work with students and less time to work on my computer.
“Hi Merlyn, close all tabs.”
“Hello Merlyn, go to the third tab.”
4. Manage Google Drive
“Hello Merlyn, open Google Drive.”
If you wanted to open a presentation in your Google Drive, how many clicks is that? Now you can stand in the back of the room and ask Merlyn:
- “Open Pythagorean Presentation”
- “Start Presentation”
Even when I’m sitting at my computer, I use Merlyn because it’s just fewer steps to ASK what I’m thinking instead of trying to move my mouse around to click in the right place.
After opening your presentation, using Merlyn of course, simply ask
“Hi Merlyn, open on the Pear Deck.”
This will blow your mind. Merlyn does a lot of steps behind the scenes to get it to the screen where the students enter the login code. BOOM! An assistant that really comes in handy so you can focus on teaching! Merlyn works with Pear Deck, Nearpod and 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 to my computer, “wait kids, let me pass this on to GC”, opening Google Classroom, creating an announcement/material/editing assignment, choosing topic, points, dates, etc… and saving. SO MUCH TIME LOST IN INTERACTION WITH STUDENTS.
Instead, I simply ask Merlyn to share it on Google Classroom, and without lifting a finger, all those steps are ready for me. And I can do it from anywhere in the room.
Merlyn will blow your mind
The great thing about Merlyn is that it is a technology tool that REALLY saves you time and requires no training. You know what you want and you ask Merlyn for it! Boom. Merlyn is a game changer, freeing me from being tied to the front of the room so she can spend more time sitting with the students.
Interview with Tim de Merlyn
Tim was kind enough to get up early to show me how Merlyn works. In this live stream we talk about Merlyn and show how she works. We couldn’t show how Merlyn can control her document camera, but boy is she amazing! What’s more, Tim has his PHONE set up as his document camera, so no matter where he is in the room, he can share student work on the screen. You can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org
Merlyn is an AI-powered teaching assistant. She really allows her to do more of what she loves, spending time with the students instead of spending time on her computer. Now you know how to use Merlyn! You think about it and just ask “Hi Merlyn, open my Google Drive” and boom it does. Now you are ANYWHERE in the room and no longer tied to the front.
EdTech innovation should be everywhere at an EdTech conference. Unfortunately, a lot is more glitter than gold. Don’t get sucked into shiny tools, ask the right pedagogical questions about whether this really improves student learning.
Exploring the role of artificial intelligence in education, practical advice and numerous suggestions on how to take advantage of ChatGPT to help students, particularly English learners. Show how students can harness the power of ChatGPT for essential academic tasks like grammar checks, spell checks, understanding idioms, and getting feedback on the tone and style of their writing. By providing an exhaustive list of prompts, it paves the way for effective interactions with AI, ensuring a learning experience that respects and preserves the student’s original ideas and efforts.
Alice Keeler and Sheryl Place from BookWidgets have a fun chat. Sheryl shares some of her favorite features of BookWidgets.
I think you will find this fun activity to turn your Google Docs into Google Slides! Slides allow for multimedia and sometimes have a few distinct advantages over Google Docs. However, Docs is easier for generating ideas and schematics. Now you can have the best of both worlds by converting your Google Docs to Google Slides. Use Alice Keeler’s Doc to Slides plugin
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