In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has shown significant progress and its potential is growing. An application area of AI is Natural Language Processing (NLP). Voice assistants incorporate AI by using cloud computing and can communicate with the users in natural language. Voice assistants are easy to use and thus there are millions of devices that incorporates them in households nowadays. Most common devices with voice assistants are smart speakers and they have just started to be used in schools and universities. The purpose of this paper is to study how voice assistants and smart speakers are used in everyday life and whether there is potential in order for them to be used for educational purposes.
Motivation plays a key role in the learning process. This paper describes an experience in the context of undergraduate teaching of Artificial Intelligence at the Computer Science Department of the Faculty of Sciences in the University of Porto. A sophisticated competition framework, which involved Prolog programmed contenders and game servers, including an appealing GUI, was developed to motivate students on the deepening of the topics covered in class. We report on the impact that such a competitive setup caused on students' commitment, which surpassed our most optimistic expectations.