7 Pros And Cons Of Using Siri For Learning

It was going to revolutionize computing just as the Mac had done. 

Though not specifically an educational program, many in the academic field believed Siri could soon play a big part in the classroom … but that hasn’t happened. We’re looking into where Siri has made some inroads and why the smooth-talking lady has had a rough go.

7 Pros And Cons Of Using Siri For Learning


This seems to be the most common way Siri is employed in classroom settings. Today’s teachers have to maintain copious amounts of documentation on their kids, and many have streamlined the process of note-taking and documenting conferences with students and parents by using Siri.

Calling and emailing

These are among the top uses of Siri in the general population, and teachers are no exception. With her, they don’t have to lose their place in grade books and exams when they need to call or email a parent or a colleague about a troubled student or an upcoming meeting.


Kansas teacher Marsha Ratzel’s students used their iDevices to gather info for an estimation problem involving diapers in a large shipping package. While it couldn’t give them the exact answer, it did help them discover info on the different sizes of diapers that helped them reach a solution.

Setting reminders

The reminder function of Siri is one of its biggest draws for adult users. With it, school kids can keep track of homework, projects, and tests with just a word to their animatronic friend.


Although better options exist (see below), older high school and college students can and are putting Siri to work taking notes and transcribing lectures.

Opening apps

If anyone has their hands full on a typical workday, it’s teachers. Siri now has the ability to open apps by voice command and teachers, who are always looking for ways to save time, are taking them up on it.

Why Siri Hasn’t Caught On

Lack of function

Reason numero uno for why Siri is unpopular: many people think it doesn’t work well. And these people aren’t just Google fanboys; everyone from TechCrunch to Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak voiced their displeasure with her abilities. Either she’s having trouble connecting, turning your dictation into gibberish, or bringing you web results you didn’t ask for. Apple has even been sued for overstating its claims of Siri’s abilities.

She doesn’t play well with children

Today’s kids are not an audience that will be patient with technology that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. They’re too used to products that deliver what they want, quickly and accurately. As The Digital Shift pointed out just a month after Siri’s release, when the software malfunctions in kids’ hands, learning moments are lost and curiosity wanes. In such a case, no tech is better than high tech.

Apple Has Been Slow To Integrate Siri Fully

It’s easy to see why teachers have little motivation to introduce the software into their classes, as Apple’s push to get Siri into classrooms has been nonexistent compared to their efforts to sell iPads as an educational tool.

Siri has privacy issues

What goes on in a classroom should obviously be above board and open to inspection by anyone. Still, Siri’s data collecting is vague and advanced enough to give parents and teachers pause before allowing it to be used in school. 

Siri gets her amazing ability to learn by collecting info on what is being searched for, where she’s being used, patterns of usage like what time of day and for how long, even the tone of voice of the speaker, all things people have been uncomfortable turning over to Apple.

There are other simpler and/or better options out there

Google Voice Search is Siri’s main competition in the ‘personal digital assistant’ niche and many claim it’s more popular than Siri, even with iPhone users. But for dictation, there’s market leader Dragon (for both Android and Apple), plus a new app called Evi by the same company. 

For other functions like web searching and reminder settings, dozens of apps and programs work just as well as Siri, only they require button-pressing, which has not been burdensome enough for teachers or students to switch to voice.

Teachers may be wary Siri could inhibit learning

Granted, it would be difficult for students to use voice recognition software to cheat on a test in a small, quiet classroom. But educators have to think beyond the classroom walls, and they probably aren’t wild about the notion of Siri replacing learning. 

Teachers could hardly be blamed for keeping Siri at arm’s length, as it is specifically designed to take the work out of daily life, and a student’s daily life revolves around learning. The teachers using Siri must get creative with the software, restricting questions to only ones Siri can’t answer. In other words, Siri seems almost more trouble than it’s worth.