Decisions for Kids

kids decision

Decisions for Kids – VOGO Voice is excited to announce one of our education-focused Alexa skills, Decisions for Kids has been selected as one of only six finalists for the Amazon Alexa EdTech Skills Challenge, taking place at SXSW-EDU. Read along and learn about this engaging and educational skill we will be presenting in 2020 in Austin, Texas. 

What is the Decisions for Kids skill?

The Decisions for Kids skill provides a resource for teachers and parents to educate children on social studies and social situations with a variety of interactive ways to understand a given concept using Alexa voice and display devices. It provides a safe place to explore options and make decisions while learning about “Character, Strengths and Virtues” (CSV) that are designed for each age group.

What is the target audience for the Decisions for Kids skill?

The Decisions for Kids skill is intended for preschool and elementary school-age children up to fifth grade. It allows a safe space to freely explore topics and questions that help them make sense of the world. We envision children being able to explore CSV topics from living rooms, bedrooms, and as it becomes more popular, vehicles. It will help foster conversations between parents and their children and creates new ways for children to ask questions. With the addition of the voice profiles feature, families with multiple children will be able to have experiences tailored to them and their age level, all from the same devices and account.

Why “Decisions for Kids”?

Children do not become responsible overnight. They need to engage in opportunities to make daily decisions about concepts and principles that are respectful to the rights of individuals and the common good. The skill will adopt the “core virtues” approach to provide interactive, fun, and engaging learning courses.

The science behind our Core Virtues approach

The classification of character strengths and virtues presents a measure of humanist ideals of virtue empirically and scientifically. It identifies 6 core classes of virtue made up of 24 measurable “character strengths”. We find this structure very useful for the creation of an Alexa skill that can leverage this foundation. The six core virtues are:

Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality, zest Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self-control Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
We feel this solid, scientific foundation is a natural starting point to build an engaging and fun-to-use conversational educational skill. 

For Teachers and Parents

In addition to the skill itself, the Decisions for Kids website will become a place where teachers and parents can create new content that aligns with CSV as well as build playlists for specific needs that can be accessed via numerical codes from within the skill. Our team would provide initial content for Kindergarten through 5th grade and allow this to be a free and public resource for all to use and contribute.  The product will also provide insight for educators to understand how kids make decisions at different age groups. By allowing children to explore freely it should provide both quantitative and qualitative information that can help us understand how children value different strengths.

A Timely Focus on Social Studies

The National Center for Education Statistics research shows that teaching social studies has declined over the last 2 decades after “No Child Left Behind” was established. The focus shifted away from social studies and more resources were dedicated to STEM education. Our belief is, given a new method to communicate and engage with the next generation will allow educators to provide meaningful concepts to shape our children’s future. The National Council for the Social Studies defines different needs at every grade level and the implementation of this skill will follow those guidelines to provide something purposeful to those age groups.

More About How the Skill Will Work

The skill will provide various voice interactions, but the core features are focused on allowing kids to ask about various aspects of Character, Strengths, and Virtues. For example, the child may be in 1st Grade learning about different local community members so they can “ask me about firefighters”. From there the skill has mapped that role to a set of class virtues (courage) and random associated questions and decisions will be returned. The system would present a short situation about a firefighter seeing a fire and should he (A) help put out the fire or (B) stay where he is? Answer A can talk about having the courage and why this is good or B what might happen if he decides not to help. The skill will also allow parents and teachers to set certain topics that are not only relevant to their child’s age group but also current topics around the house or at school.

Join Us In Our Journey

We will be posting more in the coming weeks on our development of the Decisions for Kids Alexa Skill. Sign up for the newsletter here to get notified of new developments or follow us on Twitter @vogovoice and follow the EdTech Skills Challenge sponsors: AWS(@aws_edu) and SXSW EDU. We will be publishing blogs regularly about the skill and the underlying foundational concepts over the next few weeks. We will be posting development updates in January, and intend to have the skill available by the end of February 2020. Finally, you can see us present the skill live at SXSW EDU March 9-12, 2020 in Austin, Texas. We’re excited you’re joining us on this journey! If you are a parent or educator and you would like to learn more, please email us at decisionsforkids@vogovoice.com.

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