Tech Club for kids and empowering 7–12 year olds in building voice skills for Alexa

Why tech club

The UK government and education board have been quite good in recent years in revamping the ICT curriculum into what is now known as Computing, this new curriculum starts at age 5 through to secondary school leavers and now includes areas such as programming but we can’t stop there. There are many initiatives such as code club supporting both teachers and children but we can always do more.

So Tech Club, what’s the point? The purpose of Tech Club is to show children the technology that is being used in the industry today, the stuff that we as professional are using that is at the cutting edge. Without “dumbing” it down, but breaking it into understandable chunks for our next generation to embrace and thrive with, because if all we do is teach children the things that are commonplace for us now where will they be 10 years considering the rapid evolution of technology.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Tech club is also there to show those attending that there are many different roles within technology that are all equally important to each other and that you don’t have to be a coder to work with or embrace technology.


What is tech club

Tech club is a 2-hour event that will happen on a Saturday for a small group of no more than 12 children. The purpose of the small groups is to make it a more hands-on experience and less lecture environment. Each child must attend with a responsible adult and bring a laptop (though we will have spare chrome books available if people don’t have a laptop, just ping me an email).

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By the end of the 2 hours, both child and adult will be able to build an app/service/website/skill using the technology topic (the first session is all about Alexa voice skills). You don’t need to have any technology background (adult or child), as long as you can use the basics of the internet you will be find.

The event is split up into three parts:

1. What is the technology

2. What can we make

3. Let’s make things

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

What is the tech
The first part will be very interactive with limited laptop use to show children that using technology to build things doesn’t always mean being sat in front of a screen coding but the importance of how technology can be used to solve a problem. This stage will also discuss technology safety so as budding technologists they start to understand the risks of technology but also how they can build safety into things they build.

We are going to have to explain GDPR to a 6 year old at some point :/

What can we make
The second part will show different problems that have been solved using the technology, this part will be delivered by someone that is their peer (a child aged 7–12) who will show them things that have been built as well as guide them through something they have built and how it works (adult support will be nearby if needed).

Let’s make things
The last part is all hands on, their ideas into a real thing getting into the technology and building so they have something they can use after they leave the event.


Our first session and Alexa

Our first session is building a voice skill for Alexa; voice computing is an area I am particularly passionate about as I see my children utilise it in our daily lives. When I saw my children use voice daily I realised it’s power, not only for now but for them voice experiences will be normal and the default behaviour of how they interact with technology in the future so they should be learning/understanding it now.

Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

The event sold out of the free tickets within 24 hours but there is a waiting list and if there are enough people then possible I can run a second event so please sign up if you or your child are interested.

Sign up to the waiting list on eventbrite