Early Design of a Conversational AI Development Platform for Middle Schoolers


More young people are interacting with smart conversational agents such as Alexa and Google Assistant. These platforms are extensible, providing, in principle, a compelling opportunity for young users to create and tinker with their own conversational agents. However, to date the interfaces for conversational app development are adult-focused. This paper presents the early design process for AMBY (AI Made by You), which we are building to empower young learners to create their own conversational agents. We first conducted a contextual inquiry with 14 middle school students (aged 11-13) in an AI summer camp, followed by two other usability studies. The system design has been refined after each study. Key features of AMBY include a visual dialogue management panel, testing panel with a diverse avatar, and a voice input modality. AMBY is designed to serve as a pedagogically-robust resource for K-12 AI education and as an engaging and creative way for middle schoolers to explore AI.


Amit Kumar
University of Florida

Xiaoyi Tian
University of Florida

Mehmet Celepkolu
University of Florida

Maya Israel
University of Florida

Kristy Elizabeth Boyer
University of Florida