I seized the opportunity of the Alexa Multimodal Skill Challenge to develop a new skill and try to take benefit of the new Alexa Presentation Language for Alexa Skills. My first idea was a kind of Tamagochi skill. But then, while I was trying to improve my Spanish level using the Duolingo app, I got the idea of that skill that would be a combination of the Tamagochi basic concept with the Duolingo progressive approach for learning a new language.
What it does
My Spanish Friend allows you to learn Spanish by answering the requests of a fictitious spanish prince. He does not speak a word of English, but the skill gives you the information you need to understand his demands. Then, the next time he asks for the same thing, you are on your own to find the answer. New words are added regularly, and requests you don't answer correctly are more likely to be asked again so that you can improve.
How I built it
Using the node.js Amazon Alexa Skill Kit, AWS, DynamoDB, S3.
Challenges I ran into
Upgrading to ASK SDK v2 for Node.js. Issues with the APL datasources. Time !
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I built it during the Christmas holidays, and it was submitted before I got back to work. My son tried it and was able to learn a few words of Spanish in very little time.
What I learned
First of all, to use the ASK SDK v2 for Node.js. Also, as a French, it was a great way for me to make an assessment on my English and Spanish level.
What's next for My Spanish Friend
I still need to improve the APL part of the skill, so that the display is more attractive. Then, I will have to add new lessons on a regular basis. The skill can also be translated in more languages. Last but not least, it can be duplicated to learn other languages. To do that, I will try to set up a skill structure that allows to easily add new languages on both sides (spoken and learned language)