Inspiration

I wanted to build something that I knew my family and I would use, and that I would want my kids to use. I also wanted to provide both an audio and visual interface (via the Echo Show display), so I thought a scripture memorization skill for kids would be a good idea.

What it does

This skill has a set of scriptures selected specifically for kids. When you open the skill, you start with Genesis 1:1 but can go to other scriptures. For any scripture, you can have Alexa read it to you, and then she will prompt you to repeat each phrase back to her. Once you feel you have the verse memorized, Alexa can start saying the verse and then prompt you to say the next words. The words that you are prompted to speak are different each time, so you will be prompted for different parts of the verse.

How I built it

I have over 20 years of experience in PHP, and I run a managed hosting company, so I set up a PHP script to be the interface for the skill. After checking out several Alexa libraries in PHP, and even the supported Node.js library, I decided to just write my own interface given that the Alexa Skill Kit is a simple JSON interface. That allowed me to make sure I had access to all the functionality.

Challenges I ran into

Given that the skill prompts the user to repeat scripture which has a wide variety of words, I was getting problems where a user saying scripture would trigger a different Intent. I tried several methods to handle this, and finally decided to go with a generic Input intent and use my own code to handle what should happen based on that input, which ended up working out really smoothly and gave me more freedom to the flow of the skill.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud that I built 2 Alexa skills (HostCheck and this skill) in just 2 weeks. I hadn't done any development with Alexa Skill Kit before then, so it was great to get them both completed in such a short period of time.

What I learned

I learned a lot about Alexa Skill Kit, having not used it in the past. This project let me investigate different ways to accept input (standard Intents vs Dialogs, and even how different structures to the Intent can allow me different flexibility in my code).

What's next for Remember the Bible for Kids

There's a lot more I would like to add to Remember the Bible for Kids that I have run out of time to do.

I would like to add a "multiple choice" option to the skill as an easier way to test your knowledge.

I would like to utilize the Echo Show display even more, such as for the "multiple choice" option mentioned above. Basically, I would like to have the Skill be completely usable by touch input or voice.

I would like to add more graphics variety to the displays rather than a standard background image, to make it more interesting.

I would like to build a simple Alexa PHP SDK, utilizing what I have learned, and rewrite my code to use the SDK.

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