Chatbots for Good

Lead a workshop that introduces students to chatbots and show how human-computer conversation services work.

Activity Kit


  • Ages 11-14 (Middle grade students)
  • Ages 14-19 (Secondary/high school students)
  • Adults

What’s the goal of this kit?

The learning activities in the Chatbots for Good hero journey include

  • Why starting with user centric design is important and how to apply the basics of IBM Design Thinking to design (not simply code) a chatbot.
  • How interacting with a chatbot can help improve or change human feelings and behaviors. Learning about the three basic components of Watson Conversation -- intents, entities, and dialog -- can help students gain the foundational skills they need to program a chatbot.
  • Why analyzing tone and emotions are important for effective human-computer communications. Using services such as Watson Tone Analyzer can help improve a user’s experience with a chatbot.
  • Students who successfully complete the quiz get a Certificate (pdf) and a digital sticker to share with their social networks.

Why is this topic important?

  • By 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. What are the social implications for chatbots and how can we ensure they promote social good?
  • There’s a lot of fretting in the world about how computers/robots will take away jobs. This kit will help you facilitate a conversation around these fears and ask, instead, “what types of new jobs will be created?” and “how might technology make people’s lives better?”

What do I need to know about this activity?

  • New cloud-based services such as the Watson Conversation service do not require knowledge of a programming language (Java, Python, Node.js). Learners who understand the concepts around the service can easily develop a chatbot.
  • Anyone can lead this learning activity as the on-line course provides a turn-key environment for your students/club. Be sure to read the facilitator guide as it provides details for each learning objective along with recommended discussion questions and additional resources.
  • Total time to set up and learn the material is less than 60 minutes. Total time of instruction is estimated at 3 hours, including the Design Thinking exercise.
  • For the Design Thinking exercise you will need a white board or paper, post-its and sharpies
  • Students will need a computer with internet access. They will also need to register for a FREE IBM Cloud account (instructions provided).
  • IBMers can apply volunteering hours to their THINK40 total.

Activity resources