Teachable Machine

Run on March 24th, 2021 by @Jeewoo.

Machine learning is one of the coolest topics you can introduce in a Hack Club meeting. The sheer amount of complicated and intimidating theory required to understand machine learning used to make it nearly impossible to teach it to beginners. Thankfully, services like Teachable Machine have changed that.

Jeewoo runs a Hack Club in Vancouver. In this meeting, he runs Hack Club's Teachable Machine workshop. His club normally holds meetings in person, but this meeting was held online over spring break, with about half their normal attendance. Jeewoo's club normally feels like a party, but this meeting feels a lot more like a chill hangout, complete with a chill Spotify playlist, a blue plushie, and two guitars.

What Jeewoo does right

Jeewoo takes advantage of the smaller-than-normal meeting size to create a laid-back, tight-knit environment without it feeling awkward or low energy. There are a few things in particular that he does to make this happen:


How to run this meeting

  1. Get settled in
    1. Wait about 5 minutes for people to come in. Make conversation with people as they start arriving and play music in the background to set the vibe.
    2. Have the Hack Club Teachable Machine workshop opened on a separate device before the meeting starts. You'll be using this workshop as a "script" throughout the meeting.
  2. Introduce Teachable Machine
    1. Introduce the concept of machine learning to your club members.
      • See to , especially , for a great example.
    2. Introduce Teachable Machine. Explain what it's used for and why you're using it for this meeting. Send your club members the link to Teachable Machine and have them open it in their browsers.
      • See to for a good example.
    3. Walk your club members through creating an Image project on Teachable Machine. Once everybody has created an Image project, show them an example for how to create two models.
      • See to for a short example.
  3. Run the first hacking section
    1. Ask your club members to take about 5 minutes to make their own machine learning model. Turn them loose.
    2. Start playing music in the background or otherwise filling the silence with something.
    3. Make yourself available for questions. Don't be afraid to explain "too much" if someone asks a question.
  4. Export the machine learning model and make a website
    1. Once your club members have created their first machine learning model, use the instructions in the workshop to guide them through exporting the model and uploading it to repl.it.
    2. If you have time (and if your club members have made websites before), walk them through customizing the website with a little bit of CSS.
  5. Run the second hacking section
    1. At this point, you've reached the end of the workshop. Congratulate your club members on having made their first ever machine learning model 🎉, and start another hacking section.
    2. Show your club members how to add another class on Teachable Machine. Then turn them loose for another 5 or so minutes to add a third class to their machine learning model
  6. Demo projects
    1. Go through everybody in the meeting (if you have a large attendance, go through 5-10 people) and have them show a demo of their machine learning model. Take as little or as much time as you want.
    2. Have your club members share a screenshot of their projects in some central place (Slack, Discord, whatever).
  7. End the meeting
    1. Once the meeting is over, casually wind down as people leave. Make some final conversation, start playing music again.