XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and managing incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, announced 11 semi-finalists advancing in the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE. Announced at this year’s EdTechXEurope, XPRIZE is challenging these semi-finalist teams to develop open source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 15 months.
“Throughout my career, I’ve seen the many ways technology has evolved to help children access an education they may otherwise not have,” said Matt Keller, senior director of the Global Learning XPRIZE. “What most excites XPRIZE about these semi-finalist teams is the possibility that their innovative software solutions can exponentially transform the way learning happens across the world, especially in places where children simply cannot get to school.”
The semi-finalists were chosen by an independent judging panel of 11 experts from a field of 198 teams following XPRIZE’s initial launch in September 2014. Semi-finalists will have one month to update and finalize their solutions before the judges select five finalist teams to proceed to the final round of the competition.
The 11 teams advancing are:
- AutoCognita (Hong Kong, China & Bellingham, United States) is focused on helping students acquire core literacy and numeracy skills through a structured curriculum, active learning pedagogy and user experience-focused design.
- CCI (New York, United States) is developing structured and sequential instructional programs, in addition to a platform seeking to enable non-coders to develop engaging learning content in any language or subject area.
- Chimple (Bangalore, India) is developing a learning platform aimed at enabling children to learn reading, writing and mathematics on a tablet through more than 60 explorative games and 70 different stories.
- Education Apps for All (Lynchburg, United States) is developing an app that aims to systematically teach the building blocks of reading while encouraging oral language development and reading comprehension.
- Leap to Know (Pretoria, South Africa) is developing an app rich with culturally relevant stories that help to build learning foundations for children at different education levels.
- Learn Leap Fly (Ottawa, Canada) is using social software and story-based learning to deliver a culture and language-adaptable learning platform for reading, writing, and arithmetic.
- LiteracyApp.org (Kristiansand, Norway) is using exponential technologies like face recognition and machine learning to build an artificial intelligence (AI) tutor able to adapt itself to different children.
- onebillion (UK/Malawi/Tanzania) is merging numeracy content with new literacy material to offer directed learning and creative activities alongside continuous monitoring to respond to different children’s needs.
- RoboTutor (Pittsburgh, United States) is leveraging Carnegie Mellon’s research in reading and math tutors, speech recognition and synthesis, machine learning, educational data mining, cognitive psychology, and human-computer interaction.
- Kitkit School (Berkeley, United States) is developing a learning program with a game-based core and flexible learning architecture aimed at helping children independently learn, irrespective of their knowledge, skill, and environment.
- The School of Games (San Francisco, United States) is creating a series of games to teach reading, writing, numeracy and speaking skills that adapt to different learning styles.
To be announced this September, the five finalist teams will each receive a $1 million milestone award. With the competition’s global partnerships including the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the government of Tanzania, the teams’ solutions will be field-tested with 4,000 children in 150 villages in the Tanga region of Tanzania for approximately 15 months on 8,000 Pixel C tablets donated by Google. At the end of the field-testing phase, the team whose solution enables the greatest proficiency gains in reading, writing and arithmetic will receive the Grand Prize of $10 million, to be announced in April 2019. In addition, each of the five finalists will be required to open source both their code and their content which will be free and available for anyone to build on.
An estimated 250 million children around the world cannot read, write or demonstrate basic arithmetic skills. UNESCO estimates that the world needs 1.6 million more teachers globally, a number set to double by 2030. The Global Learning XPRIZE will help prove that with the right education technology resources and partnerships, children can teach themselves to read, write and do arithmetic. By ensuring each finalists’ solutions are open source, XPRIZE also aims to proliferate solutions worldwide at the intersection of technology and learning.
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances—igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.