XPRIZE, the non-profit organization that develops and manages competitions to find solutions to social challenges, has named two big winners of the Global Learning XPRIZE contest supported by Elon Musk .
The companies, KitKit School in South Korea and the United States, and onebillion, operating in Kenya and the UK, were announced at a awards ceremony held at Google Spruce Shed in Playa Vista, California.
XPRIZE has assigned each of the competing teams the task of developing scalable services that allow children to learn basic reading, writing and numeracy skills in less than 15 months.
Musk himself was on hand to hand over $ 5 million worth of checks to each of the winning teams.
Five finalists including: CCI based in New York, who has developed lesson plans and a development language so that non-coders can create lessons; Chimple, a Bangalore-based learning platform that allows children to learn to read, write and calculate on a tablet; RobotTutor, a Pittsburgh-based company that used Carnegie Mellon's research to develop an Android app tablets that taught reading and writing lessons with speech recognition, machine learning and human-machine interactions, and the two grand prize winners all received $ 1 million to continue developing their projects.
The tests required that each product be field tested in Swahili, affecting nearly 3,000 children in 170 villages in Tanzania.
All the final solutions of each of the five teams that participated in the final phase of the competition were open source so that everyone could improve and develop local solutions using the tool kits developed by each team in competition.
Kitkit School, with a team from Berkeley, California and Seoul, has developed a program with a central and flexible learning architecture based on play to help children learn independently, while tailoring responses to children's needs .
Both teams are returning home with $ 5 million to continue their work.
The problem of access to basic education affects more than 250 million children around the world who can not read and write and one in five children in the world is not in school. UNESCO data.
The problem of access is compounded by the shortage of primary and secondary school teachers. Some research, cited by XPRIZE, indicates that the world needs to recruit 68.8 million additional teachers to enable every child to receive a primary and secondary education by 2040.
Prior to the Global Learning XPRIZE field test, 74% of children who participated had been reported as never having attended school; 80% have never been read at home; and 90% could not read a single word of Swahili.
After 15 months of work on Google Pixel C tablets and preloaded software, the number has been halved.
"Education is a fundamental human right and we are so proud of all the teams, their dedication and hard work that every child has the opportunity to take charge of learning," said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE, in an address. declaration. "Learning to read, write and demonstrate the basics of mathematics is essential for those who want to live without poverty and its limitations, and we believe that this competition has clearly demonstrated the accelerated learning made possible through the educational applications developed. by our teams, and hopefully this movement will spark a revolution in education around the world. "
After the announcement of the grand prize, XPRIZE said it would work to secure and load the software on tablets; locate the software; and deliver preloaded hardware and charging stations to remote sites so that all finalists teams can adapt their learning software around the world.