The XPRIZE competitions have inarguably made the world a better place. From space travel and ocean discovery to adult literacy and women's safety, these highly incentivized prizes have innovated more revolutionary technology than the creators could have ever hoped for. By offering multiple millions of dollars for winning ideas, the organizers have facilitated radical breakthroughs across industries and around the world. And they're just getting started.
The Global Learning XPRIZE has just announced the finalists for their $15 million prize. The companies, hailing from countries like India, Malawi, Tanzania, the UK, and the US, were chosen because they best exemplify the mission of the XPRIZE: to develop open source software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing, and arithmetic within 15 months.
“Our five finalists are developing the most promising software solutions to enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic, as determined by our panel of expert judges,” said Matt Keller, senior director of the Global Learning XPRIZE. “As we move to the final field testing phase, we are one step closer to scaling transformative technology solutions that foster child-driven learning and provide a world-class education for all.”
With an estimated 250 million children around the world unable to read, the $15 million prize shouldn't be too surprising. As the third largest active prize on their website, XPRIZE is demonstrating to the world the intrinsic value of education. And if you didn't already know, the value is pretty high.
“Universal access to education is a major priority for XPRIZE, and we are proud to celebrate the change-making teams making impressive strides to ensure every single child has the opportunity to take learning into her own hands,” said Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE Foundation, in a press release. “The leading solutions born from this competition could provide the key to unlocking literacy for children most in need, access an education they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
Promoting water abundance and exploring the universe are admittedly noble goals, but education is the golden key for XPRIZE in more ways than one. Giving underserved communities the means to teach themselves is not only noble, but it also breeds future innovators that can solve the problems of the future. And if that isn't the ultimate goal, then what is?
If you're interested in seeing which companies are on the verge of innovating edtech in developing countries, take a look at their descriptions, websites, and submission videos below:
CCI (New York, New York)
This company 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)
This company 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.
Kitkit School (Berkeley, California)
This company 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.
This company 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, Pennsylvania)
This company 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.
Read more about the XPRIZE competitions on TechCo