- Why is the competition focused on the developing world?
- Why are you testing this by using tablets as the hardware as opposed to mobile phones?
- Why is this unique?
- What is the timeframe for the competition?
- Why will the winning technologies become open sourced?
- Will people be expected to pay for the technology after the prize is won?
- What happens to the teams’ technologies and the test populations when the competition is over?
- What differentiates this competition from other programs that sound similar?
- Are you concerned about negative pushback, especially around an education model without teachers?
- What is the age of children in the test population?
- Testing specifics?
- How will the software solutions be tested?
- Will the children have access and be able to search the Internet?
- Will power be provided?
- How does this affect existing educational systems around the world?
- Why is this competition so important?
- Why should teams compete?
In order to prove that children can teach themselves basic literacy with limited intervention and assistance from adults, we are focusing on remote areas of the world where access to quality education is either limited or non-existent, and where schools and teachers are scarce. In addition, we are focusing on where the need is greatest, where there is the greatest potential to lift millions of people out of extreme poverty.
The learnings from this prize, and the open source nature of the solutions, will have global implications with solutions adopted elsewhere — including the United States.
While the software developed can be developed either for tablets or mobile phones, tablets have been proven to be adaptable and usable by children for long periods of time. If the technology landscape drastically changes before the field tests (i.e. if something enters the market that takes the place of tablets), we will consider revisiting this requirement.
This is a new direction for XPRIZE. This is the first mission-driven vs. market driven competition for XPRIZE – if we are able to expand access to education and unleash the potential of millions of children, the power that can result from that innovation is exponential.
Every XPRIZE is different and requires a different timeframe. This is approximately a 5-year prize that begins with a six-month registration period, followed by an 18-month solution development phase where we ask teams to design their original solutions and create original content. We will then deploy the solutions of the five finalist teams into the field for an 18-month testing period.
The breath and depth of this study is unlike anything that has been done before.
An XPRIZE, with a $15M Prize purse as incentive, can ignite the creation of breakthrough technology-based learning solutions, and we feel that such solutions should be made available for the world to iterate, improve upon and deploy. Unlike other XPRIZE competitions where there are clear market incentives (present or future) for competing, this competition is focusing on bringing learning solutions to the poorest and often considered unreachable, where the opportunity cost of doing so may never be warranted.
No, XPRIZE believes that education and learning are fundamental human rights. Affordability and scalability are important prize criteria that are taken into account in choosing a winner. The 5 top finalists will submit their solutions as open source, and thus be made available to the world.
The XPRIZE requires that the 5 teams who are down-selected will make their solutions available via open source. Because XPRIZE believes that children are a mission and not a market, our goal is that this technology ends up in the hands of as many children as humanly possible. Making the solutions open source is one way to accomplish that.
Although there are several organizations around the world that are developing programs to teach teachers, build schools or test the effectiveness of mobile based learning, the Global Learning XPRIZE is the first effort of its kind and scale where the public is asked to develop original content and applications for tablets that will be put directly into the hands of children, empowering them teach themselves and each other in an 18-month testing phase.
It is not our intention – ever – to suggest that technology can supplant teachers. What we are saying is that technology can serve as an effective and efficient supplement. In our experience, any audacious solution instigates discussion, and we believe that global literacy is an area worthy of healthy debate in order to make positive change.
The children in the test populations will range from 5 to 12 years of age which is essentially primary-school age in most countries.
At this time, the XPRIZE plans to test in at least 100 sites, reaching at least 3000 children, in at least one developing country. We will provide updates and testing specifics in the coming months.
XPRIZE will use internationally recognized tests to evaluate the children upon completion of
the field- testing. Well-trained teams will assess the children in each village to evaluate the effect of each entry. Multiple sites will be used for every submission in order to overcome any anomalies or statistical error, not to mention any unexpected and extreme political, economic or climatic change.
The XPRIZE will work with its operations partners to ensure that the children participating in the test populations are safe and that their best interests are upheld throughout the competition. All solutions must be “interactive technologies,” freestanding or interconnected. Solutions can include the creation of a local cloud, but not a global one. We do not believe it is appropriate to give children between five to twelve free and open access to the Internet without supervision. In addition, the influence of the internet may affect the results of the prize.
Yes, power will be provided. In order to allow teams to be able to focus on the design of the software, XPRIZE will work with its operational partners to ensure that each testing community has an adequate power supply throughout the duration of field testing.
We hope that eventually the technology and solutions developed will be integrated with solar powered tablets, mobile phones, etc.
We believe that many of the world’s education systems are ill prepared to meet the needs of children. This is partly due to the fact that many countries have difficulty in recruiting teachers to serve in rural areas, classrooms are desperately overcrowded, and young children often have to walk long distances to schools. The Global Learning XPRIZE seeks to supplement existing educational systems by allowing children to take learning into their own hands no matter where they may be.
Children are any country’s greatest natural resource. They represent the hope of a better future for a village, for a country, for the world. Right now, in every corner of the globe, hundreds of millions of children will never realize their inherent potential not because they lack ability, but simply because they lack opportunity. This wasting of human potential results in continued economic deprivation for millions, thus preventing entire nations from emerging out of poverty. The Global Learning XPRIZE represents the best chance for this generation of children to escape economic despair because it offers the potential for a solution that works, that’s scalable, and that can be deployed immediately upon proof of concept.
The Global Learning XPRIZE is a catalyst to address the global crisis of illiteracy. Teams’ participation not only will spur innovation in learning and new industries but can have a direct impact on world poverty levels as well as the many other negative effects of illiteracy.