This is a $15 million competition in which teams are challenged to create Open Source software that will teach a child to read, write, and perform arithmetic in 18 months without the aid of a teacher. This is not designed to replace teachers but to instead provide an educational solution where little or none exists.
There are 57 million children aged 5 – 12 in the world today who have no access to education. There are 250 million children below basic literacy levels, even after several years of school. You may think the solution to this is to build more schools, but we would need an extra 1.6 million teachers by next year to provide universal primary education.
This is a tragedy.
This new XPRIZE is designed to help fix this.
Every child should have a right to the core ingredient that is literacy. It unlocks their potential and opens up opportunity. Just think of all the resources we depend on today for growth and education…the Internet, books, wikipedia, collaborative tools…without literacy all of these are inaccessible. It is time to change this. Too many suffer from a lack of literacy, and sadly girls bear much of the brunt of this too.
This prize is open to anyone to participate in. Professional developers, hobbyists, students, scientists, teachers…everyone is welcome to join in and compete. While the $15 million purse is attractive in itself, just think of the impact of potentially changing the lives of hundreds of millions of kids.
Coopetition For a Great Cause
What really excites me about this new XPRIZE is that it is the first Open Source XPRIZE. The winning team and the four runner-up teams will be expected to Open Source their entire code-base, assets, and material. This will create a solid foundation of education technology that can live on…long past the conclusion of this XPRIZE.
That isn’t the only reason why this excites me though. The Open Source nature of this prize provides an incredible opportunity for coopetition; where teams can collaborate around common areas of interest and problem-solving, while keeping their secret sauce to themselves. The impact of this could be profound.
I will be working hard to build an environment in which we encourage this kind of collaboration. It makes no sense for 100 teams to all solve the same problems privately in their own silo. Let’s get everyone up and running in GitHub, collaborating around these common challenges, so all the teams benefit from that pooling of resources.
Let’s also open this up so everyone can help us be successful. Let’s invite designers, translators, testers, teachers, scientists, musicians, artists and more…everyone has something they can bring to solve one of our grandest challenges, and help create a more literate and peaceful world.
Everyone Can Play a Part
As part of this new XPRIZE we are also launching a crowdfunding campaign that is designed to raise additional resources so we can do even more as part of the prize. We have already funded the $15 million prize purse and some field-testing, but this crowdfunding campaign will provide the resources for us to do so much more.
This will help us broaden the field-testing in more countries, with more kids, to grow a global community around solving these grand challenges, build a collaborative environment for teams to work together on common problems, and optimize this new XPRIZE to be as successful as possible. Every penny contributed helps us to do more and ultimately squeeze the most value out of this important XPRIZE.
There are ten things you can do to help:
- Contribute! – a great place to start is to buy one of our awesome perks from the crowdfunding campaign. Find out more here.
- Join the Community – come and meet the new XPRIZE community at http://forum.xprize.org and share ideas, brainstorm, and collaborate around new projects.
- Refer Friends and Win Prizes – want to win an expenses-paid trip to our Visioneering event where we create new XPRIZEs while also helping spread the word? To find out more click here.
- Download the Street Team Kit – head over to our Get Involved page and download a free kit with avatars, banners, posters, presentations, FAQs and more. The page also includes videos for how to get started!
- Create and Share Digital Content – we are encouraging authors, developers, content-creators and more to create content that will spread the word about literacy, the Global Learning XPRIZE, and more!
Share and Tag Your Fave Children’s Book – which children’s books have been the most memorable for you? Share your favorite (and preferably post a picture of the cover), complete with a link to
http://igg.me/at/learningxprize and tag 5 friends to share theirs too! When using social media, be sure to use the #learningprize hashtag.
- Show Your Pride – go and download the Street Team Kit and use the images and avatars in there to change your profile picture and banner on your favorite social media networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+).
- Create Your ‘Learning Moment’ Video – record a video and share on a video website (such as YouTube) about how learning has really impact your life. Give the video the title “Global Learning XPRIZE: My Learning Moment“. Be sure to share your video on social media too with the #learningprize hashtag!
- Put Posters up in Your Community – go and download the Street Team Kit, print the posters out and put them up in your local coffee shops, universities, colleges, schools, and elsewhere!
- Organize a Local Event – create a local event to share the Global Learning XPRIZE. Fortunately we have a video on our Get Involved page that explains how you can do this, and we have a presentation deck with notes ready for you to use!
I know a lot of people who read my blog are Open Source folks, and I believe this prize offers an incredible opportunity for us to come together to have a very real profound impact on the world. Come and join the community, support the crowdfunding campaign, and help us to all be successful in bringing literacy to millions.