What is the Global Learning XPRIZE?
The Global Learning XPRIZE was a $15M competition to develop an open-source Android tablet app that enables children ages 7-10 without access to formal education to learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic without adult assistance.
On May 15, 2019, XPRIZE awarded the $10M Grand Prize to the Finalists whose Swahili apps yielded the highest total learning gains in a 15-month-long independent controlled field study conducted by XPRIZE in 170 villages in Tanzania.
The Global Learning XPRIZE is a start, not an end. It's a bold proof of concept that tablet technology can fill the gap left by market failure to provide basic education for many children in developing countries. It's a first step toward XPRIZE's vision of a technology-enabled world class education for every child on the planet.
- April 2015: 198 teams from 40 countries registered. The RoboTutor team started and continues at Carnegie Mellon University, but is registered in the Global Learning XPRIZE as RoboTutor LLC.
- December 2015: RoboTutor team started kid-testing activities in a home and at CMU Children's School
- April 2016: RoboTutor beta site in Mugeta started kid-testing activities
- June 2016: RoboTutor beta site in Bagamoyo started kid-testing activities
- January 2017: 38 teams from 17 countries on 6 continents submitted their apps in English and Swahili.
- April 2017: XPRIZE judges chose 11 Semifinalists, including RoboTutor.
- May 2017: XPRIZE pilot-tested Semifinalists' Swahili apps on local children outside Dar Es Salaam.
- June 2017: Semifinalists presented to the international panel of judges who picked five $1M Finalists.
- September 2017: XPRIZE announced RoboTutor as one of five $1M Finalists.
- Fall 2017: XPRIZE assigned children ages 7-10 in 170 villages in Tanzania to participate in its 15-month-long independent controlled evaluation of the Finalists' Swahili apps, and pretested them on a battery of individually administered measures of reading, writing, and numeracy.
- December 2017: XPRIZE deployed each Finalist's app to 28 villages on Pixel C Android tablets donated by Google. 30 other villages served as a delayed-treatment control group that will receive the winning app after the study.
- May 2018: RoboTutor submitted the first of its two allowed updates.
- October 2018: RoboTutor submitted its second and final update.
- March 2019: XPRIZE posttested the study participants on the same measures as the pretest.
- May 15, 2019: In the live-streamed Grand Prize award ceremony at Google's Playa Vista campus in Los Angeles, XPRIZE awarded the $10M Grand Prize to the teams whose app achieved the highest total learning gains, counting reading 60%, writing 10%, and numeracy 30%.