Carnegie Mellon University

Join the RoboTutor teamJoin the Team

Project description:  The RoboTutor team is a $1M Finalist in the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE (  This international competition seeks to address the acute shortage of teachers in developing countries.  The goal is to create an open-source Android tablet app that enables children ages 7-10 with little or no access to schools to learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic without adult assistance.  We are already field-testing the Swahili and English versions of RoboTutor in Tanzania and elsewhere, analyzing the log data and screen video it captures, and extending and refining it accordingly.

  • We need additional team members to help design, implement, (remotely) field-test, analyze, and refine intelligent tutors and games for literacy and numeracy.
  • Typically we work in small groups of 2-3 to develop a specific activity or component.
  • Ideally team members work at least 10 hours/week, especially if programming, but even 6 hours/week can be enough to contribute usefully in other ways.
  • Team members need access to a computer to develop and test on.  In addition, an Android device to test on is useful but optional, as code can run in Android Studio.


    • Typically team members work just for the learning, fun, and satisfaction they get from the experience.
    • Independent study credit is possible if approved by the student's department -- if interested, ask your department how.
    • A project may qualify as part of an existing course if approved by the professor -- if interested, ask the professor.
    • We now have some (limited) funding to pay for some work performed at CMU.

Requirements:  Please help identify suitable assignments by emailing your resume to if you already have one, plus whichever of the following information you can send now. If you join the team, I'll want the rest of it as well.

Contact and other information about you:

  • Preferred email address
  • Cell phone number
  • US mail address
  • GMail address (needed to give access to our Google Drive files)
  • GitHub ID if you have one
  • High-resolution color headshot (photo of your face) for our People pagetalks, etc.
  • What if any Android device(s) do you own?
  • What if any computer do you own that you can work on?


  • How many hours per week can you realistically devote to this project?
  • From what approximate start date?
  • Until what approximate end date?
  • What specific hours are you available each weekday?  I will need this information to assign students to work together and schedule when to meet with them each week.
  • What if any form of compensation do you need?


  • A pointer to a sample of code or content you have created in github or elsewhere, if any
  • Knowledge of any relevant areas:  design, psychology, education, intelligent tutors, games, programming, HCI, linguistics, natural language processing, educational data mining, Swahili, ...
  • Experience with Android app programming, JSON, Java, user testing, crowdsourcing, children, or anything else conceivably relevant


  • Your major(s)
  • When will (or did) you graduate?
  • Titles or topics (not just course numbers) of any courses you think might be relevant
  • Your GPA overall and in your major(s)


  • How or where you heard about RoboTutor
  • Why you’re interested
  • What you hope to get out of working on RoboTutor
  • Optional:  preferences, if any, for what aspect(s) to work on, e.g.:
    • reading vs. writing vs. numeracy
    • tutors vs. games vs. shared components vs. content
    • develop vs. adapt vs. test vs. analyze


  • We need to be free to incorporate into RoboTutor any results you may produce.
  • We need everyone on the RoboTutor team to agree to abide by XPRIZE guidelines.
  • We need everyone on the RoboTutor team to sign forms agreeing to these conditions.