Back in 2014, I worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, and we launched the Global Learning XPRIZE. This $15 million competition, funded by Elon Musk among others, challenged teams to build an Android tablet application that teaches kids how to read, write, and perform arithmetic, all without the aid of a teacher within 18 months. The competition showed the potential of how technology can help to bring education to 250million+ kids around the world.
Fast forward to 2019 and the prize was awarded to Team onebillion and Team KitKit School, with all entries showing incredible results in learning across literacy, maths, and beyond. What’s more, all the entries have been open sourced on GitHub.
Emily Musil Church is the director of the prize, and was involved at every step of the way from shaping the competition, to running the field trials in Tanzania, and more. She is one of the most incredible people I have ever worked with.
In this episode of Conversations With Bacon we get into the nature of the competition, the logistics of running field trials with thousands of Google Pixel tablets across hundreds of remote villages, how the teams competed and collaborated together, the broader impact of education beyond merely learning, the open sourcing of the entries, and much more. This is a really fascinating and inspiring conversation!