Technology and Learning Community colleagues,
The XPRIZE Foundation has just announced the Adult Literacy XPRIZE, a $7 Million competition in which teams of software developers design basic adult literacy (zero to grade three) learning solutions that work on smartphones and "phablets" (larger smartphones). The solutions need to be engaging, very easy to navigate, and not accompanied by face-to-face tutoring or teaching. This is, indeed, an interesting challenge: providing highly engaging basic adult literacy instruction from an online software application on a smartphone. The first phase, 18 months, is for teams to compete to develop the five top software solutions. Then these top solutions will be tested by adult learners, to be recruited by an XPRIZE Foundation sub-contractor. The learners will need to have a smartphone, and will be pre-tested, and after one year post-tested, using a CASAS assessment. The winning solution will then be implemented in several cities chosen by the XPRIZE Foundation. The winning city will be the one that has the most number of downloaded adult literacy software applications. That's my understanding at this point and, of course it's my interpretation, not an official XPRIZE Foundation description; my understanding is based on my interpretation of the draft guidelines, and of a June 9th Google Hangout (archived at https://plus.google.com/events/cnk3qk0426ckgdmhs40srg1gllg ) offered by the XPRIZE Foundation to provide information and answer questions.
You will find direct information about the Adult Literacy XPRIZE at http://adultliteracy.xprize.org/about/overview and the draft guidelines at http://www.xprize.org/sites/default/files/alxp_draft_guidelines_v1.0_2015-06-08.pdf
David J. Rosen
Technology and Learning CoP Moderator
The National Council for Adult Learning (NCAL) has published a blog article in which several leaders and national experts in adult literacy education give their reactions to the announcement of an XPRIZE for Adult Literacy. You will find the article at http://ncalamerica.org/blog/
What are your thoughts about the Adult Literacy XPRIZE? Do any of the issues raised by the blog article authors resonate for you? Are there issues that you have been thinking about that were not raised? Are there issues raised that you disagree with?
David J. Rosen
Technology and Learning CoP Moderator
In June 1915, the XPRIZE Foundation announced an international competition for an adult literacy digital device app for so-called zero-three level adult literacy and ELA/ESL/ESOL users. Two years later, today, they have announced eight semi-finalist teams that have developed apps, and three cities where, for the next 15 months, the apps will be tested.
The eight teams advancing are:
- Alphabet Literacy (San Francisco, CA) - Led by Xian Ke and Trudy Obi, the team has built an app that allows users to explore multimedia content for improving their literacy skills. Users can interact with articles, songs, videos and more within the app.
- AmritaCREATE, Amrita University (Amritapuri, Kerala, India) - Inspired by Amrita University's Chancellor AMMA and led by Dr. Prema Nedungadi, this team of educators and developers have created a personalized learning app along with engaging, culturally appropriate e-content linked to life skills.
- AutoCognita (Hong Kong, China) - Led by Frank Ho, the team applies the constructivist learning approach to engage learners through action. Low-literacy adults effectively acquire basic literacy, numeracy and life skills through a comprehensive curriculum and sound pedagogy.
- Cell-Ed (Oakland, CA) - Led by Dr. Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, this team brings more than 20 years of EdTech experience with low income, low-literate adults in the US and worldwide by offering on-demand essential skills, micro-lessons and personalized coaching on any mobile device, without internet.
- Learning Games Studios (Alexandria, VA) - Led by Ira Sockowitz, Learning Games Studios has developed an evidence-based mobile learning game that combines a virtual world, scaffolded missions and single- and multi-player gameplay to rapidly increase adult learners’ English language and literacy skills.
- Learning Upgrade (San Diego, CA) - Led by Vinod Lobo, the team helps students learn English and math the fun way through songs, video, games and rewards.
- Lyriko (Cambridge, MA) - The Lyriko team believes people learn best when they are having fun and hopes to inspire a lifelong love of learning through play. Their app, also called Lyriko, is a music game designed to build language skills while exploring song lyrics.
- People ForWords (Dallas, TX) - Led by Southern Methodist University’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, in collaboration with SMU’s Guildhall and Literacy Instruction for Texas, the PeopleForWords team has developed a mobile game based on an archeological adventure storyline to help adult learners improve their English reading skills.
The three major U.S. metropolitan areas are: Los Angeles, Dallas and Philadelphia
Following 12 months of consistent use, a post-test will be administered to determine the highest gains in literacy achieved by the participants. Participants’ app usage, responses to monthly surveys and self-assessments will also factor in the judges’ final evaluation.
Some or all of these apps may already be available. I wonder if anyone has been trying them out with adult learners in basic literacy or beginning level ELA classes as supplementary materials accessible by smartphone or other portable digital devices. If so, tell us about what you have been doing.
David J. Rosen, Moderator
Integrating Technology CoP