British team developing teaching without teachers in bid for $10m prize

Onebillion is one of five finalists for the Global Learning XPrize and has a year to develop a prize-winning system

Martin George

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A British team is working to develop a method of teaching children without using teachers that could win it a $10 million global education prize.

The Global Learning XPrize was launched in 2014 to help provide education to millions of children in the developing world who do not have access to quality schools or teachers.

The initiative “challenges teams from around the world to develop open source scalable software solution that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic”.

Last September, onebillion, a British team, was announced as one of five finalists, each of which received $1 million and went through to a 15-month field test of its effectiveness.

The winner will be announced in a year's time in April 2019.

The team judged to have enabled “the greatest proficiency gains in reading, writing, and arithmetic” will receive the $10 million grand prize.

Onebillion has been working in countries including India, Uganda and Malawi for more than a decade, and the product entered for the competition, called onecourse, is an app for reading and numeracy in the child’s own language.

According to its website: “The child is guided through the carefully designed course by a friendly teacher character. The modular structure allows for personalisation and evolving through new or modified content.”

Announcing the finalists – which also include a team from India and three from the USA – Marcus Shingles, CEO of the XPrize Foundation, said: “Universal access to education is a major priority for XPrize, and we are proud to celebrate the change-making teams making impressive strides to ensure every single child has the opportunity to take learning into her own hands.

“The leading solutions born from this competition could provide the key to unlocking literacy for children most in need, giving them access to an education they otherwise wouldn’t have.”



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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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