The XPRIZE, in partnership with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and Dollar General Literacy Foundation, has announced the launch of a $7 million global competition that will challenge teams to develop mobile applications for adults that result in a significant increase in their literacy skills within a year.
After a six-month registration period, teams participating in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE competition will have eighteen months to develop their apps. A panel of third-party expert judges will then select the top five teams to move on to the twelve-month field-testing phase of the competition. The five finalist solutions will be tested with a minimum of one thousand adult learners, ages 18-64, who read at or below the equivalent of a third-grade reading level. The competition's $4 million Grand Prize will be awarded to the team with the best performance across all adult learners over the twelve-month field test. In addition, bonus prizes of $500,000 will be awarded to the two teams with the best performance in each of the two key demographic groups, native English speakers and non-native English speakers.
Following the awarding of the Grand Prize and bonus prizes, cities across the United States will compete to encourage their adult learners to download and use the winning applications. A $1 million award will be divided among the finalists that qualify for the Cities Competition, while a second $1 million prize will be awarded to the city that encourages the greatest percentage of its adult learners to download and use any of the finalist solutions over a six-month period.
"An estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. lack basic literacy skills, as do millions more around the world," said XPRIZE chair and CEO Peter H. Diamandis. "Existing programs require classrooms and teachers and cannot possibly scale to meet the need of the millions of adults who need support. The Adult Literacy XPRIZE demonstrates a paradigm shift in how we approach adult learning globally, with educational applications that are effective, scalable, and that can be accessed anytime, anywhere."