by Devindra Hardawar, Engadget
The latest XPRIZE competition isn’t as high-tech as getting a rover to the moon, but it’s no less important. The organization has teamed up with the Barbara Bush Foundation for a $7 million adult literacy prize, which challenges participants to build mobile applications to promote reading and writing skills. With around 36 million adults in the U.S. without solid literacy skills, there’s certainly plenty of room for better learning solutions out there. And since the competition is focused on mobile apps, the winner should be far more convenient for late-learners than typical language programs, which are often difficult to attend when balancing work and family life. The 18-month-long competition will eventually be narrowed down to five teams, whose apps will be tested with at least 1,000 low-literate adult students over the course of a year.
The top app will get a $4 million grand prize, and there will also be two $500,000 bonus prizes to the teams that perform best with native and non-native English speakers. All of the finalists will also share a $1 million prize if they reach certain metrics, while another $1 million will be awarded to the city that gets the most adults to download the finalist apps.