Adult Literacy X-Prize Update

adult literacy x-prize logo

If you were unable to attend the amazing Pro Literacy Conference last month there is a good chance you also missed out on meeting a number of semi-finalists for The Adult Literacy X-Prize .  The contest supported by the Barbra Bush Foundation and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation,  has a vision " to empower the nearly one in six low-literate adults living in the U.S. with the skills they need to improve their lives and realize their dreams."

The semi-finalists include:

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.


I was able to attend CELL-EDs breakout session and while it hink it has some hurdles to overcome , it is really innovative and impressive. It will not , nor was it intended to, replace classroom teaching but it offers a strong mobile option for some students and has already been approved as a distance learning option in New York and Texas. If you are at interested in apps or the X-prize contest , it is worth your time to check out all of the remain teams projects.

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