The Latest: US, UK teams share $10M XPRIZE award

Associated Press |

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the competition for the XPrize For Global Learning (all times local):

A US company founded by game-developer parents who wanted to help their special-needs son and a London-based educational nonprofit have won a $10 million award for software they developed to teach illiterate children to teach themselves to read.

California's Kitkit School and London's onebillion nonprofit were announced Wednesday as grand-prize winners of the XPRIZE For Global Literacy.

The two teams will split the $10 million and they and three other finalists will receive $1 million apiece as part of the $15 million XPRIZE funded by Elon Musk to promote global learning for all.

The top winners prevailed in a 15-month field test that put open-sourced software on thousands of tablets that were used by illiterate youngsters in remote Tanzanian villages to teach themselves to read, write and do arithmetic.

It's one thing to teach a child to read, but can children teach themselves to read?

That was the global literacy challenge nearly 200 teams from 40 countries accepted more than a year ago when they joined a competition to win the next $10 million XPRIZE, a coveted international award with the goal of making the world better through technology.

After months of testing software designs on tablets given to illiterate children in more than 140 villages in Tanzania, the competition was winnowed to five finalists.

The winner to be announced Wednesday night at a Los Angeles gala will be tasked with using the prize money to develop a literacy program that can be applied throughout the world.

The winner's open-source technology will also be made available to anyone.

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