RoboTutor, educational technology developed at Carnegie Mellon University that teaches children basic math and reading skills, has been named a semifinalist in the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE competition.
An estimated 250 million children around the world cannot read, write or do fundamental arithmetic, and many of these children are in developing countries without regular access to schools or teachers. XPRIZE is attempting to address the acute shortage of teachers in developing countries by funding an international competition to create open-source Android tablet apps that enable children ages 7-10 to learn basic reading, writing and math skills without requiring adult assistance. Apps were created in both English and Swahili.
Amy Ogan, an assistant professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, is a member of the RoboTutor team and has field-tested the technology in several settings in Tanzania.
"While we focus on improving RoboTutor with large-scale data, we never forget that it really represents kids who are living and learning in a context that we must understand, in order to properly interpret that data," she said.
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