City Hall is helping XPRIZE deploy a field test for its adult literacy competition - Technical.ly Philly

Civic

Jul. 13, 2017 12:57 pm

City Hall is helping XPRIZE deploy a field test for its adult literacy competition

The city's Office of Adult Education will hook up 3,500 Philly adults reading at a 3rd-grade level or below with mobile apps in the test phase.

Philadelphia City Hall.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s a stat that bears repeating till it sinks in: a whopping 36 million U.S. adults lack basic English literacy, per a 2015 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education.

That assessment of the situation, workforce implications aside, means a group of Americans equal to Canada’s entire population have difficulty accessing basic services like opening a bank account or navigating the country’s often complex health system.

Solving that problem through tech is the goal of the 108 teams around the world participating on XPRIZE Adult Literacy competition, and Philly’s playing a major part in it. Starting July 25, Philadelphians reading at a 3rd-grade level or below can get to try out literacy-focused mobile apps made by 10 or so of the contest semifinalists. The goal is to connect 3,500 people with one of the mobile apps.

XPRIZE reached out with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Adult Education (OAE) to connect to the target audience. The test is also happening in Los Angeles and Dallas, though Philly is in the only city where local government is the liaison.

“Our task was to publicly engage, screen and enroll 3,500 adults who will use one of the randomly assigned apps for 12 months,” said Anne Gemmell, director of family learning at OAE. “They’ll agree to have data tracked in exchange for a gift card.”

Following the field test, up to five finalists will be announced in May 2018. Winners of the $7 million pool of prizes — sponsored by the Barbara Bush Foundation and Dollar General Foundation — will be announced early 2019.

Though no Philly teams made their way to the semi-finalists, a home-grown team did recently score a $2.5 million prize from another XPRIZE competition: the creators of a Star Trek-inspired medical device.

“A lot of people in the world look down to people in adult education,” said Diane Inverso, director of the OAE. “They’re thought of as slackers, and because of that stigma and the lack of funding it’s not a field that sees a lot of innovation.” She said the potential upside for the city lies in further connections with the organization and usage of a tech-enabled literacy tool by locals.

Advertisement

Those interested in participating in the test can preregister by calling 215-686-5250. The participants first language must be either English or Spanish. Also, the effort is sourcing volunteers, who can sign up here.

Organizations: City of Philadelphia
-30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here

Advertisement

Food Connect is now saving 12,000 meals from hitting the trash can every month

This student-made app wants to curb body shaming — while helping you look fly

Stoop wants to put all your newsletters in one place

SPONSORED

Philly

Pitch to speak at Comcast Labs Connect’s data security conference

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Software Engineer

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Perpay

Operations Specialist

Apply Now
Philadelphia area

Chariot Solutions

Mobile Developers

Apply Now

Swipe three times, lease a car: Honcker expands its app-based car leasing service to Philly

Philly’s Digital Literacy Alliance has $175K to back innovative projects

Sofa, the app for curating books and movies you like, is back

SPONSORED

Philly

How teamwork is setting the standard for data standardization at Pinnacle 21

Chesterbrook, PA

Deacom

Front End Developer

Apply Now
Malvern, PA

Vanguard

Intermediate Software Developer

Apply Now
Malvern, PA

Vanguard

Full – Stack Engineer-Java

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!