RoboTutor team using open source tools to address short supply of teachers, schools

CMU RoboTutor team addressing short supply of teachers, schools
Credit: Ontario Ministry of Education

Where were these Carnegie Mellon University researchers when Sister Thomas Catherine was frightening me and other good little Catholic school 3rd graders back in the day? 

CMU today informed us that a team of its researchers is taking aim at the $10 million grand prize of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE competition, the goal of which is to empower children to take control of their own learning via tablet computers, software and the like. The competition was announced about a year ago.

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The researchers aren't actually trying to displace the good sisters and other teachers from their jobs, but rather, are looking to help educate kids in parts of the world where teachers and schools are hard to find. 

 

Jack Mostow CMU CMU

CMU research professor emeritus Jack Mostow: “I’m excited as I can be about this project and the students are too.”

“At Carnegie Mellon, we take pride in solving big problems, and the lack of formal schooling is a truly immense problem in many parts of the world,” said Jack Mostow, a research professor emeritus in the Robotics Institute and the leader of CMU’s “RoboTutor” team, in a statement. “If we can develop educational technology to fill that gap, we can significantly improve the lives of the 250 million children who today can’t read, write, or do basic math.” 

Among Mostow's claims to fame at CMU: His work on an automated Reading Tutor.

Two hundred teams from 40 nations (including many startups and software outfits) are competing for the Global Learning XPRIZE's big award, which will go to the group whose open source software proves best able to help children learn basic literacy and math skills during a field test in East Africa with kids ages 7-10. CMU will wield its expertise in data-driven learning.

Teams have until next November to finish their projects.  

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