KOCHI, February 23, 2019. Amrita Learning App, a finalist in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE competition, emerged as the winner in its first phase amongst 108 other registered teams and was adjudged to be providing the best ways to accelerate adult literacy in the US using mobile solutions.
Developed by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, the app won $125,000 from XPRIZE, which provides effective, proven educational apps into the hands of learners around the country for free.
Amrita is one of four teams selected for demonstrating significant improvement in language skills in both Native Speakers (NS) and English as a Second Language (ESL) learners during a 12-month test period. The competition will now move on to the next phase, the Communities Challenge, where in the final four apps will be scaled up to enrol one million users across the US. The Communities Competition challenges communities and organisations across the country to empower adults with low literacy skills to download and use a free, effective, convenient and private mobile learning tool. A $3 million grand prize will be awarded to the app that shows the best performance across all adult learners over a 15-month, 12,000-person field test, which is currently being held in Los Angeles, Dallas and Philadelphia.
The Amrita Learning App was developed by an 18-member team from the university’s Centre for Research in Advanced Technologies for Education (Amrita CREATE), led by Dr. Prema Nedungadi. She said, “We are thrilled to have demonstrated significant increase in learning levels across all types of learners. We dedicate this app to Chancellor Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, whose vision of education for life skills, compassion-driven research and global reach inspired and influenced the design of the app. We hope to scale this to millions of learners in the USA through XPRIZE and through the Barbara Bush Foundation, founded by former first lady, Mrs. Barbara Bush, who literally defined the family literacy movement.”
The Amrita team created a personalised learning app structured upon engaging, culturally appropriate series stories linked to life skills. The app consists of true and fictional passages designed specifically for adults, hand-drawn characters, and sections supported by human-voice audio, and substantial Spanish support. Lessons were supported with relevant learning games and music. Amrita Learning App is already available to the public for free on the Google Play Store.