Updated Jun 10, 2020

Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Project

http://www.curiouslearning.org

Stephanie Gottwald

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Curious Learning is a non-profit putting literacy apps in the hands of children giving them the opportunity to learn to read.

Curious Learning reaches children with applications designed for self-learning. The apps are delivered via parent smartphones, provide continuous learning, and are available on Google Play for free. The collection includes: - Feed the Monster- gamified format to match letters with sounds and early reading skills in 50+ languages. - Global Digital Library- a collection of open-source text in 4...
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Curious Learning reaches children with applications designed for self-learning. The apps are delivered via parent smartphones, provide continuous learning, and are available on Google Play for free. The collection includes: - Feed the Monster- gamified format to match letters with sounds and early reading skills in 50+ languages. - Global Digital Library- a collection of open-source text in 42 languages - Read with Akili- interactive e-books to promote story reading and vocabulary growth. - Chimple- a finalist in the Global Learning XPrize Competition and offers a collection of games for learning and stories for practice. For children to access this resource, parents must be aware of and believe in the value of the apps. Our distribution models raise awareness and inspire engagement among parents. Our distribution research found that Google or Facebook ads can target parents at a cost of $.10 per download. Sharing apps via a trusted source, i.e. a school or local health clinic, results in even higher download and usage rates. Curious Learning is building on this model through partnerships with major institutions like the World Bank, UNESCO, and the United Nations World Food Programme as well as with schools and ministries of education. With a relatively small amount of funding, we can support numerous partners as they work to have parents download the apps and give them to their kids
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Curious Learning apps have been downloaded over 130k times by leveraging social media ads and relationships with trusted sources. Our partnerships with large multinationals like Google and UNESCO are ready to scale to eradicate illiteracy.

Focus Areas:

Basic Education, Literacy, Digital Inclusion & Connectivity and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Basic Education, Literacy, Digital Inclusion & Connectivity and Pre-primary/Pre-school/ECD EducationSEE LESS

150,000
Customers
5
Employees
$2,500,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

The world is experiencing an education crisis. Even before the onset of the COViD-19 pandemic, 100 million young children did not attend school, and another 250 million go to school but fail to learn to read. Learning to read is a fundamental human right and we are in a unique time in history where technology provides the means to deliver this to the next generation.

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Solution

Curious Learning reaches children with open-source applications designed for self-learning. The apps are delivered via parent smartphones, provide continuous learning, and are available on Google Play for free. The apps promote mastery in foundational reading skills in home languages and provide practice in reading text and learning new vocabulary.

Target Beneficiaries

Curious Learning focuses on the needs of the 600 million children in the world who will not learn to read and their parents. Seventy-five percent of illiterate people live in just 10 countries, that include India and Subsaharan Africa. By working in the high impact languages of those regions, we can reach large numbers of the non-literate population.

Mission and Vision

Curious Learning aims to reach 150 million children in 150 languages by 2025. UNESCO research suggests that bringing 170 million people into basic literacy would alleviate 12% of the world’s poverty. Literacy is the bottleneck for every policy to alleviate poverty, increase awareness of communicable diseases, or decrease pollution and violence. Unlike other forms of aid, literacy can never be taken away.

Competitive Advantage

We are at a unique time when the proliferation of smartphones, the neuroscience of reading, and the power of big data support child-driven learning even when children cannot attend school. Open-source apps ensure a quality baseline of learning content across hundreds of languages delivered at a fraction of the cost of traditional education. Previous efforts to bring literacy to marginalized communities have focused on building schools or distributing books. Other edtech organizations create apps for older children who are already literate or complicate the problem by distributing and maintaining hardware instead of using the smartphone parents already have or are soon to get. Private sector solutions exist behind paywalls and don’t localize their content to languages spoken by those most in need. Curious Learning embraces a context-sensitive, technology-based, evidence-driven, open-source solution to solving the literacy crisis.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We are responding to numerous requests as the number of out of school children has moved from a few hundred million to over 1.5 Billion in a short few weeks. Increased support allows us to localize and deploy messaging campaigns to increase downloads. We can also engage in outreach efforts to connect with new partners to ensure fast and reliable communications to all stakeholders. Over the next 4 months, we could acquire additional apps include games for learning early math skills.
Funding Goal400,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted5
New Implemented CountriesEthiopia, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya
Recruit1 Board, 1 staff
New FeatureLocalize source math learning apps; Expand distribution

The Team Behind the Innovation

Curious Learning began as research to see if kids learn from mobile devices. This project inspired many efforts, including the Global Learning XPrize. Our team leverages a decade of field experience to understand what works in learning technology. We cultivate skills in discoverable interfaces and localization pipelines. Our co-founders, Tinsley Galyean and Stephanie Gottwald, have twenty years of industry and academic experience in technology design, literacy, and education.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

May 2020
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Selected for EdTech Pitch Day

Supporting Materials

Curious-Learning-Pandemic-response-orientation-null.pdf