How did we get here?
In June 2018 at the ALA conference, Learning Upgrade was acclaimed as one of a handful of finalists in the Barbara Bush Foundation’s Adult Literacy XPrize Competition. Their experience and thoughtful design were especially attractive. We took advantage of a low cost trial to test their application with adult learners in a few of our programs—specifically reentry, Read Better, and HSE Connect. All participants and agencies contacted thought that this was an excellent tool.
At the same event, the XPrize Adult Literacy Communities Competition was announced. Phase 1 of the competition (a $1,000,000 prize purse) focused on building awareness and use of mobile learning resources for these hard-to-serve audiences. Given WLS’ strong network of service agencies, it seemed we could devise a strong plan for promoting outreach in our community. In fact, our plan–to promote through our existing outreach programs and partners–won us $23,000 for promotional efforts.
To compete in Phase 2, the three teams that achieve the most downloads across three tiers of activity will share a $500,000 prize. Our competition tier has a goal of 1,500 downloads. the download and use must take place between April 1 and August 31. Individuals must create an account using our Special Class Code (3355738) and must use the program on an Android device on three separate days. While we are confident we can meet our goal, our emphasis in this period will be to promote WLS learning tools and libraries as a resource and partner for learners of all ages (and on any platform).
Accordingly, concurrent with promotion of Learning Upgrade, we will be promoting all of our learning resources—those that serve adults seeking to build their skills, as well as those that help adults support the learning of their children and teens. Copies of our new brochure, “Free Online Learning Resources for All Ages,” will be distributed to libraries and made available during our download events.
This competition gives us a timely focal point (and promotional funds) to build awareness both broadly and among hard-to-reach populations.