Dev4X

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Dev4X: Moonshot Education Project

New York, États UnisNairobi, KenyaTanzaniaTanzania
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Scaling strategies launched within the past 6 months:
Organizational Growth
Open Sourcing
Campaigns
Other
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

There are hundreds of millions of children unable to get a quality education. Our unique approach to empower children to take their education into their own hands, is highly scalable, will improve existing models, and reach the hundreds of millions of children left behind.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the millions of children who cannot go to schools and get a quality education, could still learn anything they needed to?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are more than 100 million children in the developing world who do not have access to schools, and many more millions who may have some access but are not being taught the critical skills needed. Traditional approaches to education cannot scale to reach all those that need it and for those it does reach, it is pushing an outdated one-size-fits-all factory model, that focuses on knowledge and skills no longer required.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We are developing a unique and highly scalable platform that can empower children to take their learning into their own hands. It includes gamified-learning software that packages new and existing educational apps, content and courses together with tools that empower self-directed and peer-to-peer learning. This unique approach allows it to operate within traditional schools as a supplemental tool to improving existing systems, but also in environments where there are no schools or teachers so that we can reach those who truly need it most. This will have a huge impact, improve already successful systems, and is a unique approach that can reach the hundreds of millions of children current approaches are leaving behind.

Awards

1. Flash Grant from Shuttleworth foundation. 2. Showcased on 'Google Solve for X' 3. Awarded a place at the Unreasonable Institute (2016). 4. Awarded services by Minum through their #Mirum24 project
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We work on four high level theories: 1 If we can build software tools to foster self-directed learning, then we can empower children, and enhance existing educational organizations and content. 2 If we can build software tools to foster peer-to-peer learning, then we can leverage the untapped potential and passion of children & propagate learning through a community. 3 If we can validate our approach and its impact within small deployments, then we can gain trust and make systemic changes to how education is delivered. 4 If we can build these tools to operate standalone on low-cost devices, and make it really easy to install on existing hardware, then we will be able to deploy to the most underserved & achieve massive scale.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

At our current early stage, our impact relates to three theories we want to validate. Can we: 1. Build tools to foster self-directed learning, 2. Build tools to foster peer-to-peer learning, 3. Build these tools in software to run on low-cost devices, which are offline. So far, the answer is yes. We have validated that children without previous access to technology can use devices and software without instruction or guidance. We have learned what tools would foster self-directed and peer-to-peer learning and we have architected a highly scalable platform that can be used the world over. Longer term impact success criteria include: 4. Validate this approach works within low-resourced communities 5. Use that validation to scale globally and have our open software installed on the billions of existing devices so that every child can explore their own learning.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We are architecting an open platform that is language and content agnostic, can operate offline and in both formal or informal settings. This provides us access to three segments: 1. Private orgs, NGO's and libraries who are deploying tablet based solutions with educational content. 2. Schools and government projects that deploy tablet based solutions with educational content. 3. Parents who homeschool or those that want supplemental educational tools for their children. We have viable options in all three of these verticals, and will strategically choose early deployments for maximum effect.
Sustainability
Funding: How is your project financially supported?: 
individual donations or gifts - 40%
foundation or NGO grants - 5%
other - 55%

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have both a Non-Profit and soon to be launched Benefit-Corp. The Non-profit attracts funds for R&D and deployments, while the Benefit-Corp develops software to licence to educational organizations. It also develops other revenue streams through the platforms' marketplace and subscription service. Once developed the software platform has close to zero marginal cost, allowing us to scale quickly and create a sustainable business.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Others in the market: NGOs like UNICEF, Rumi, OLE. School systems like that of Kenya. Homeschooling content providers like Time4Learning, PowerMylearning. Adaptive platforms like Knewton, Declara. What sets us apart: We are empowering children to take their learning into their own hands. Designed to work everywhere, formal & informal environments as well as stand alone disconnected from the internet. Our technology is open and can be used by others to enhance their own content and learning experience. Our assessment approach is focused on core skills needed to succeed.
Team

Founding Story

I am a social entrepreneur who had a wildly nontraditional education. I was born and raised in southern Africa and much like most children, I hated school. I received continual feedback that I would not go far if I could not follow the traditional approach. This created anxiety and self-doubt that still affects me, but now fuels the passion I use to try help other kids who are going through the same. Instead of school, I self-taught, learnt by doing, experimenting, following my passions and working with mentors and friends. When my daughter was born I desperately wanted her to have a learning experience like mine, that fostered her creativity, curiosity and passions. That was when the Dev4X project was born.

Team

We have a strong solid core team with diverse backgrounds and applicable expertise. In addition to that, given our radically open approach we have a growing group of incredibly talented and passionate individuals that are onboard as advisors and possible full time team members when more funding is secured. For full details and links to linkedIn pages see our about us page: http://www.dev4x.com/aboutus