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Xprize's next big challenge: software that lets kids teach themselves

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The Xprize organization has inspired people to take on some pretty lofty goals, ranging from sequencing genomes to literal moonshots. Today, though, it's focusing on a very practical objective: improving education for hundreds of millions of kids. Its new Global Learning Xprize will offer a total of $15 million to teams that build open source, easily scaled software that lets young ones in developing countries teach themselves math, reading and writing. Anyone hoping to join in will have 18 months to craft their tools, which will be tested in at least 100 villages. The top five entrants will get $1 million each, while the winning entry will get a hefty $10 million. It may not be the flashiest competition, but it could go a long, long way toward tackling the chronic shortages of schools and teachers that ultimately hurt kids' futures.

[Image credit: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images]

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