Access to quality education remains limited and unevenly distributed across the Southeast Asia region, especially for underserved learners in low connectivity environments. While Covid-19 exacerbated these inequities, the pandemic also dramatically transformed the delivery of education through remote learning and accelerated the demand for edtech capabilities.
On July 15, 2021, the Octava Social Innovation Challenge powered by MIT Solve and supported by UBS Optimus Foundation was launched to ask innovators from around the world: how can edtech solutions improve learning outcomes for underserved learners in Southeast Asia while being affordable and accessible? The Challenge sought innovative solutions that provided consistent access to quality learning for ‘bottom of the pyramid’ learners in at least one of Octava Foundation’s target countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Challenge’s esteemed panel of judges comprised of educators, funders, education pedagogy specialists, and technologists carefully reviewed the proposed solutions. Of the over 120 submitted applications, 16 teams were selected as finalists and invited to pitch their solutions in a live Q&A with the judges.
After much deliberation, 10 exceptional teams, all working to improve learning outcomes for underserved learners in Southeast Asia, will each receive a minimum of $50,000 in funding as well as an opportunity to participate in a 10-month tailored support program run by Octava Foundation and MIT Solve.
We are thrilled to introduce the 10 prize winners of the Octava Social Innovation Challenge:
Bookbot: Bookbot is an app that uses speech recognition to help children of all abilities and reading levels to learn how to read and improve their reading skills.
The app’s real-time, on-device voice recognition technology listens to the child read out loud and provides feedback through pronunciation modeling. It also produces reports that allow teachers to monitor the progress and improvement of the child’s reading level.
Cerebry: Cerebry is a virtual math teaching assistant that works with existing math curricula and accelerates student mastery of concepts.
Cerebry is a web-based, AI driven, virtual tutor that can generate questions on-the-fly, solve and diagnose a student’s misconceptions. Unlike traditional textbooks which help with initial understanding, Cereby creates lasting proficiency for exams. Cerebry benefits underserved students and contributes to closing the gap between private and public education.
Doyobi: Doyobi upskills teachers to deliver STEM and 21st century skills by equipping them with teaching resources and learning tools.
Doyobi develops content for educators delivered in a Virtual Learning Environment enabling teachers to make students full participants in their own education journey through active learning.
ICANDO: ICANDO equips early-learners of Indonesia with 21st century skills by providing inclusive and accessible game-based learning platforms.
ICANDO utilizes game-based learning activities that are carefully developed with discovery learning. Teachers, children, and parents are equipped with educational apps that can synergise to enhance children’s learning, especially 21st century skill development.
Kipin.id: Kipin digitizes K-12 education, providing access to learning tools for schools in low connectivity areas.
Kipin’s smart IoT device enables teachers and students to access 60,000 curriculum books, videos, quizzes and administer digital tests in their classrooms without the internet. Users stand within 15 meters of the Kipin device to connect to its wifi and access the library of content to download on their own device.
KooBits: KooBits provides a digital learning platform that helps children learn in a fun and effective way and can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and at their own pace.
KooBits leverages technology to turn traits of good teachers, good schools and best learning communities into its product features. KooBits leverages innovative technologies to bring comprehensive education content, world-class teaching pedagogies, and engaging user experience to every child.
Let’s Read: Let’s Read catalyzes children’s literacy through the confluence of intuitive, accessible technology design, community-led engagement, and fun, local language stories.
Let’s Read introduces a more accessible and effective digital library that allows parents, communities and educators in low bandwidth environments to be part of their children’s learning experience, regardless of their own education levels.
Pandai Education: Pandai is an app to help school students aged seven to 17 learn and improve their academic performance.
Using Pandai, students engage with curriculum-based assessments by answering gamified questions. Pandai generates a comprehensive and individualized report that informs not only the final grade, but also a complete breakdown of their performance based on various criteria.
Pemimpin, Inspirasi, and Global School Leaders: Pemimpin, Inspirasi, and Global School Leaders have partnered together to address the wellbeing and learning needs of students in Indonesia and Malaysia, using an online training program for school leaders.
This solution delivers school leadership capacity building with the goal of equipping school leaders with the necessary tools, frameworks and strategies to lead their schools’ efforts in learning recovery.
Spark Kits: Spark Kits offers an offline, off-grid ‘classroom in a box’ that makes sure all children, anywhere can learn literacy and numeracy.
Each tablet is equipped with the Elevate app which teaches basic literacy and numeracy using gamified learning, and a Library app that gives children culturally relevant books to engage them on their reading journey.