Filament AI has been named a winner in the ‘Futures Forum on Learning: Tools Competition’, a global competition aimed at developing new technologies to address student learning loss from the coronavirus pandemic. It has won funding alongside educational b-corporation Rising Academies to use conversational AI to help enhance the quality and accessibility of education in Western Africa.

The Futures Forum on Learning competition was convened and sponsored by Schmidt Futures and Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin to accelerate pandemic-related learning recovery and advance the field of learning engineering. The 18 winning teams, made up of entrepreneurs, learning scientists, and researchers from around the world, are eligible to share a total of more than $1.5 million in awards to fund tools, technologies, platforms, and research projects ranging from interactive learning apps to on-demand tutoring.

Launched in July 2020 at the Futures Forum on Learning, the Tools Competition generated nearly 900 proposals from 55 countries, showcasing innovative ways to accelerate learning recovery and mitigate the educational impact of COVID-19on K-12 students.

Meet ‘RORI’

The challenge of providing access to quality education across Africa has been significantly intensified by Covid-19. With children shut out of school, Rising Academies launched its Rising On Air program to deliver free, downloadable, ready-to-air radio scripts, audio and SMS content for five ages groups across K-12. The program was translated into 12 languages and reached upwards of 12 million children.

With its expertise in AI and machine learning technology, Filament AI will further augment the Rising On Air program by building an AI-powered chatbot and recommendation engine to deliver content directly to users phones. Rising on AirInteractive – ‘RORI’ for short – will use a chatbot and recommendation engine to enable children to boost their language and maths skills by accessing the right curriculum topics for their level, in the right sequence, via both text and audio.

The recommendation engine will sit on top of Rising’s library of structured curriculum content, which includes 500 hours of audio, and pull text and audio clips from this library tailored to the needs of individual students. This will provide each child with a personalised, dynamic playlist for learning.

Filament AI will also deliver a dedicated management platform, Enterprise Bot Manager, designed to let Rising Academies staff monitor, scale and develop the chatbot itself. Its team will be able to manage the full chatbot lifecycle, access advanced analytics and seamlessly integrate new content.“The impact of Covid-19 on education, particularly in less developed regions, is a global crisis”, said Colum Elliott-Kelly, Chief Strategy Officer, Filament AI. “Rising Academies has demonstrated the value of alternative content formats and we believe our expertise in enterprise-grade conversational AI can help make high-quality education accessible to even more children that are unable to attend school.”

“The pandemic has underscored the importance of investing in long-term innovative solutions that improve student outcomes,” said Ken Griffin, Citadel Founder and CEO. “Every student should have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed, and I applaud the winners of our Tools Competition for their commitment to improving education for students globally.”

“The Tools Competition is built on three big ideas,” said Kumar Garg, Managing Director and Head of Partnerships at Schmidt Futures. “We must address the global learning loss from the pandemic now, or risk the consequences lasting for years. We must develop new solutions. And we can’t just chase after silver bullets—we have to actually invest in tools that use the best learning science and have the infrastructure for continuous improvement. That’s the value of learning engineering, and that’s what all of these winners exemplify.”