Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Sunday, October 19, 2014
be stepping down at the end of this year and shifting my focus to lesson
development. As a result, L2L is searching for someone to take over and
lead L2L into the future.
We are looking for someone who is familiar with Lesotho and has experience
working with Basotho. Though we are based in the U.S., the president doesn't
necessarily have to be someone in the U.S.
We have a board member in Pretoria, South Africa, who is reluctantly willing
to act as Interim President, if necessary, until we can find someone who
will serve a full 3-year term.
In Lesotho, we currently have a native project leader, project
coordinator, and volunteer. We also have seven directors in the U.S. and
South Africa and over 2 dozen part-time volunteers in 4 countries. Two of
the volunteers are handling fundraising, so that sometimes onerous task
As we are an all-volunteer organization, the presidency is a unpaid
The president would primarily serve as a figurehead, leader, and
motivator, keeping the organization true to our founding philosophy and
approach, as well as acting as a liaison with our Basotho participants and
overseeing all project operations.
The L2L philosophy is to mentor, train, and encourage Basotho leadership,
with community involvement and investment in the project before the
schools or students receive any benefits, and to give Basotho control of
project design and daily operations.
L2L is currently supporting educational work at two schools in
Lesotho, serving nearly 600 students. We are looking to expand to a
third school sometime in 2016, with groundwork being laid in 2015.
I plan to stay active on the Board, so I will be available to offer
support and guidance, if needed, as the new president gets familiar with
If you are interested in applying for the president's position, contact me
The X PRIZE Foundation, the brainchild of entrepreneur and futurist Peter Diamandis, is already working on everything from sending people to the moon, to cleaning up our oceans, to developing a real life Star Trek tricorder. And on Monday, the venerable non-profit announced another ambitious goal. It wants to bootstrap technology that will let the world's children teach themselves to read and write.
The newly launched Global Learning X PRIZE is offering up $15 million to fund open source software that can remake education in the developing world. Ideally, Diamandis says, the X PRIZE team is looking for software that is artificially intelligent, so it can better understand how students learn and what their interests are, in order to keep them more engaged in their education.
"This 200-year-old industrial age educational system that we all grew up in, in which we all sit in a classroom, the bell rings, and like cogs in a wheel, we change classrooms? Inevitably, half the students are lost, and half are bored," Diamandis told WIRED on Monday at the Social Good Summit in New York City, where the new prize was announced. "The question is: How do you change that so it's personalized education? That's possible, and that's the goal."
'We're aiming at kids who live in villages where there's nothing. This has to take them from complete illiteracy to basic reading, writing and numeracy.'
As Diamandis admits, there's no shortage of technological innovation in education these days. The last few years have given birth to models like the massively open online course, which promises to give an elite global education to anyone online for free. But as important as this technology may be, he says, it often "assumes a higher state of learning than exists." "If you don't have the basics of education, you don't know how to use the web and don't know how to type in a URL," he says. "We're aiming at kids who live in villages where there's nothing. This has to take them from complete illiteracy to basic reading, writing and numeracy."
Teams will have six months to register, after which they'll have 18 months to build their software. "It could be teams from Microsoft and Google or two kids in a garage from Nairobi," he says.
Then, the foundation will test those technologies with children throughout Africa, and it is now raising money through crowdfunding to expand that test from 5,000 kids to 10,000. Once the winning team is chosen, Diamandis says he plans to work with companies like Google, Samsung, HTC, and other device manufacturers to ensure the software is integrated into all of their new phones and tablets.
"I want to make this software available for every tablet and smartphone out there," Diamandis says. "Imagine that when someone gets a tablet in the future, it will become their teacher, as well."
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Visit the Department of State website for more information.