Ed Tech Innovators Awarded More than $4 Million for Tools to Aid 35 Million Learners

The Tools Competition announced 32 winning tools today that do everything from turning YouTube videos into interactive lessons to using virtual reality to reskill adult learners.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The next ChatGPT is out there. So are solutions to improve the math competency of K-12 students following the sharpest declines in decades, address equity in education, bolster students’ problem-solving and emotional skills, and unlock career training opportunities for adults via virtual reality. Supporting these real-time advances and more is the Tools Competition, which announced its 2022-2023 slate of winners today.

In all, 32 recipients from 12 countries are being awarded more than $4 million to develop and expand their tools, which will impact 35 million learners by 2026.

 Among the winners are:

  • AI-Learners – A math tool created by a Cornell University student to help her younger sister with a neurological disability. PreK-elementary students with diverse cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities learn math using adaptive online games and analytics.
  • Reading So Lit – Developed by a former New York teacher who was named a CNN Hero for bringing books to barbershops during the pandemic, Reading So Lit is a web-based reading identity exploration and assessment platform for grades PreK-5. 
  • Unreal Virtual Factories – A platform developed by an Arizona team that uses technology and embedded physics to provide virtual reality-type manufacturing training. Workers gain real-time experience on otherwise expensive machinery, boosting competency levels, access, and skills assessment. 
  • Plio – A tool created by a team in India that lets teachers turn YouTube videos into interactive video lessons by interspersing them with quiz questions.
  • Tilli – A play-based, social-emotional learning (SEL) tool supporting mental health and critical thinking skills. Currently being piloted in 6,000 schools worldwide, San Francisco-based Tilli uses game mechanics, behavioral sciences, and real-time data to build SEL interventions and stealth assessments. 

All winners can be found here.

This is the third cycle of the Tools Competition, which has awarded nearly $10 million to 80 ed tech innovators to date.

This year’s competition generated more than 1,000 proposals from 73 countries, with the 32 winners hailing from institutions and organizations across North America, Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. 

The next cycle of the competition will launch on Sept. 21, 2023. To learn more, sign up to attend the virtual competition launch event here


The Tools Competition is one of the largest edtech competitions in the world. It aims to grow the field of learning engineering by spurring ed tech innovations dedicated to leveraging big data to support learning science research and the needs of learners worldwide. 

The Tools Competition ran two funding opportunities this year: The Learning Engineering Tools Competition focused on Pre-K-12 learners and was supported by Schmidt Futures; Kenneth C. Griffin, Citadel, and Citadel Securities; the Walton Family Foundation; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and AlleyCorp. The DARPA AI Tools for Adult Learning opportunity was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The competition is administered by Georgia State University and The Learning Agency.


Meet the finalists for the Building an Adaptive & Competitive Workforce track here. Meet the finalists for all other tracks here.