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Hi Amplify Team!

We really appreciate your comments and feedback. Our team at Ana is incredibly excited about the future of education, and we believe everyone should have access.

To answer a few of your questions here:
- We are actively seeking partnerships with some of the major players in digital education. We know that there are multiple (large!) companies paving the way, and we hope to bring this technology to the African continent in support of a marginalized group that is currently undeserved in education and therapy. We are interested in potential partnerships with the teams mentioned in the article, and will be actively exploring those opportunities.
- We have also recently been in communication with X PRIZE, who is currently running an education challenge focused on building digital education in East Africa. Their implementation phase is happening in Tanzania, meaning the content the teams are creating is language and context appropriate. We are looking for ways to collaborate with some of these content generators to further develop Ana.
- As of now, we have tested a few aspects of Ana in different settings with different users. Our first test was an educational chatbot that asks the user questions and responds based on the answers. Our users and community expressed excitement about using the chatbot and we are currently making changes before testing again. We found an increase in children's comprehension and will use the next phase to test increase in attention span. We have also developed a program for sentiment analysis of words, as well as recognition of emotions in photos. We will test this to determine if children on the spectrum show improvements in recognizing emotions/ facial expressions, as well as increased empathy.
- Throughout the past couple of months, we have sat down with our end users, our community, teachers, therapists, etc. to try to get a better idea of how we can use Ana to most greatly impact young people with ASD. You can see how we have changed in the text of our idea.
- It makes sense for Ana to be integrated with other forms of therapy for children with ASD (behavioral therapy, counseling, etc.). It's possible for Ana to be used as a supplement to these techniques, and in places where these therapies are unavailable, we can power Ana with the skills of a trained therapist or counselor. With the use of VR for example, we are able to generate environments where young people can interact freely and without fear of failure. This increases confidence and encourages successful interactions in the natural environment.
- Ana is delivered through an application on a mobile phone or tablet - the pervasiveness of mobile technology is relatively high in Tanzania and other East African countries (where Ana will be implemented first). This means that Ana will reach schools and families with access to mobile technology initially - and, we hope to find ways to give children living in more remote areas without pervasive technology the same opportunities.

We love building for the future, and we hope to design and develop a system that is driven by the needs and desires of our target population. We will continue to build Ana and test her over the next few months. We truly believe we can impact the way young people with ASD learn, interact, and communicate. Thank you so much for your feedback!

Hi Malvi ! We appreciate your feedback. There is, of course, some challenges with using technology in these areas to delivery education that will have to be addressed to be successful. Technology uptake and experience, as you mentioned, is often low. However we are also seeing that young people have more exposure and are more willing to use and learn technology. Utilizing technology also means that we can invest in the child's learning continuously by providing updated and targeted content over a long period of time. Initially, we see that the technology would be a supplement to the teachers and would target specific skills of the child. That way, teachers and students really get to guide how the technology is integrated.

Hi embracekulture ! Thank you so much for your feedback.

Initially, we see Ana will be best implemented in primary schools, particularly special needs units. These programs are already established and teachers are more aware of the student's needs, which will help ensure success of our system. This will also help us build a curriculum that is context relevant and individually targeted.

As we begin to roll out content, we will evaluate the opportunity to implement in other contexts.
With verification of our system, we see there is a potential use case in both inclusive environments and homes to supplement therapy services as well as support parents of children with ASD.

As far as providing enough smart devices:
In our conversations with special needs programs in Arusha, we have discovered that schools are willing to contribute to purchasing smart devices for their classrooms. In addition, many of these programs have large donors that would be willing to support this type of supplemental education. We also have contacts at BRCK Education in Kenya, who is working on providing digital education in classrooms across the continent. There is a potential for us to partner with them, or another similar company, to include our content on their devices.

Many families in Tanzania, and across Africa, have access to personal smart devices. If we were to release a version for use in homes, we could take advantage of this large number of families with smart devices.

We are excited about the possibilities of Ana, and will continue fighting for the access to quality education for young people with ASD and supporting the student's goal of functional independence.