About The ShiraX System™
and how it all began with
Global Learning XPRIZE

Midnight Illusions Ltd. was privileged to be an Official Team in the Global Learning XPRIZE competition.

Out of 198 competing teams, we were privileged to achieve Top 20 cohort status, bringing development of ShiraX to the pre-alpha stage. We are currently engaging a variety of opportunities to ensure development of our ground break AI-based education solution continues.

Global Learning XPRIZE is a competition that challenges teams from around the world to develop open source software solutions that will facilitate an autonomous learning environment for children living in remote areas of the world. The winning technology will result in children achieving a predetermined level of proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic.

The prize, launched on September 22, 2014, is a 51-month competition where teams will have 18 months to develop their solutions. Five finalist teams will be selected in the Fall of 2016. In the Summer of 2017, the five finalist teams’ solutions will be deployed in a field test across 200 villages in Tanzania, reaching 4,000 children (ages 7-10), over the course of an 18-month period. At the end of this period, the top performing solution based on the field testing will be crowned the winner. The winning technology and all finalist solutions will then be open sourced and available to the world, to be iterated, improved upon and employed where needed.

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Original Team Recruitment Video

Our Team

The Midnight Illusions Global Learning XPRIZE Team is a collective of 22 individuals whose lives all intersect in a variety of ways.

We come to this challenge out of a passion and dedication to help create a world that is better than when we first arrived. Having become accomplished in our respective fields, our mosaic of skills complement each other, adding strength and completeness to the puzzle.

We are extremely excited to co-create a digital solution, whose long-term reach and effectiveness will be realized in both known and unknowingly positive ways.

We look forward to the discoveries, pains, surprises, blissful moments, frustrations, and sheer fun that awaits us! A sampling of bios. follow:


Jason Bavington - Project Director

Jason Bavington is the Director of Midnight Illusions Ltd., a media development company that has been crafting digital solutions for over 20 years. He has worked on a diverse range of projects for startups, government organizations, and corporations, managing teams from 2 - 28 persons in size. Jason's out-of-the-box thinking and drive to constantly embrace new technologies allows for the realization of uniquely innovative digital solutions. Coupled with his ability to quickly and accurately identify long-term digital growth channels, Jason brings a highly-effective skill set to the team.

James Buckley - Lead Mobile Programmer

James has over 20 years of IT experience and has spent the past 3 years developing mobile apps. He enjoys creating apps either from the ground up or by modifying and enhancing existing code sets and libraries. His diverse programming language skill set and detail-oriented task approach allows him to embrace any development environment and create programs that exceed expectations. In his spare time, James undertakes distance learning courses to further increase his app dev. knowledge, including artificial intelligence concepts and gamification of everyday applications.

Kristen Clancy - Lead Designer

Kristen has over 10 years experience in the industry of Graphic Design, with a background in Fashion Design. After graduating with honours from the Academy of Design in Toronto, Kristen honed her design skills through volunteered and freelance design projects. She currently specializes in simple and elegant design solutions. Kristen works hard to realize this vision by creating strong digital identities and building impactful UX design experiences.

Gecho Ejigu - Swahili Educational Consultant

With a Master degree in Planning, Gecho’s areas of skills include program evaluation, immigration and adult education. Gecho has more than ten years experience with non-profit organizations in Canada and East Arica. Regarding education, Gecho has experience in assessing training needs, developing training manuals, and providing training to isolated and remote communities in East Africa.

Michelle Kearley - Educational Consultant

Michelle has teaching in her blood. This was her mom's career and Michelle recalls always being in her mom's classroom, helping kids in a variety of roles. Michelle started her career in 1997 and has been building her credentials and specialization ever since. She now holds a Specialist in Special Education and has been involved with significant research regarding autism. Michelle absolutely loves teaching and working with children with extra challenges. She volunteers for the local Board of Education, is the co-chair for Special Olympics, and does pep rallies. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Lisa Lawless - Lead Illustrator

Lisa likes to market herself as a creative instigator. With over 8 years of experience in the Graphic Design and Illustration industry. Carrying a strong background in Illustration and Fine Art she can bring any creative idea to a new frontier. Her educational journey has brought her to Sheridan College for the Interpretive Illustration program and Humber College for Graphic Design. Lisa believes that every client is different, with individual, unique requirements. And every project is a new creative adventure.

Vanessa McNaught - Lead Educator

Vanessa has been teaching at Hitherfield School in Campbellville Ontario since 2003. A Visual Arts and Psychology major, Vanessa recently completed Intermediate Math Qualifications as well as her Visual Arts Specialist and Reading Parts One & Two. Vanessa has taught at the Primary, Junior and Intermediate levels. She challenges and encourages both herself and her students to learn and grow, always striving towards doing "ones best". Interests include her kids, students, current educational trends, reading, evolution, technology, and mathematics.

Andrew McPherson - Musician

Bio coming soon ...

Ramona Brown Monsour - ESL Consultant

After graduating with a Master's degree in Intercultural Communications Ramona taught ESL for 24 years in Ontario, Canada as well as in Germany and Ukraine. She has taught everything from literacy to TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), including courses in Business English at Niagara College and in the ESL program at the University of Guelph. She is passionate about helping others learn to speak and write English well, whether they want to go on to university or go directly into the workplace. Ramona now combines a degree in Journalism with her ESL teaching experience in an iOS app, About Canada. It offers users a fun, interactive way to learn about Canada.

Plus a Secret Team of 13 CODING NINJAS Located Across Planet Earth

#whoa ...

Our Advisors

Our Team is also grateful for the insights, strategies, and reflections shared by our advisors, whose knowledge and perspective keeps us sharp!

Mukul Verma - Advisor

Greg Peterson - Advisor

Thank You's

We are incredibly thankful to the 37 additional individuals and organizations that have helped us come so incredibly far in this competition. You have all played an essential role that has collectively helped us realize The ShiraX System™. We are honoured and humbled by your contributions.