Washington: The man
behind India's low-cost Aakash tablet and an Indian American
professor are listed among Forbes 15 "classroom revolutionaries"
who are using innovative technologies to reinvent education for
students and teachers globally.
Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of Datawind, the maker of Aakash, and
Massachusettes Institute of Technology professor Anant Agarwal
figure among the education innovators who are "harnessing a slew
of disruptive technologies to change everything from the way we
teach grade school math to how we train the next generation of
Tuli is the "mastermind" behind the world's cheapest tablet
computer Aakash, "which has the potential to revolutionise
educational access in the developing world", the US business
Datawind has a backlog of "millions" of orders for the 35 dollar
Aakash tablet. The publication quoted Tuli as saying that "I don't
care about creating the iPad killer. I care about the 3 billion
people who can afford this device".
Agarwal, 53, a professor of computer science at MIT is also the
President of edX, the new combined online offerings of Harvard,
MIT, the University of California at Berkeley and the University
of Texas. Over 400,000 are currently enrolled in the education
"It is insane. We've created dramatic access to learning for
students worldwide," says Agarwal who took the helm in May of
teaching to the masses. "By reinventing online learning, we can
dramatically improve what we do on campus."
"EdX continues to up the ante by increasing partners, classes
(seven to dozens for spring 2013) and innovations, such as virtual
laboratories," Forbes added.
Datawind had won the tender in 2010 to supply 100,000 Aakash
tablets for a price of around $49 dollars per unit. A new version
of the tablet PC, featuring one Ghz processor, four-hour battery
time, capacitive screen and Android 4.0 operating system, is
expected to be launched in India Sunday.
Among the other education innovators on the list is Salman Khan,
the Bangladeshi-American founder of Khan Academy, the
revolutionary online education platform.
Khan Academy has grown from one-man working alone in a
walk-in-closet 24-months ago into a 38-employee organisation, but
Salman Khan's offbeat educational videos remain at the heart of
the organization. He has personally recorded more than 3,000 of
them and they have been downloaded 180 million times.
"The numbers get really crazy when you look at the impact per
dollar. We have a $7 million operating budget, and we are
reaching, over the course of a year, about 10 million students in
a meaningful way", says the 36 year old MIT and Harvard alumnus.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)