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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

World

Aakash tablet maker among Forbes' 15 classroom revolutionaries
IANS
Washington, November 10, 2012
First Published: 20:26 IST(10/11/2012)
Last Updated: 21:37 IST(10/11/2012)

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 teachers".

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 magazine said.

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 programme.

"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.


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