I just got back from an exciting trip to India with my brother Jim and a group of technology and education experts. We were there to advance a dream I have of giving hundreds of thousands of kids throughout the Third World what I have dubbed the Opportunity Tablet – a free tablet computer loaded with powerful digital lesson plans that would replace the educational materials Opportunity Education Foundation currently gives to schools in developing nations.
For the better part of a week, we travelled across India visiting tablet manufacturers and assembly sites, along with providers of world-class digital educational content. In addition to learning a lot about how tablet computers can be made inexpensively and efficiently, I also got the opportunity to share my vision of how education can lift people out of poverty, enabling them to pursue jobs or start businesses that, over time, can transform a society.
The trip also reminded me of what a great country India is. Perhaps it’s a function of its youthful population or the widespread emphasis on education, but whatever the reason, India is a place where ingenuity and creativity are palpable. My experience tells me that if these qualities are given the opportunity to flourish, the result will eventually be lasting prosperity for everyone.
And speaking of ingenuity and prosperity, while we were in Mumbai I had the opportunity to visit LoudCloud Systems, an early-stage company in which I have an interest. LoudCloud is revolutionizing the Learning Management Systems and Student Information Systems that will form the backbone for mass high-quality, analytics-driven education. Seeing all the young faces at LoudCloud and hearing the questions they had for me was invigorating. You could feel the enthusiasm in the air – along with everyone’s belief in what they were doing and what can be accomplished with hard work . It reminded me of the early days of TD Ameritrade.