Dr. Cathy Mincberg Speaks to Gates Foundation Panel About Online Learning as a Disruptive Innovation


Dr. Cathy Mincberg recently spoke to school innovators from around the country as part of a Bill and Melinda Gates conference on "Creating a Literacy Spine by Design". To open the school staffs' minds to the possibilities of innovation, the positive effects of one disruptive innovation, online learning, was discussed by Dr. Mincberg.


[USPRwire, Sun Mar 07 2010] The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding partner school districts and charter management organizations around the country to rapidly build and scale innovations that ensure that students leave high school truly ready for college or careers. To expand thinking about innovation, a panel entitled "What Will Disrupt Literacy Learning / Instruction as We Know It?" provoked attendees by illustrating how innovative ideas can disrupt education in a way that makes quantum, rather than incremental, improvements possible. Dr. Cathy Mincberg talked about how online learning will provide half of all high school courses by 2020.

Dr. Mincberg described how online learning is a disruptive innovation as described in Clayton Christianson's book, Disrupting Class. "Just as Sony's poor quality and expensive transistors found a new niche in portable radios for teenagers and eventually drove RCA's vacuum tube living room-sized radios out of business, online learning has found a niche in an underserved market of students for whom traditional brick-and-mortar classes don't work," related Dr. Mincberg. http://www.cathymincberg.com

Online learning is exploding in the United States. There are currently over 1 million students learning online, and that number is growing by 20% a year. Students seek out this education option because it offers choices, flexibility, and convenience to today's sophisticated high school student consumers.

Dr. Mincberg highlighted the key reasons students choose to learn online. She says that students, "seek college level courses, they want to learn at their own pace, they want classes not available at their high school, they want to finish high school, they need extra help, they need to reduce scheduling conflicts, and many find it easier to learn online." The notes from Dr. Mincberg's presentation can be downloaded here: http://www.cathymincberg.com/index.php?cID=62

The panel discussed how valuable disruptive innovation is to moving improvements in education along at a more rapid pace. The speed of disruption from online learning as an alternative to traditional schooling surprised many in attendance. While only 1 million of the 50 million students in the US are currently online, the adoption rate parallels the disruption adoption rates seen in business, such as the Sony disruption of RCA.

Dr. Mincberg said, "I was a skeptic about the value of technology in the classroom until I saw students working online." She adds that "these students not only seek out alternative solutions to their education needs, but they also flourish in this new online environment".

Dr. Cathy Mincberg's comments to the Gates audience on the disruptive innovation of online learning can be found on her website in the "Ideas" section at http://www.cathymincberg.com/index.php/examples

About Dr. Cathy Mincberg:
Cathy Mincberg is Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at KC Distance Learning. Working with a team of curriculum and instruction professionals, KCDL is providing high quality online education for 6th - 12th grade students in three settings: at home or in private schools, in the public school classroom and in public school virtual schools. More information available at http://www.kcdistancelearning.com

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