This was the statistic that Dr Cathy Mincberg, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at KC Distance Learning, ended her presentation with at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation event "Creating a Literacy Spine by Design" in Santa Monica on February 19, 2010.
As part of the panel discussing the topic "What Will Disrupt Literacy Learning/Instruction as We Know it?", Mincberg delivered a presentation focused on what Clayton M. Christensen termed 'disruptive technology'. In other words, technology or innovations that 'improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by being lower priced or designed for a different set of consumers' (Wikipedia). She believes that online learning is one of those things:
"Online learning is a disruptive innovation, which has found a market in students who are not being served well [...] by the old bricks and mortar model of education. Today there are 50 million public school students in the US. 1 million students are online - increasing at the rate of 20% a year."
With the predictions for the future of online learning being increasingly positive it really does open up education opportunities for under-served youth and communities. I wish I could have heard the rest of the discussion that followed but you can download Mincberg's slides and read her presentation here: Is Online Learning a Solution in Search of a Problem?
Here are links to the slideshows for the other three panelists:
- Akili Lee, Director, Digital Youth Network: Social Learning Networks
- Laurence Holt, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Wireless Generation: Presentation
- Katie Culp, Sr. Research Scientist, Education Development Center: Center for Children & Technology