Sophia Acquires Guaranteach to Enhance Social Teaching and Learning Platform Purchase Will Add Tens of Thousands of Math Tutorials to Sophia.org and New Capabilities for Licensed Use by Colleges and Schools
MINNEAPOLIS, May 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sophia, a first-of-its-kind online social teaching and learning platform that offers academic content to anyone, anywhere free of charge, announced today that it has acquired Guaranteach, a Web-based service that provides tens of thousands of short-form tutorials along with assessment tools to students, teachers, colleges and schools.
With the acquisition, Sophia will combine the best features of both platforms by offering the Guaranteach portfolio of tutorials – previously available on a pay-per-use basis to schools – to individual learners around the world at no cost. In addition, the acquisition will create a stronger social learning solution available for licensed use by K-12 districts and higher education institutions.
"For students and instructors, this means Sophia.org quickly will become the web's richest resource for free, credible math tutorials ranging from basic arithmetic to college algebra. For colleges and schools, we'll be combining Guaranteach's highly respected adaptive learning model with Sophia's social learning capabilities," said Don Smithmier, founder and CEO of Sophia. "The result will be a very powerful platform for differentiated instruction and blended learning."
Guaranteach has nearly 23,000 short-form videos on math topics ranging from counting to calculus that were developed by nearly 200 teachers and experts in the field. Guaranteach also offers more than 60,000 quiz questions as well as assessment tools that match tutorials to the learning style of the learner and provide student progress reports. The Guaranteach service has been deployed in over 50 schools to date, including the School of One in New York, an innovative program that offers individualized learning environments based on a student's unique learning style.
Sophia plans to use the Guaranteach model to develop and offer a full range of English and science tutorials, similar to the dynamic offering in math.
In public beta since March 2011, Sophia uses Web 2.0 tools to create a credible, crowd-sourced platform where academic information is organized in learning packets and can be created by anyone, anywhere using text, images, presentations, video, audio and more. The site is free and packets are rated for quality and evaluated for academic soundness by users and experts within the community. Sophia also enables teachers to create invitation-only learning environments where they have the option to share their content in a private learning environment that can be viewed only by their students. Individuals with access to the controlled area can post questions, provide answers, share ideas and build a "bookshelf" of learning materials for the group to use.
"We are looking forward to working with the Sophia team to pursue our common goal of supplementing classroom teaching so that students everywhere can get the help they need to be successful in school," said George Tattersfield, co-founder and CEO of Guaranteach. "The integration into Sophia will broaden the reach of the Guaranteach tools and we're excited to be expanding our model to additional topics."
Guaranteach was founded by Innosight Ventures, the venture arm of Innosight, and was inspired by the work of Innosight's Professor Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn of the Innosight Institute, who together authored "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns." In 2010, Guaranteach was honored with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the purpose of enriching teaching and determining whether and how the use of short-form instructional videos will increase engagement and student achievement.
Sophia is a first-of-its-kind social teaching and learning application that makes free, credible academic content available to anyone at anytime by harnessing the power of the Internet to enable everyone to participate in a worldwide learning community. Sophia was created on the premise that there are millions of great ideas, methods, lessons and people who can contribute to society's goals of spreading knowledge and making education better and more effective. For more information, visit www.sophia.org.
Founded in 2008 by George Tattersfield and Alasdair Trotter, Guaranteach uses Web-based streaming videos to deliver customized math instruction. The company designs and builds innovative software, to change the way that computers are used in education, combining experience in teaching, parenting, entrepreneurship and technology. The company has been funded by Innosight Ventures, a venture capital firm which provided seed-stage funding and incubation for several startups that fit the pattern of disruptive innovation, NewSchools Venture Fund, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information please visit www.guaranteach.com.