MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In eight months, Sophia.org has grown to offer 4,500 free, credible, multi-media tutorials on the Web. The first-of-its-kind online social education platform that offers crowd-sourced academic learning packets to anyone, anywhere, recently added 2,000 learning packets to the site.
Sophia's newest learning packets were developed by both Sophia users and professional teachers, with a portion coming from Sophia's acquisition of Guaranteach in May. The site continues to expand with content created by a wide variety of experts teaching many subjects including math, English, science, economics, history and philosophy, using a range of mediums including text, music, video and more – all in an advertising-free environment.
"Our library of teacher enthusiasts and crowd-sourced content is expanding to bring more teachers into the lives of students in and outside the classroom by providing access to academic help so they can learn anytime, anywhere and at their own pace," said Don Smithmier, founder and CEO of Sophia. "The beauty of our site is that we offer content created by many different individuals who support our goal of further developing the concept of social teaching."
Sophia enhances the learning process by providing students with multiple ways to learn a concept and maximizes the opportunity to connect each learner with information that makes sense to them. Sophia.org uses the best features of popular social media sites to create a platform where information is created by teachers, tutors, students and more, and organized in "learning packets" – bite-sized tutorials tagged to specific academic subjects or topics, including standards-aligned objectives. Packets are rated for quality and evaluated for academic accuracy by users and experts within the Sophia community.
Sophia.org launched publicly in March 2011 and is being used by tens of thousands of students and teachers from thousands of institutions across the world each month.
"Based on our experiences over the past eight months, we feel confident that in time, Sophia will become the single largest, most comprehensive, most reliable source for academic tutorials for students of all ages and across every part of the academic curriculum," Smithmier said. "It's especially exciting to see teachers connecting not only with the students in their classroom but with other individuals across the country and the globe."
Many teachers are using Sophia to "flip the classroom" by developing tutorials that students watch as homework. Teachers can then spend valuable class time delving deeper into the concept and providing help to students who don't understand the topic. Examples of these Sophia "Super Users" include:
- Aaron Mullally, a college professor who has developed 100 video tutorials on Sophia for his students to better understand the anatomy and physiology he teaches. He recently heard from a student in New York who wasn't affiliated with his class but watched his videos. The student had taken a course twice and after connecting with the way Mullally explained the concepts, she finally understood the curriculum and passed the class. View a sampling of Mullally's packets at: http://www.sophia.org/collections/skeletal-system.
- Christopher Danielson is a college mathematics instructor who has used a variety of mediums including text, video, music and more to develop more than 40 tutorials on Sophia including: http://www.sophia.org/packets/volume-of-a-cylinder-aka-morton-salt-girl.
- Junior High School Math Teacher Fred Hennen has also developed packets for students and has assigned students to create their own tutorials to demonstrate their comprehension of a subject. Learn more about classifying a polygon with his packet: http://www.sophia.org/packets/classifying-polygons.
Sophia also recently introduced licensed versions of its technology platform for universities, colleges and K-12 schools, which offer customized versions of Sophia.org. The first is Sophia Pathways, a private adaptive learning system for K-12 schools that assesses each student's learning style and then supplements the classroom experience by providing material presented in a way that matches that learning preference. Sophia is also offering a private license version of its Sophia.org platform that will enable schools and universities to create and easily manage their own social learning community. The platform, which will be branded by the school, will provide broader peer group collaboration within the site as well as the ability to create and share content.
Sophia was created by a team of online education pioneers, academic advisers and digital innovators who have a vision to transform the student-teacher ratio from one teacher for every 30 students to 30 teachers (or more) for each student.
To learn more or share a lesson or learning packet of your own, go to www.sophia.org.
Sophia is a first-of-its-kind social teaching and learning application that makes free, credible academic content available to anyone at anytime at www.sophia.org. Sophia also provides private learning solutions for schools, colleges and universities. The Sophia Pathways™ program offers a private adaptive learning program for institutions wanting to individualize the instruction to each student's learning preference and skill level. Pathways™ provides assessment tools for teachers to monitor progress and adjust lessons according to each student's need. In addition, the Sophia social learning platform can be licensed by universities, colleges and K-12 schools to create their own unique social learning community. For more information, visit Sophia.org.
Laura Telander Graf