MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sophia, a first-of-its-kind online social teaching and learning platform that offers academic content to anyone, anywhere, free of charge, has nearly doubled its tutorials in the six months since it went public and currently offers 1,500 learning packets on a variety of subjects.
Sophia also has partnered with Smarthinking, which provides live, on-demand online tutoring to improve student success and retention. After much research and exploration by Sophia's expert educators, Smarthinking, the market leader in online tutoring and academic support, was selected to be linked within the learning environment for subjects such as math and English, on Sophia.org. Smarthinking, a member of the Pearson family, has provided more than 3.5 million successful online tutoring sessions since 1999.
"Sophia's crowd-sourced platform has successfully expanded the teaching and learning process beyond the traditional classroom by offering academic assistance 24/7 to anyone that needs it," said Don Smithmier, founder and CEO of Sophia. "Our current rate of growth has us on track to be the leading provider of free tutorials on the Web by year end."
Sophia.org, which has been described as a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube focused solely on education, currently offers learning packets that have been created by hundreds of teachers and individuals, and provides credible academic content on a variety of subjects including math, English, science and more – all in an ad-free environment. The site has already generated 77,000 users from 147 countries and more than 1,400 education institutions.
In public beta since March 2011, Sophia uses Web 2.0 tools and methods to create a credible, crowd-sourced platform where information is organized in "learning packets" – bite-sized tutorials tagged to specific academic subjects or topics, including standards-aligned objectives. More than 400 individuals have created packets using a variety of mediums including text, images, presentations, video, audio and more. Packets are rated for quality and evaluated for academic soundness by users and experts within the Sophia community.
Sophia will soon introduce new licensed versions of its technology platform to expand the traditional classroom experience through multimedia offerings and enhance the learning process for students in universities, colleges and K-12 schools.
"We developed Sophia because we wanted to connect people who want to learn with those willing to teach, and we look forward to continuing to grow our offerings and enable individuals to develop and share credible content with the world," Smithmier said. "Sophia lets anyone step into the role of teacher and provide academic tutorials that are presented in a variety of teaching styles because everyone learns differently."
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) per student. Before founding Sophia, Smithmier was a long-time executive at Capella Education Company, which grew during his tenure from less than 50 enrolled online learners to more than 25,000 in all 50 states and 70 different countries.
To learn more or create a 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 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.
Laura Telander Graf