SOPHIA describes itself as a "first-of-its-kind social education platform that is changing education by providing students many ways to learn individual academic concepts."
SOPHIA offers over 25,000 crowd-sourced tutorials covering a variety of subjects for students in middle school, high school and college. Concepts for math, science, English, and other subjects are taught using a mixture of text, audio, video, and slideshows. These tutorials are geared toward students in grade 6 through the first two years of college.
Anyone can submit a tutorial. The site uses crowdsourcing to allow all users (not just teachers) to rate the tutorials using a five-star system (the more stars, the better). SOPHIA also invites "academic reviewers" to rate the material for academic soundness. Anyone can be a reviewer but the site requires reviewers to register and invites them to list their credentials in their profile. Tutorials can be posted via Twitter or Facebook, and teachers can copy the HMTL code into any site for which they have administrative rights.
SOPHIA also lets users create their own groups, such as a class of students or a group of teachers sharing lessons. It assigns each user a "Sophia Score" ranging from 0 to 600 that everyone can view. The score measures how much the person contributes to the community. A "Feedback" tab solicits suggestions for improvements.
SOPHIA also assesses students’ learning styles and customizes the delivery of content as part of their learning pathways. Each learning pathway offers full-course curricula consisting of hundreds of tutorials organized by sequence and quizzes.
In addition, SOPHIA provides tools to help teachers "flip" their classroom. Teachers can attend webinars to hear and learn best practices, and participate in a free professional development program (created in cooperation with Capella University's School of Education faculty) to earn a "Flipped Classroom Certificate."
Most recently, SOPHIA introduced Pathways for College Credit (SPCC), a college-level online learning program that enables students to earn general education credits from partner universities at a fraction of the cost of traditional college or online courses. Pathways are currently offered in college algebra, psychology, human biology, statistics and sociology, with four more scheduled to be added in 2013.
SOPHIA launched publicly in March 2011 and as of November 2012, the site has users from 171 different countries and nearly 4,000 educational institutions. In September 2012 the company announced a partnership with Bill Nye the Science Guy to provide content for the site and facilitate discussions with teachers about the flipped classroom method.
This report will be updated after Sophia relaunches in April.
Are you a teacher or administrator who has used this product? Be the first to share your experiences with others by writing a Case Study: