A recent eSchoolNews article highlighted Sophia, a free website that takes Wikipedia to another dimension. Sophia is a social teaching and learning platform that offers free academic content. Anyone can register and create “learning packets”, essentially tutorials including a variety of multi-media components to teach a skill or concept. Visitors can engage in a “Q&A” with the author (and others) around the content, serving as a supplemental source of instruction.
Sophia relies on a dual-review process whereby visitors can rate and review content for usability and appeal and “self-declared subject matter experts” can also rate and review content for accuracy. When three reviewers have declared the content valid, the learning packet is deemed “academically sound.” I know, I know, perhaps a little concerning in the K-12 realm but think about the teaching opportunities for emphasizing the concepts of author bias, credibility, purpose, etc. There is also the option to create a private group (invite only) which would certainly ensure that students only have access to reliable information within the environment.
Recognizing that Sophia is only as good as its content and users, the “Sophia Score” is designed to drive quality activity in the environment by leveraging gaming and social networking appeal.
When you visit the well-designed site be sure to check out the “Sophia for Educators” page. There, you’ll find great application ideas such as asking students to create learning packets to demonstrate their understanding or asking students to review certain learning packets to determine the accuracy and validity of the information. Perhaps a new tool or resource for your classroom?