Sophia is a free social teaching and learning platform that offers academic content to anyone, anywhere free of charge. The website, which has been described as a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube focused solely on education, also lets educators supplement their teaching methods with tools to create a customized learning environment in a private or public setting. 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. The packets can be created by anyone, anywhere using text, images, presentations, video, audio, and more. Packets are rated for quality and evaluated for academic soundness by users and experts within the community. Educators can use these packets to supplement instruction, and they can create an invitation-only environment where members can share content and ideas, ask questions, and get answers within their own learning community. “We’re at a point in history where it’s actually possible for anyone to teach anyone else, regardless of geography or status,” said Don Smithmier, founder and CEO of Sophia. “Each of us has the potential to be contributors, to share our knowledge to make education better and more effective, and we want to help fuel that revolution. Sophia connects people wanting to learn with those willing to teach.”

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Jeff Festa