Biology Q&A is here!

Hi All, Biology—it grows on you! And it’s grown on Socratic, too.

We’re really excited to officially announce that we’ve opened Biology Q&A on the site! Now, anyone can ask and answer questions about topics like osmosis, organelles, enzymes … or anything under the sun—literally. Biology, the study of life and living organisms, is a fascinating scientific discipline that transports us from organisms so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye to topics as vast as the very structure of all life on earth.

I can’t wait to see a flourish of activity over on Socratic Biology in the coming days!

Hope this makes learning easier,

Becca, Community Lead at Socratic.org

P.S. I’ve been really inspired by the beautiful imagery associated with Biology, so we made a Vine to show off some of the stellar answers with images on the sitecheck it out!

Setting Educational Content Free

Image http38mediatumblrcom3c1b2c6e9c5a7de444f14fcd203b9aa1tumblr_miht4wySdd1s5nl47o1_1280gifImage credit: 1ucasvb.tumblr.com

 
Socratic’s mission is to make learning easier. We believe that it’s easier to learn when teachers have access to great teaching materials, whether they be videos, practice problems, or images.

Unfortunately, most resources on the Internet have restrictive copyrights, and cannot be used in the classroom for free.

We’d like to see more content freely available for educational purposes. To that end, we’ve decided to put all original content on Socratic under a Creative Commons License.

In a nutshell, this means that anyone can use Socratic content however they want as long as they A) don’t use it for commercial purposes and B) link back to the original content on Socratic.

This should be especially useful for educators who want to use Socratic content as part of their lessons, build upon the content to make it their own, or redistribute it on different platforms.

As a company, we strongly believe that teaching and learning will be easier for everyone if there is more educational content freely available.

If you are creating educational content, we urge you to add a similar license to your content. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to add a Creative Commons license to your content on different platforms:
Happy posting,
 
P.S. A big shoutout to LucasVB who creates fantastic math gifs and puts them out into the public domain. 

Keeping Socratic Spotless

We’ve added a couple of new features to Socratic and we want to know what you think:

First, we’ve added the option to each unanswered question for you to “Close Question” - once clicked, the question will be marked for removal from the site. We created this feature based on your feedback.


If a question is poorly written, but you understand what the student is trying to ask, you still have the option to “Edit Question” and rewrite appropriately. You also still have the option while editing to change the topic to which the question is attributed.





Second, next time you log in, you’ll see a checklist that looks like this. Many of you may already completed your list!

 

Once you’ve accomplished these four things - you’ll see a completed list:
 



Will you be closing questions? Is there anything you think we should add to the checklist?

Looking forward to hearing your answers. Just reply to this email!
Becca & Jackie
Community Team

Keeping Busy This Summer

We know many students are almost, if not already, on summer break. This season is a great chance to relax, but it’s also a great time to keep busy and learn something new!

Most local public libraries are an excellent resource for interesting (and typically free) summer programs and exhibits for students of all ages. Just as an example, the Toronto Public Library offers free programs and exhibits that you can filter by age and topic of interest. Check them out here.

Try searching Google for your own city’s programs! Typically, if you search “[City name] public library programs,” you’ll be quickly directed to relevant information.

Hope this makes learning easier,
Becca & Jackie
Community Team at Socratic

Welcome, Becca!

Hey everyone!

I have some exciting news that I want to share: Becca McArthur is joining our Community team! We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know her over the last few weeks, and we’re convinced she’s a great fit for the Socratic community.

I sat down and did a Q&A session with her so everyone can get to know her a little bit. Enjoy!

Becca Video


Q: What is your background?
I grew up in Denver, Colorado and moved to New York to study creative writing in college. Now, I live in New York City, where I’ve been hard at work helping nourish and motivate online communities for the past few years.

Q: Why are you excited about Socratic?
Socratic believes that when people are empowered to learn, they do great things. I still remember the way I felt when I aced a college-level Calculus course (while I’m a natural wordsmith, solving math problems always felt like searching for something with my eyes closed). I felt invincible. My Calculus teacher helped me achieve something that had always felt impossible—and that feeling of unbridled possibility I got from learning has stuck with me ever since. I believe Socratic has the power to bring that same sense of possibility to students all over the world, and I want to help.

Q: When you’re not community-building, what else do you enjoy?
Eating things I’ve never tried before, playing games (or inventing new ones), and doing yoga. I’m always game for a camping, hiking or biking adventure and I make a lovely blueberry muffin.

Q: Tell us something unexpected about you.
I once worked as a “stunt” at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Bonita. Dressed as a princess, cowboy, or gorilla trainer, I’d theatrically hurl myself off a 15-foot “cliff” into a pool 4 times every hour as entertainment for the restaurant’s guests. The insatiably curious can check out my “stunt” work here

Q: Anything you’d like to say to the Community?
I’m incredibly excited to meet all of you and be your resource and advocate as Socratic continues to grow. Our goal is to help make learning easier, and I’m here to make sure your voices are heard as we work toward that mission. So reach out and say “hey” — let me know why you’re here and how I can help you get involved. You can email me at becca@socratic.org or find me on Twitter @becca_mcarthur. Check out my video introduction (and record your own to send me if you’re so inspired)!


Have a great weekend,
Jackie


No one too young to succeed!

Last week, students all over the U.S. presented at the 4th annual White House Science Fair - some as young as 6 years old!

I thought this quote from U.S. President Obama was pretty awesome:

“As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners”

I agree! Check out the exhibitors here. Which one did you find the most interesting? Reply to this email and let me know!

Have a great week,
Jackie
Community Lead at Socratic

What an impact!

A few of you have mentioned that your main motive for answering students’ question on Socratic is the impact you are likely to have on students. To date, we’ve shared a few stats with you (e.g., thanks, karma points), but we’ve recently beefed up contributor profile pages so you can really get a feel for your impact on students around the world!

Here’s what’s new:
  • Impact map - where and how many students you’ve helped in each location. If you hover over a white dot, you’ll see exactly how many students you’ve helped there. This dot is proportional to the number of students who have seen your answer.
  • Recent collaborators - other Socratic contributors you’ve recently worked with on an answer
  • Activity - any recent activity related to answering or updating answers
  • Contributions - a day-by-day breakdown of your contributions on Socratic. The more you contributed per day, the darker the shade of green. If you hover over a green dot, you’ll see how many answers you wrote or edited on that day.
Take a peek at your profile page (make sure you’re logged in) and let me know what you think! Just reply to this email with any feedback.
 
Hope this makes teaching easier,
Jackie
Community Lead at Socratic

Reaching New Heights

Hey!

I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the community on our site, and I wanted to share something from our end! Last night, we decided to go on a mini team retreat at a bouldering gym near our office. We had a ton of fun! Here’s a picture from the event:

From left to right: Chris Pedregal (Product), Kuba Dolecki (Engineering), Shreyans Bhansali (Engineering), David Yen (Design), and me (Community). Not pictured: Kate Murphy (Engineering).

This picture inspired us to create a Community Map in our office.
How you can help: send us a photo of yourself (and maybe even your friends!) using Socratic, and let us know where in the world you are! We’ll post your picture up up our wall. Send an email to jackie@socratic.org with the photo and your location we’ll print it out.

Have a great week,
Jackie, Community Lead at Socratic

P.S. - Feel free to be creative with your pictures! Funny faces strongly encouraged :)

Working Together

When a community works together, it is much stronger than the sum of its parts. To make it easier to work together on Socratic, we’re adding a new Collaboration tab. 

Now, when you finish answering a question, you’ll have an option to “pass it on” to another contributor. For example, let’s say you’ve just written a great answer, but wish you had a diagram as part of the answer. You can mark the question as such and pass it on to the community:

 Another contributor can visit the collaboration tab and add in what is needed.

 We hope this will encourage our community to make good answers even better.

Happy collaborating!
Jackie Shlecter, Community Lead at Socratic.org