CDS Student Launches E-Learning Database During COVID
While Sophia Joffe ’21 recalls her switch to remote learning last March as incredibly positive, the then Grade 11 student, was well aware that that wasn’t the case for many other students in her community and around the world with so much news about the struggles taking place in the public school system.
“That’s not to say it was easy for us,” she acknowledges. To satisfy her curiosity of what other students were experiencing, she researched available sites beyond the recognizable free online ones like Khan Academy. Sophia explored various schoolboards across Canada and then equivalent U.S. sites, and was surprised to discover she couldn’t find one comprehensive learning site that met all students needs (JK-12 and all learners).
The aspiring business major quickly realized this was an untapped market she could help fill. The more research she did, the more she learned that parents were frantically searching for ways to augment their children’s learning in an effort to lessen the learning gap brought on by COVID. “Search terms such as ‘online education,’ saw an increase of 300+% in search traffic during the first few weeks of lockdown,” explains Sophia.
Two weeks into remote learning herself, Sophia set about creatingeLearn.fyi, a free database of more than 300 online learning sites to help augment remote learning for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Offerings, which continue to expand and evolve (a call to action seeking recommendations for additional sites can be found in the footer of her homepage), are presented by grades and searchable by subject, description or grade. Since April,eLearn.fyi has had more than 500 unique visitors from more than 40 countries.
Seeking to market her product as widely and immediately as possible, she boldly reached out to the CEO of Meltwater – a global media outreach and monitoring platform – and asked for a free monthly subscription. This allowed her to identify emails for nearly 1500 education reporters across North America to forward her press release to,includingThe New York Times, which ran her story yesterday,Bringing Online Tools Together.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt school and class schedules around the world, potentially well into next year, Sophia feels a well deserved sense of accomplishment. “I’m helping students stop that learning loss. The database is free to use, and always will be.”
Hopefully word will continue to spread so that as many students, faculty and parents can take advantage of this valuable resource!