The Friday Five is most definitely NOT in a summer slumber. Nor is it just chilling by the pool with an ice cold lemonade. Nope. The Friday Five has been busy this summer and brings you not five activities but five features! So find a lawn chair, make yourself comfortable, and read on.
Give the teachers the tools they need to make their work better, easier, and more awesome. If that isn’t an official, written-in-stone principle here at Desmos, it’s certainly a theme that underlies all of our work.
Today we are pleased to announce a collection of tools and design decisions that reflect some of our recent, exciting work on this theme.
Teacher site redesign
If you’ve been to teacher.desmos.com recently, you’ve noticed that we redesigned and reorganized it. Our goal in this redesign was to make it easier to find things that you’ll find useful—whether it’s a new activity, the dashboard for yesterday’s first-hour Algebra 1 class, or an activity you’ve been authoring in Activity Builder.
A bundle is a collection of activities that we have sequenced and annotated. We are super excited about bundles. Our work on bundles is built on the premise that the best teachers don’t plan instruction one lonely lesson at a time. Instead, the best teachers think about the flow of instruction—how to introduce ideas, and how to develop them over the course of a week, two weeks, a month, and many lessons. We want to help.
Currently, when you search “linear” at teacher.desmos.com, you get about 50 activities on the results page. This leaves you with a lot of work to select and integrate some of these activities into your instruction.
If instead you click on the linear bundle, you’ll see a) key understandings for a collection of seven activities, b) descriptions of these activities, and c) descriptions of how they work together to develop student understanding over time.
You’ll still need to fill in the gaps between the activities, but with bundles we now provide a framework for planning coherent instruction over time.
There are six bundles online now. You can look forward to more in the near future.
We want teachers using Activity Builder to build simple things quickly, and to also have access to super-powerful but more complex tools as well. We are now taking an approach which hides those complex tools until and unless you need them.
The key to finding them is to go to Labs and turn these tools on for your account.
Once you do, you’ll see two new toys (tools) to play with the next time you start building an activity in Activity Builder. They’ll show up in a new tab when you edit a screen.
Announcing Desmos Card Sort! All of the thinking! None of the scissors!
Using Desmos Labs, you can insert a Card Sort screen in any activity you’re building or editing. Your cards may consist of text, math expressions, or images. Students sort the cards on screen; their data streams in real time to your dashboard. If you make an answer key, we’ll let you know where there are correct and incorrect matches. We’ll show you popular matches, too, and you can use all of this data to pair students together for productive conversations.
Even if you don’t want to build your own Card Sorts, you can expect to see
them showing up in bundles, the search pool, and as featured activities in the
very near future.
(Check out Card Sort: Functions for a taste.)
Soon after we released Marbleslides late last year, it was quickly clear that teachers wanted to build their own. Now, with Labs, it’s possible. You decide where to put the stars, where to start the marbles, and what notes to provide the students. We’ll handle the rest.
So that’s how we’ve spent our summer – building five fab tools (toys) to help you make math more meaningful for your students. How will you use them? What tools should we build over our next months? Let us know on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.