From kindergarten through college, today classrooms are more wired than ever before. Touchscreen devices and next generation projectors are becoming the norm, WiFi proliferates, and seemingly every other student has more facility with a laptop than I do. Next, it will be tablets. Of course, while technology continues to press forward in opening educational doors, each piece of hardware comes installed with different programs and file formats; while applications like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint have become ubiquitous and are generally all-compatible, the same can’t be said of interactive content in the classroom. Most interactive educational content — lessons, demos, and assignments, for example — suffer from platform lock-in.
Desmos, a startup launching in beta today at Disrupt, hopes to fix educational fragmentation by offering platform-agnostic software that enables users to build and share rich educational content. Desmos is currently offering two versions of its software, one that’s collaborative and takes advantage of the synchronicity of the Web, while the other is “published”, or a standalone version of the content that offers the same interactive features but can be used offline. Desmos enables users to quickly switch between online and offline versions, allowing multiple people to collaboratively build a lesson, then publish it and embed it.
Desmos builds interactive lessons that are completely browser-based — it gives the users the ability to collaborate in realtime to create lesson plans, whether it be geography, the Periodic Table, etc.
“Texas Instruments, your monopoly on graphing in the classroom is over”, Desmos Founder Eli Luberoff said onstage at Disrupt. And, hey, as of last week, Desmos has raised $800K in funding, so maybe that will be in the flash cards, so to speak.