Desmos wins the prize for the best ratio of awesome presentation to awesome title. Unassuming title, stellar talk from Eli Luberoff.
Eli opened by talking about all the reasons technology struggles to be effective in the classroom. Hardware and software is expensive. The internet goes down. It’s a pain to learn. Etc. Technology needs to be way above that bar in order to be an effective tool for educators. Love it. Humble and hungry.
He talked a bunch about desmos.com. Which, if you haven’t been, is where you should be going to play with graphs and functions and everything else in the world of mathematics.
Then we jumped into Function Carnival. It’s awesome, try it out. I need to get my school’s Chromebooks into my classroom so we can give this a shot.
Then Eli showed us a new activity, Water Line. Modeling water level as water flows at a constant rate into a number of objects, including one of these:
Then, make your own beaker of whatever shape you’d like and model that flow. Really fun. I especially love that, in all of the Desmos graphing tasks, kids get instant, nonjudgmental feedback on their work — the computer shows them their model in action. Eli especially pushed the fact that Desmos doesn’t tag answers as red/yellow/green. It just shows what the model produces, and the student gets to try again.
Sat next to Steven Leinwand during the session. Had some great talks. Dude is a bro.
Chatted with Eli Luberoff in the exhibitor gallery later in the afternoon. We were talking about adjusting the axes to add some complexity to graphs created with Desmos, particularly with scatter plots. Eli had already thought about it and, one step ahead of me, asked whether it takes away from valuable student thinking if the graph automatically resizes to an appropriate scale when a scatter plot is being constructed, or if that should be the user’s responsibility. I love that the CEO of Desmos is thinking about student thinking as he makes design choices on his graphing calculator. I’m sold. Even though there’s nothing to sell because it’s free. Jam.
Dan Meyer via Twitter: “30+ year NCTM member: “Kodak : digital cameras :: Texas Instruments : Desmos.” #NCTMNOLA“