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04 May 2014

This is the first post in a series on four free, amazing online apps for math teachers: Desmos, Geogebra, Plot.ly, and Wolfram Alpha. Today we'll focus on Desmos, and their about page says it all;

At Desmos, we imagine a world of universal math literacy, where no student thinks that math is too hard or too dull to pursue. We believe the key is learning by doing. When learning becomes a journey of exploration and discovery, anyone can understand – and enjoy! – math.

Desmos allows for creation of any kind of relationship between two variables, among other things. You may login with a google account, save and share graphs via email or social media, insert images, and use tables. When you save a graph, you have the option to send it to your Google Drive (if logged in with Drive), which saves a PDF with a preview and a link to the interactive graph. 

Below is an example utilzing images and quadratics with sliders to show how a, b, and c effect parabolas with different concavity. Click on the image for the interactive version. 

 

 

Here's another example of using tables and a graph with sliders. Many people also have students create art, which solidifies specific functions and transformations as an engaging project. Desmos has a wonderful youtube channel with complete with tutorials and examples of use. They post extended discussions of classroom ideas such as this conics project. Recently they have started a project partnering with teachers to design lessons and activities for classroom use.   

Desmos is usable in a browser for the web-based version or as an app for iOS. The app is about 80% functional; most of what you would want to do works wonderfully. The features I've found missing from the app are saving and sharing graphs (ok, that's a big one), and inserting images. Never fear! If you want to do these things, I've had no problems simply using the web-based version in Safari on an iPad. Desmos is fully functional with Chromebooks, iPads in Safari, and in standard browsers on Windows and Mac computers. I have not had the chance to try it on an Android tablet but I'm confident that it will work just fine there as well. 

To learn more about getting started with Desmos, please consult the Desmos Quick Start Guide

Graph on!

 

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