It’s coming up on one year since I launched this blog, and in honor of the #MTBoSblogsplosion, I’m actually writing my 2nd post just this week. It’s fitting that the prompt is “My Favorite Thing,” because that’s literally what this entire blog is all about.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have more than one favorite thing. I like cooking, baking, dancing, singing, mathing, drinking tea, breathing in the springtime air as the ground is just thawing. I have lots of favorite things.
But ask my students what my favorite thing is and they will all, without hesitation, tell you it’s Desmos. They’ve all come to expect that on Fridays I wear Desmos shirts. And they pretty much think I spend all my free time playing on Desmos. They also all know how to sing the Desmos song I wrote. Well, it’s more of a “jingle.” You can sing it too! Here’s how you do it. You sing in the highest note you can, with the most enthusiasm possible “Des-mooooos!”*
Adults also know Desmos is my favorite, but they’re skeptics and require some winning over (which usually just consists of them actually trying it). This fall I was fortunate enough to be a part of Desmos’s first ever Teacher Fellowship Cohort, where I had the opportunity to go out to Desmos HQ in San Francisco. People warned me: make sure it’s not like a time-share, where they’re just trying to sell you something. There are also people who think I’m just promoting Desmos so much because I must be getting something out of it.
Desmos didn’t come find me. I sought them out. They need no advertisement because their product IS its own advertisement. Just try using it and I can’t imagine you won’t get hooked too. It is, in their own words, beautiful, free math.
It’s dynamic. Fun. Free. Beautiful. Engaging. Enriching. Powerful. Playful. Intuitive.
Desmos had me at hello, but its teacher and student sites are the icing on the cake. I have used those companion sites to create engaging lessons and materials for students to explore, practice, review, play with, and create math. Students are literally high-fiving each other in class.
And me? I have grown so much as a mathematician in the last year just by using Desmos and networking with other people who are also using Desmos.
Also. In case you were unaware, the people behind the scenes at Desmos are awesome. I have been fortunate enough to meet them, and they really are the bees’ knees. Every last one of them. The team of engineers, designers, teachers, and others who work every day to make Desmos what it is are some of the most down-to-earth, amazing individuals. They care deeply about students and teachers alike. Their guiding principles say it all:
- Do no harm
- Trust teachers
- Design for real classrooms
- Design for delight
- Works every time
I consider it a privilege to witness this small company going from small (but awesome) online graphing calculator startup to global, paradigm-shifting, ed-tech superstars.
*I am at a new school this year, but teachers at my old school have reported back that students are still singing my Desmos song any time Desmos gets mentioned.