Posted by: rdkpickle | 07.16.2016

mary had an off-task-teacher (#descon16)

With 2 trips immediately following both Descon and TMC, I know that if I don’t blog quickly with these few nuggets I’m in danger of never blogging at all. So, quickly:

Desmos has been working to make its graphing calculator fully accessible for visually impaired and blind students. As of now, if you enable voiceover on your device (command + F5 on mac), Desmos will read the expressions in a way that “sounds like math” (ex: reading sin as “sine” instead of s-i-n) and gives students clues as to where they might be in the expression (ex: subscript, superscript, reading the opening and closing of grouping symbols). It is also capable of “playing” a graph to give a pitched audio representation of whatever has been graphed.

[Predictably] I immediately set out to use the feature to write a song, ignoring all other directions about what we were “supposed to be doing.” James and I worked on it during our morning work time, with serious insight and help from Chris and Sam to get us over a few hurdles. I loved the experience of playing with something that I had no idea how it worked by experimenting (pitches compared to y-values, time compared to x-values, etc.), trying and tossing out ideas that ended up not working, and I ended up learning some new things about how to use Desmos (lists of functions, anyone?) along the way.

Here’s our final version of “Mary had a little lamb.”

james and rachel

Desmos also premiered a few new things which others have written about – a new layout on the landing page, bundles of selected+sequenced activities with notes for teachers about how each lesson builds on the preceding ones, and the “labs” option which enables teachers to use the brand new marbleslides and card sort features for activity builder lessons. The MTBoS has already set to work creating quite a few activities to test out the new features, and I can’t wait to think about how I might incorporate these in my own lessons for the year ahead.


  1. […] started with Descon. You can read more about that in Rachel’s post here. But when I was struggling to choose a morning session, I settled on Tessellation Nation. Both […]

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