Appy Hour Rewind: Brilliant

April 23, 2014
Kelly Mendoza Director of Learning and Engagement
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Professional Development, Tools

Brilliant is an online community of learners who share and solve physics and math problems. Aimed toward high aptitude students, it's particularly useful for students competing in math or science olympiad contests. Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education Reviewer and teacher at Novi High School in Michigan, presented our most recent Appy Hour in which she walked viewers through Brilliant, highlighting many of its features and describing how she’s used it with students.

In Brilliant, students choose a topic, such as Algebra, Number Theory, Combinatorics, Electricity & Magnetism, Computer Science, Mechanics, Geometry, or Calculus. They're given a choice of five problems, one at each of five levels. They'll solve the hardest one they can, which determines their placement and the level of challenge from that point forward.

Students are prompted to solve complex problems, and can pick the problems they want to solve. But there is also a collaboration component in which students can comment and work with others beyond the classroom walls to solve problems. This feature reveals others' problem-solving processes to students. The collaborative component also illustrates that there is more than one path to solve a problem, and as Emily points out, “reminds kids that science and math are community enterprises.”

Although there is not a teacher dashboard or student reporting on Brilliant, teachers can assign specific problems for students to solve, and add a hashtag to label problems for students. Students can also take a screenshot of their work and send it to the teacher.

To hear Emily’s insights and take a deep dive into Brilliant, watch the webinar below. You can also read her review on Brilliant for more ideas. 

What are ways you plan on using Brilliant to challenge your math and physics learners? Share your ideas below! 

Note: This video refers to Graphite, the former name of this website.