Money Well Saved
This tool is a life saver when students can't get a graphing calculator at home. It gives all students access to the graphing calculator tool without forcing families to spend money. Desmos is good for all levels of learners as it is pretty straight forward once you find the function you are looking for. There is very little reading necessary, even with the examples provided to help guide those struggling, and very few steps to complete a task on the calculator. Teachers and students can also project their phones given the right adaptors so classmates can see their computations, tables, graphs, ect. Unfortunately, it gets challenging for students come assessment time because the steps used to complete tasks on Desmos tend to be different than those of a graphing calculator. State assessments do not allow the substitution of apps for graphing calculators at this point. Even still, it allows for students to focus more on interpretation of math concepts. Lastly, this app, like the graphing calculator, doesn't correct or give feedback to students. It simply computes and/or shows what the student has typed.
How I Use It
This app is perfect for students who don't have the money to spend on a graphing calculator. These tools are needed from math levels of Algebra 1 and beyond but not all families have access or the means to purchase one. This free app enables all students to be able to complete homework assignments, practice content learned in class, and visualize math that may be abstract. I show students this app at the beginning of the year so they can get used to using a similar tool at home compared to the one used in class. Desmos takes time, trial and error to get used to all of its functions so we look at how the examples loaded with the app can benefit them when they get stuck. I also love that Desmos has a projector mode so I can show students some "how to's" in my classroom to ease the process of them becoming comfortable. This tends to ease the anxiety of trying it individually at home.