Teacher Review for Desmos

Excellent Teacher Tool...Subpar for Student Use

Mia O.
Howard High School
Ellicott City, MD
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My Rating 3
Learning Scores
Engagement 2
Pedagogy 5
Support 3
My Students Liked It No
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Knowledge gain
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
I use Desmos primarily for creating custom graphs of functions that I incorporate into my lessons. Most of the time, I use these images in student handouts. I have also used Desmos for student use. My class learned about transformations of functions by manipulating the equations and taking note of how the function changed. This exercise was difficult to implement because many students were not tech savvy and needed a lot of time to learn how the features in Desmos work. It was also a struggle due to the fact that the website was tough to manipulate on cell phones. I ended up asking my kids to put their devices away and projected the site onto my wall. We continued as a whole group, discussing the changes in graph for each transformation but student engagement was lost.
My Take
As a math teacher, it is often difficult to locate graphs that meet specific criteria on the internet. Desmos provides an easy solution to this problem by allowing users to design functions that precisely match the desired outcome of the instructor at that time. I like that I can control the scale and grids as well as the color of the function. I also like that you click on coordinate points and it shows you the matching ordered pair. It would be nice if the points were written in actual parenthesis instead of the little boxes since that is the notation I use with my students. It would also be nice if the user could somehow control the thickness of the function line. Sometimes when making copies the grid and function appear to be faded. This program would serve my students better if it displayed better on cell phones without the app. It would also be really neat if more then one person could access the same graph and make edits at the same time. That way, students could work together or divide and conquer different functions. Another feature, would be to allow students to make comments on the graph or notes along the bottom. I think that Desmos could be a great tool for students who can work independently and explore functions on their own. As of now, it is not a resource that is handy for whole class usage.