What’s Next For Me: Desmos

I’m signing on with Desmos as their Chief Academic Officer. Job one is producing the best digital math curriculum in the world. We’ve started that project already.

This is an easy call. I need a question to carry me through my thirties and I can’t think of a better one than, “What does the math textbook of the future look like?”

I’ve known for awhile I need a certain set of collaborators for that project. I have worked with Eli, Eric, and Jenny for the last three years. We need each other. They need what I do (the math teaching stuff) and I need what they do (the computery stuff). They’re great at what they do and we get along great. Stay tuned.

About 
I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.

51 Comments

  1. Peter Kronfeld

    June 10, 2015 - 10:01 am -

    Congratulations! Sounds like the perfect collaboration, teaching experience and learning theory with ‘computery stuff’. Excited to see what you create.

  2. Congratulations Dan!

    I was just talking to colleagues about your textbook of the future ideas. I’ll watch this space.

  3. I am gearing up to use Desmos on a regular basis with Alg I and geometry this coming year. If you need a classroom to test your ideas, I am volunteering. I can’t wait to see what you guys create (I have been using the Desmos carnival – the best! for letting students build understanding for graphing.) congrats on your new responsibilities!

  4. Congrats Dan!
    Can’t wait to see the impact you will have on this already great resource!

  5. Satinder Singh

    June 10, 2015 - 12:54 pm -

    Congratulations Dan on this new endeavor! I am so glad that you have taken this on! Can’t wait to see this new creation!!!

  6. Congratulations! Desmos is awesome already. I can’t wait to see what you add! I’m pushing my department head to have our “common assessment” be a Desmos/geogebra art project, becoming more complex as students get more advanced with their maths. You’re awesome!

  7. Congrats! Looking forward to more great stuff.

    This might be edging into the sort of thing covered by a non-disclosure agreement, but to what extent is your hiring a major transition for Desmos? Does the path to their profitability point towards digital curriculum? Is Desmos now a curriculum company, instead of a calculator company?

  8. Congratulations Dan! The content that has already been produced has us truly excited about using iPads in the classroom for the first time in ages. This is what the future looks like.

  9. I just want to throw my own congratulations in the mix. This is so wonderful and I am glad some of my favorite people with some of the most generative ideas are now officially in cahoots full time!

  10. Mary Williams

    June 10, 2015 - 7:09 pm -

    This is the collaboration dreams are made of – WOW!!! so super excited. Congrats to all of you!!!

  11. Thanks for the kind words, everybody.

    @Michael, Desmos has been in the middle of a slow-motion transition for the last several years, a transition which is reflected in the slowly growing pile of activities in teacher.desmos.com. We have a long, long way to go, but with my hiring, and the hiring of some other teaching faculty members, Desmos is turning into a company that creates opportunities to learn mathematics. Tools like the calculator are just one.

  12. Amanda Haskell

    June 11, 2015 - 4:16 am -

    This is awesome!!!! So exciting!!!! I’m ready to start using the textbook now!

  13. Congratulations, Dan!

    More to the point, Congratulations to progressive math teachers everywhere! Dan’s full-time move to Desmos represents a major victory in the ongoing and epic struggle to engage students in meaningful learning!

  14. Exciting news! Looking forward to more from Desmos. We are a 1-1 iPad school and we have used Desmos. Students love it. IPad version needs ability to save and edit like full version, but other than that it’s awesome! Thanks for all your contributions to the world of mathematics teaching.

  15. Can’t wait to see what you do with this new role foe the thirties! ! Congratulations! Couldn’t think of a better person to lead this charge!

  16. Debbie C in MN

    June 11, 2015 - 4:48 am -

    Congratulations! It’s sounds like you will have fun in this new venture.
    Do you know of anyone working on similar problems for the K – 3 grades?

  17. Travis Burke

    June 11, 2015 - 7:42 am -

    Congratulations Dan! What an amazing time for education. It’ll be great to have a teacher with your vision producing textbooks for the future (present). I have the same question as Debbie C in MN about elementary grades. It would be powerful to have this applied our younger students, as the textbooks published for them currently work well to decrease engagement and interest in Math.

  18. Hi Dan,

    Congrats on the newly minted Ph.D and your brand new position. You were bang on when describing how fruitful this relationship will be for all stakeholders, but especially the ones that really matter: the students!

    Looking forward to following the lead of your team.

  19. @Travis & @Debbie C, at this point our teaching faculty’s sweet spot is middle and high school. Elementary is an area of interest for us but some ways (and some hiring) down the road.

  20. Congrats, Dan! How exciting!! If you want to do anything in the realm of Statistics, let me know. I am at the AP Statiatics reading and someone said, “I would use Desmos more if it did some more Stats stuff.” If that is a direction Desmose wants to pursue, let me know. I would be glad to help.

  21. Congrats men, I been following you in the silence for a while (more tan 2 years i believe).
    Very interesting material on desmos, any chance the world has the opportunity to get that material in other languages for example spanish?

  22. Fascinating news. Lots of questions you probably can’t answer but I may as well ask anyways.

    When you say “digital math curriculum” are you talking about a full textbook replacement? Do you have a timeline to market? Are you targeting traditional textbook marketing and partnerships with the big 3 publishers? Who are your major competitors? Pearson System of Courses? What makes your product better than your competitors or do you work in parallel with other textbooks/book-replacements?

    If a district was to make a major textbook purchasing decision in the next year or so, would the district be really sad to find out that the Desmos book to end all books comes out in 2016?

  23. I’m looking forward to what you’re going to produce with Desmos as you make some revolutionizing steps with math curriculum. Until this book/curriculum comes out, what should schools use in the meantime? Personally, what textbook or curriculum is a current best fit for algebra and geometry in a 1:1 situation with iPads and Chromebooks?

  24. Chris Friberg

    June 22, 2015 - 7:23 am -

    Woohoo! You made my summer! We already love DESMOS and can’t wait for what’s to come.

  25. Eric Henry:

    When you say “digital math curriculum” are you talking about a full textbook replacement? Do you have a timeline to market? Are you targeting traditional textbook marketing and partnerships with the big 3 publishers? Who are your major competitors? Pearson System of Courses? What makes your product better than your competitors or do you work in parallel with other textbooks/book-replacements?

    If a district was to make a major textbook purchasing decision in the next year or so, would the district be really sad to find out that the Desmos book to end all books comes out in 2016?

    Yeah, these are all the right questions, Eric. If I don’t answer, it isn’t because we’re tight-lipped at Desmos but because we’re still sorting out some elements of our long-term plan. In the short-term, people can expect a raft of great digital activities for Algebra 1 students at teacher.desmos.com.

    @Grant, I don’t even know. There just aren’t a lot of options.

  26. Allen Dimacali von Pallandt

    June 23, 2015 - 5:30 am -

    Congratulations! Sounds like this will be a very cool journey of active participation in the evolution of mathematics curricula.

  27. I love Desmos. I used it last year to with a lesson, ‘Discovering Slope-Intercept Form’. My students were completely engaged! When I saw the polygraph games being developed I told my math team about it. I’m looking forward to trying it out this school year.

    I’ve been reading your blog on SBG and am really leaning towards giving it a go this year. I’ll be teaching Algebra I and Honors Algebra II. The curriculum has changed a great deal since you posted your suggested quiz topics. Have you updated them and would you be willing to share? Thanks.

  28. bpolkb:

    I’ve been reading your blog on SBG and am really leaning towards giving it a go this year. I’ll be teaching Algebra I and Honors Algebra II. The curriculum has changed a great deal since you posted your suggested quiz topics. Have you updated them and would you be willing to share? Thanks.

    Woefully out of date since I left the classroom, I’m afraid. No plans to update it until I return.

  29. Dr. Allen Holmes

    January 25, 2016 - 1:22 pm -

    I just heard your broadcast on Wisconsin Public Radio. Really thoughtful comments from you.
    You made me excited again about the future of math education. I started teaching in 1959, worked with Max Beberman at the University of Illinois, began using graphics calculators in my classroom when Casio introduced theirs in the 70’s, retired in 1999, and to this day enjoy using technology to explore mathematics. I bought an HP Prime. have used GeoGebra, but am particularly thrilled with Desmos on my Chromebook. It is the best software tool I use.
    There is indeed need for improving the electronic delivery of mathematics. Mathematics can be dynamic now. The learner should be encouraged to Google important ideas.
    I wish you the best in your new position.