Versal exits beta, announces partnerships with Wolfram and Discovery
- Versal on Wednesday announced its exit from beta, complete with a design update, additional "learning gadgets," and two new partnerships.
- The first new partnership for the free, open online course and lesson publishing platform is with Wolfram Research, and will also see Stephen Wolfram join the nonprofit's Board of Directors.
- The second partnership, with Discovery Education, will see Versal powering interactive training courses for educators using Discovery Ed's digital resources.
Needless to say, it's a busy day for Versal. Co-founder and CEO Gregor Freund recently stopped by Education Dive's offices to give us a preview of the platform's latest gadgets, which include the ability to take a photo of an object, like a DSL-R camera, and create an interactive diagram. Not only can labels be applied to certain parts of the item, but expanded descriptions and images can be added to individual labels, accessible via click. Furthermore, the diagrams can also integrate short quizzes that recap what each part of the item was.
Freund told us that the company is currently focusing on the K-12 market, where the platform, which seems pretty intuitive and operates similar to a content management system, can be used to create blended and flipped learning assignments. Another great use? Student-led learning.
"Basically, a teacher creates a skeleton of a course, and with that skeleton, divides that class up into a couple of groups and kids actually build their own course and publish it," Freund told us. "They all take it together or individually and then publish it on the school website as a project. It’s amazing how you develop if you have to think, ‘How am I going to teach somebody else something?’”
With the Wolfram partnership, even more math and science exercises will become available on the platform, which currently includes videos, charts, interactive quizzes and diagrams, and more.
According to an FAQ on the company's site, course authoring is currently only supported on desktop browsers, and while most mobile devices support the courses, some may experience compatibility issues. That's one area to watch for the company in the future as mobile device use becomes more prevalent over desktop.
For more background on Versal, check out our previous Q&A with Freund from CES 2014, and keep an eye out for more updates on the company in the coming weeks.
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