Introducing the Versal Developer Platform – build interactive gadgets for teachers

gears jpgVersal courses are about to become more interactive than ever. Today, we’re excited to announce the beta launch of our new gadget developer platform! It’s a new way for JavaScript developers to build really cool interactive gadgets – and help banish the boredom out of online learning. (read the press release)

Deeper Diagram is an interactive way to share concepts with students.

Gadgets, like smartphone apps, are the power behind everything teachers do on Versal. From blended learning courses to homework assignments to corporate training, teachers create online learning experiences by drag-and-dropping customizable gadgets onto a Versal canvas. Beyond text, video and images, gadgets let authors add and customize interactive diagrams, timelines, flashcards, simulations and more, plus import existing materials via Google Docs etc.

Videos and slide decks are useful tools, and yes there’s “a gadget for that.” But it’s time to move beyond passive learning and take advantage of the power of computers. From the beginning, when we’ve talked about the Versal course creation platform, we’ve repeated one mantra: “no coding required.” That’s because, until now, teachers had to know how to code, or have the resources to hire a programmer, to create an interactive online learning experience.

Now we’re opening up the Versal platform to all developers interested in transforming online education for teachers and students around the world.

The first APIs are focused on event processing, asset management, and basic learner assessment. Start building gadgets now here, or read on for more details. If you’re interested in joining the beta and want to learn more or connect with other like-minded developers and teachers, check out our community portal.

Versal Gadget Web IDE small
With the Web-based IDE (built with our partners at Codio) and pre-configured templates, start building gadgets immediately, right in your browser.

To make it exceptionally easy to get started, we teamed up with London-based Codio to offer a Web-based IDE. Build gadgets right in your browser. Codio is really amazing. With the Versal Web IDE, you don’t need to download, install, or configure anything locally. Plus we have several templates already built so you don’t have to start from scratch. If you have a preferred developer environment, you may also download an SDK.

Want to see what other developers are building? We hosted a special sneak preview hack night with the San Francisco JavaScript Meetup Group last week to get early feedback. Such an amazing night. Learn more about the award-winning gadgets here.

By the way…are you headed to the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon this weekend? We’ll have a table set up, offering demos and helping developers get started at a table. We’re even holding a second contest. Build a gadget and win a Chromebook.

In addition to the open beta, Versal is looking for a handful of ongoing testers who will participate in more in-depth feedback sessions. Any JavaScript developers interested in participating in this formal early adopter program should visit the Gadget Factory.

Today is a big day for us. We’re a team of engineers and education enthusiasts, and we’ve spent the past two years building out a platform to bring online learning to life through interactivity. We hope all of the developers out there – especially people who feel as passionately as we do about opening up education to the world – will join us.

(Also…many thanks to Wei Hsu, Dan Raftery, Afshin Mokhtari and all of the developers who participated in the private beta building gadgets and shaping the initial release of our APIs and SDK. Your support and friendship have been amazing.)