Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼


How To Build Interactive Educational "Gadgets"

Versal has produced an open API platform specifically designed to offer developers a way to easily build interactive and customizable "learning gadgets" for teachers.

When the firm uses the term "gadgets", it refers to technologies like smartphone apps. Saying that while "core gadgets" like text, video, and images allow a teacher to offer a basic course and lesson structure for students, the real teaching magic lies with interactive simulations, games, timelines, quizzes, white-boarding — and this is where it draws its definition of the term gadget from.

"An open community of developers and teachers has the potential to radically improve online learning," said Gregor Freund, CEO and cofounder at Versal. "Imagine an educational publishing platform offering any teacher access to customizable interactive exercises from science labs to language lessons and so much more. Today, we're one step closer to achieving this vision."

To make it easy for JavaScript developers to get started, Versal partnered with London-based Codio to offer a web-based IDE, so that Versal gadgets can be built online from scratch or with preconfigured templates. Developers can use the web IDE or download an SDK to build gadgets in their preferred development environment.

"It makes perfect sense to develop gadgets in a Web IDE. Codio aims to enable the community to be as productive and creative as possible, removing all the complexity of set up and configuration. Select a template or start to build a gadget from scratch within seconds," said Freddy May, Codio's founder. "Developers are lifelong learners by nature, and the opportunity to create cool experiences for teachers and learners is inspiring. We're even planning to develop a Versal gadget to help computer science teachers offer basic in-course instruction."

The first APIs are focused on event processing, asset management and basic learner assessment. Developers and teachers interested in joining the beta should visit community.versal.com for more information and to connect with each other.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.