Versal, an open publishing platform for interactive online course creation, has announced that it is launching a teacher-powered marketplace, Gadget Market. The marketplace, which is currently in beta testing, allows educators to share and improve upon their interactive courses or add any of the 1,000+ preconfigured exercises and gadgets to their courses.
Gadget Market lets educators search and discover new content and share with the rest of the teacher community their own resources as a way of making teaching more interactive and appealing to young students though the addition of maps, 3D models, timelines and other media.
The marketplace offers add-ons on a vast array of topics including history timelines, math exercises, biology charts and music exercises. For Versal, a "gadget" is defined as any building block that can be added to a course to make it interactive, useful and educational. It can be a quiz, a text, a video, a timeline, a PDF, a slideshow or a map.
Through the Gadget Market, educators can discover relevant gadgets to add to their custom interactive courses and homework assignments. The gadgets are easily dragged and dropped into a lesson.
"Creating online courses and lessons can be time-intensive, yet the Internet offers a great opportunity for teachers to collaborate with their peers. That's the vision behind the Gadget Market," Versal's co-founder and CEO Gregor Freund says.
"By offering educators a community-driven place to discover new content and share their favorite interactive gadgets, we're making it easier than ever to create engaging learning experiences for students."
According to Venture Beat, Versal will provide most of the gadget content in-house, but teachers will be able to submit their own as well. Versal says it reviews all submissions within 48 hours and encourages teachers to share their own content with the community:
"Say you've developed an interactive timeline covering the history of NASA space exploration, and would like for other teachers to be able to use it. Submit it to the market. It's open to all contributions."
The company has also introduced a rating and commenting functionality so that teachers can improve upon their creations based on others' feedback.
Gadget Market is attempting to make it easier for teachers to create appealing content tailored to the expectations of tech-savvy students. Teachers can use their experience and imagination to create custom interactive lessons and share these with others so that more learners can benefit from them.
One of Versal's partners is Wolfram Research, who will provide math exercises created through the Wolfram Cloud. More Versal partners will be announced soon, the company says.
The Versal Gadget Marketplace is already live and all gadgets are free to use during the trial period, according to Venture Beat.
Versal is a popular tool in both the corporate and academic worlds. The new Gadget Market will add something Versal was lacking — a community-powered ecosystem of sharing and improving upon existing and new educational material.