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Instructure Cofounder and Ex-Googler Launch Derivita to Solve Higher Education’s “Math Problem”
April 17, 2019 (SALT LAKE CITY) -- Derivita, a STEM education technology company, today announced the launch of its new online math homework system that will disrupt higher education’s multibillion dollar courseware industry. The technology is the brainchild of Instructure cofounder Devlin Daley and ex-Googler Ryan Brown. It will provide better technology resources for teachers and students while helping reduce the burden of student debt.
“Math is a leading predictor of student success when it comes to completing a college degree, but universities are still delivering math courses with outdated technology because they haven’t had any better options,” said Devlin Daley, cofounder of Derivita. “What’s worse is that students are paying a premium for it. Derivita is a much more functional and affordable resource for math students and teachers -- we don't know of any other tool like it.”
Daley’s idea to create Derivita was born out of thousands of conversations with university teachers and students spanning more than a decade. For Instructure and now Derivita, his product validation tours have taken him to over 400 universities, where he has witnessed firsthand some of the biggest problems in the higher education market.
“Devlin has a keen sense of what’s broken in the higher education market and the experience to know how to fix it,” said Brown, cofounder and chief technology officer of Derivita. “When he approached me about building a new math system that could improve outcomes for students and teachers, I was excited to build this with him.”
Once Daley realized the negative impact poor math technology resources were having on teachers and students, he contacted Ryan Brown, a key Google engineer who helped build what is now Google Cloud Platform. Nearly two years later, Brown’s dedicated work has led to a powerful computer algebra system that supports deeper and more complicated question types to elevate math learning for the modern student and teacher. Derivita disrupts the current coursework monopoly because it can be used with any publisher’s textbook, and with any school’s open education resource (OER) or learning management system (LMS). Plus, the elegant user interface is entirely accessible and can be used on mobile devices.
Derivita will benefit teachers, students, and universities in the following ways:
Derivita gives teachers more options while improving their assessments, grading, and instruction.
Derivita courseware can integrate with any textbook, which lets teachers choose the best book for their needs and use it with the best technology for their students. It also saves them time in evaluating student work and can help them improve their instruction with Derivita’s assessment library.
Derivita saves students time and money, and it improves their success rates.
Publishers have long had a monopoly on the courseware market as they bundle it with textbooks and charge students a premium for materials they can’t resell or buy used. Because Derivita can be bundled with any textbook, students save money because they can buy used textbooks and resell them because the system is not tied to a particular book or class.
Unlike any other computer math system, Derivita was built to assess math homework and give personalized feedback to the student based on their responses. This improves student outcomes in math and saves students from the hassle of having to retake a math course they have failed.
Derivita continues to keep costs down for universities and can help reduce dropout rates.
Only about half of students who start taking remedial math finish it. Better courseware like Derivita, which leads to improved math outcomes, can increase college completion rates across the board. Derivita also provides a framework for better math instruction at no extra cost to the university.
Derivita already has a dozen pilot users across the United States, with almost twenty more who will follow suit in the coming months. The growth is part of what Daley and Brown see as huge potential for Derivita in the long term -- not just in its impact on students and teachers but as a business: the math homework market is as much as five times larger than what Instructure’s Canvas was up against when Devlin cofounded it in 2008.
Derivita is a Salt Lake City-based education technology company founded in 2017 by Devlin Daley, cofounder of Instructure (NASD: INST), and Ryan Brown, former Google engineer. While working with hundreds of higher education institutions, they discovered that there was a significant need for better math homework software and decided to build it themselves. Derivita provides a powerful computer algebra system that supports deeper and more complicated question types with an elegant user interface improving the teacher and student experience. Derivita can also be used with any publisher’s textbook and open education resources (OER) and seamlessly integrates with the school’s learning management system (LMS). For more information, visit