Derivita – Math Homework Made Easy

Finally, a comprehensive online solution for the “I don’t get it” math and science homework hurdle.

Devin Daley, Co-Founder and CEO of Derivita

Take an inside tour of Derivita courseware; math homework made easy for the educator, but effective for student learning through the use of automated dynamic feedback. Devlin, the co-founder of Instructure and co-creator of the Canvas LMS, takes us down the pathway of not only how and why Derivita was created, but also an in-depth demonstration of everyday student and teacher use.

Timestamped Outline

  • 0:00 Devlin Daley background and Canvas history
  • 6:50 Talking panda and publishers produce low-quality content
  • 7:50 Derivita introduction and purpose
  • 10:00 How does Derivita reduce costs for the students?
  • 13:45 Derivita’s market approach
  • 14:25 Derivita demo
  • 15:30 Dervita offers mastery-based learning & examples
  • 24:08 Graphic with Derivita
  • 25:50 Derivatives with Derivita
  • 27:10 Do Derivita’s graphs support interactive sliders?
  • 38:58 Create a randomized factor 
  • 41:10 Creating a matrix
  • 45:15 How does Derivita organize its topics?

Derivita Highlights

Written by Rich Kingsford

Show the how; don’t just give the answer

Sometimes an instructor takes the pencil and solves the problem for the student, then demands the student solve the next problem.  This is heartbreaking; this instructor just stole from the student!  Derivita shines by showing the student, step by step, how to arrive at the answer.  Most math questions have a series of steps.  If I, the student, can walk through one step at a time correctly, I’ll arrive at the right answer – and strengthen my logic and programming muscles as a byproduct.

Step by step instructions

Derivita’s step by step instructions blew me away.  When I was learning this stuff, my teacher explained it to the entire class, either going too fast or too slow through every single step in the mathematical process.  Sometimes, I would zone out. Even if I zoned out for one second and then came back, I would still be confused through the remainder of the explanation.  But, today my kids can enjoy the power of one-on-one instruction.  Derivita gives my kids individually paced, one-on-one instruction, adapted to what the kid does or doesn’t understand.  If a kid is struggling with step one of nine, Derivita knows it, and will focus on step one. Amazing.

Instant feedback

In many programs and textbooks, the student receives feedback after it’s too late.  “Darn… I missed that question. Oh well, I’ll get the next one right.” But why did you, student, get it wrong?  Students need instant feedback, given the millisecond after she errors to understand the mistake and try again.  Instant approval also tickles the student’s reward centers, encouraging them to keep on fighting!

Dynamic feedback

This one was quite impressive too… I’ve never seen this in any math assistant. Derivita gives students dynamic feedback, meaning it uses the numerical inputs they enter in.  For example, given the problem __ * 4 = 32 and the student answers 6, Derivita might reply, “6 multiplied by 4 equals 24, not 32.  Try again!”  Dynamic feedback like this helps the student examine her thinking from another angle. 


Derivita is an easy to use, attractive, self-grading, and almost-fun (is it possible to make math fun?) math tutor.  Imagine the possibilities as it becomes available to every student in the world.  (Did I mention how easy it is to translate numbers into other languages?  😃)

See additional Derivita features and information at

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