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Versal Launches an Open API Platform for Developers to Build Interactive Educational Gadgets

Online learning today is too often passive and boring. Versal is uniting developers and teachers to transform education through interactivity (September 04, 2014)

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Versal announced the launch of its new open developer program (beta), the first open API platform specifically designed to offer developers a way to easily build interactive and customizable 'learning gadgets' for teachers to use in online courses, homework assignments, and student projects.

Gadgets, like apps on a smartphone, are the key to Versal's course creation and publishing platform. While core gadgets like text, video and images allow a teacher to offer a basic course and lesson structure for students, the real magic lies with interactive simulations, games, timelines, quizzes, whiteboarding and more. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination of teachers and developers.

"A vibrant, open community of developers and teachers has the potential to radically improve online learning," said Gregor Freund, CEO and co-founder at Versal. "Building the technology architecture to support third-party gadget development has been a rewarding challenge, and we are excited to release the first beta APIs and foster community growth in earnest. 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 exceptionally easy for JavaScript developers to get started, Versal partnered with London-based Codio to offer a Web-based IDE (integrated developer environment), so Versal gadgets can be quickly and easily built online from scratch or with pre-configured templates. This means new developers can easily test their skills and create cool gadgets. Expert developers may 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. "And we love Versal's mission to bring interactivity to education. 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. It's an exhilarating time in e-learning and we're honored to be a part of it."

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. Developers may access the Web IDE and SDK download here, or read more on the Versal blog.

Versal hosted a sneak preview hack night with the San Francisco JavaScript Meetup Group last week, and an enthusiastic group of developers joined in to build gadgets and give feedback. This morning the company published a roundup of the evening.

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 early adopter program should visit the Gadget Factory.

Lastly, Versal will be showcasing the developer program at a table at this weekend's TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon and will have a table at the main show to demo the course creation platform.

About Versal
Versal is a new publishing platform - free and open to anyone with knowledge and the desire to share it. With the ability to invite anyone to collaborate on a project, Versal is ideal for individual teachers, educational institutions and organizations who want to create traditional courses, product tutorials, training courses and more. Based in San Francisco, Calif., the company introduced its course creator and gadget technology in July 2013. For more information please visit Versal.com, or Facebook, or Twitter.

About Codio
Codio is a powerful web-based IDE with a unique focus on balancing power and usability, enabling developers to maximize their productivity and creative potential. Codio is much more than a code editor, with each and every code project assigned an instantly available Ubuntu server. Codio's extensive feature set makes the IDE ideal as a platform for teaching coding, offering a broad range of features to both teachers and students - such as course and class management, instant access to student code, grading and rich tutorial content authoring.

Codio can be integrated into 3rd party web sites and platforms that require a full-featured, embedded Web IDE. Such integrations allow a Codio customer to offer their users a full-featured, web-based coding environment along with a fully configured front and back end server stack, all instantly available to the customer's end users. Our integration with Versal is an excellent example, allowing any prospective Versal developer to bypass the normal local stack setup and begin the SDK evaluation process instantly as well as being a powerful, ongoing development environment.

For more information please visit codio.com or on Facebook.

SOURCE Versal

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