At Replit we believe that computers give people superpowers. With computers, anyone who's willing to learn can spend more of their time on creative invention rather than tedious drudgery. They help us automate repetitive tasks and build on the collective knowledge of all the great thinkers, inventors, artists, and teachers who came before us.
Computer science teachers around the world are bestowing these superpowers upon the next generation of creators and builders. We built Replit Teams for Education for them, and today we're officially taking Teams for Education out of beta.
Sign up for a free trial if you haven't already!
Thank you teachers for beta testing Teams, for giving us invaluable product feedback, for helping one another out as part of a vibrant and diverse community of Replers, and for being a part of the history of computers.
William Gibson is famous for saying way back in 1992, that "the future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." If we asked you a year ago, you may have said we were already living in the computer age, or even that we had been for decades. But then in early 2020 COVID-19 happened and everything went "remote" and we all took a collective leap even further into the future. Today it's more obvious than ever that for children (and adults!) to participate in the riches of the new economy, they need to be able to design, control, and program the machines that we all use all day, every day.
On this vision to build powerful & approachable tools that expand access to computing superpowers, Replit raised a $20 million Series A at the start of 2020. We're using the funds both to make learning more engaging for teachers and students and also to make work more fun and creative for professional software developers. We believe that the same things that make programming easier for beginners will also unlock productivity for experts. And when students know that they aren't just in a sandboxed, toy environment, but instead can use real-world tools and collaborate in real-time with their peers, they'll learn better.
We've been working towards this vision since Amjad and Haya started Replit in 2016. And the initial beta release of Teams for Education over the summer of 2020 was a major step forward in that direction. From the start, early adopters like Toni loved the real-time multiplayer collaboration with their students, seeing how Replit could transform their classrooms.
@replit absolute game changer for coding. Supports so many languages, easy to use. My favourite feature is multiplayer option! My must have tool for coding.— Toni Scullion (@ScullionToni) November 16, 2020
But there was much more to do before Teams would be ready to graduate from beta. We listened to our teachers. Then we rolled up our sleeves and started building fast:
- privacy compliance (FERPA, COPPA, GDPR, and more)
- code annotations for feedback
- group projects
- simplified pricing
- feedback workflow improvements
- stability improvements
- input/output autograding
- graphics improvements
- better project organization
- project sharing
- project overview and reporting
And we're going to keep on shipping! In the coming days and weeks, look out for live handraising to get help, project due dates, easier billing and team organization, major updates to annotations (now called threads), and more. If there's something else you want us to build, let us know!
Thanks again to everyone who's been teaching with Teams for helping us set the product direction. There's still more to do, but Teams for Education has finally reached a point where we're proud to officially release it. We're excited to keep hearing success stories from teachers like Michele and Pete.
It. Will. Change. Your. Life. Teams allows you to create a repl, automatically forks it for each student or group, and you never lose access. In breakout rooms or the classroom, I can see what each kid/group is working on in real time and pop in when I need to— MicheleLombardi (@Lombardi_M_) February 18, 2021
I have been using teams with my 9 Higher pupils this week and it is a game changer - especially when remote coding. The ability to drop in and out of their projects is a game changer. I have also bought my own personal sub to be able to keep projects private.— Pete Graham (@Petergra) February 6, 2021
But it's not just these couple teachers. In the past 7 months of the beta, we've reached ~1,000 paying Teams customers (and thousands more currently on free trials). We're serving elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, bootcamps, nonprofits, and every type of educational institution. And the schools using Replit are incredibly diverse with over 30% majority minority and over half with >45% of their students on free or reduced-price lunch.
With so much collective brainpower and experience across our community, we're working hard to connect teachers to one another to share best practices. If you haven't already, join Repl talk and our teachers' group on Facebook. We'll be attending the SIGCSE conference in March and would love to see you at our presentation. We'll be at CSTA over the summer as well. More details to come. We'll be resuming "office hours" (video call sessions with our team) in the coming weeks and sending a survey to ask your time preferences. And to help us out on all these fronts, we'll soon be adding another teacher from the community to our team.
Finally, the Replit team is doing a book club, and we'd love to have you join. We're reading "The Friendly Orange Glow", which tells the story of programming education and early cyberculture from the 1960s through the early 90s. If you'd like to read the book and join our next conversation, just email [email protected] and I'll send you the details!
It's been an exciting journey building Teams for Education, and there's so much more to come. You can learn more and sign up for a free trial here. Happy coding!