There are lots of tools out there that claim to be a “new and innovative way of using the iPad,” but when you look at them closely they are often just a modified version of what we have seen before. The Osmo, however, is actually something truly new and innovative. The Osmo is a piece of technology hardware that allows you to connect the iPad with physical play. The Osmo includes an iPad stand and then a clip on mirror that attaches to the top of your iPad. Depending on the kit you purchase, the Osmo also comes with tangram pieces and letters for to be used in the learning games. The Mirror attachment allows the table space in front of the iPad to connect with the screen so you can actually place objects in front of the iPad to play the game and complete challenges. For example, in the tangram game, the Osmo app provides you with puzzles and the students place the tangrams on the table in front of the iPad and their work shows up on the screen. Check out their website to see videos that explain some of the other amazing things you can do with the Masterpiece, Words, and Newton apps.
Full disclaimer, I have not used the Osmo yet. I wanted to try it out but haven’t been able to get my hands on one yet. I’ve read a few reviews and for the most part people say that the tech works quite well, however, as you might expect, it periodically glitches. Some have found that placing a white paper on the table to make sure that the iPad can pick up the images easily seems to help and you need to make sure that you have plenty of light. The other concern is in price. The tech costs $79 to buy the whole game suite which, despite the amazing application this tool has to offer, may be a bit too steep for some schools.
Each of the apps allow this tool to be used in reading, writing, math, and science. The Newton app is a great way to teach students about force and motion and problem solving. The words app is an easy way to have students practice spelling rules. The tangrams app has clear applications for math and of course the masterpiece app could be used in art or writing. I could see this being used as a center in the classroom for extension work or extra practice.
Do I plan to use it?
As I mentioned above, I want to try it out first and see how it works.
Commitment and Learning Curve
It seems like it would be quite low based on the tutorials and reviews.
Best for ES MS or HS?
$79 for the osmo and all the game pieces.