This year when I was at the iPads conference at ISA, I was introduced to Osmo, which is an incredible device which combines the digital and the material worlds to help children learn words, numbers, drawing, spatial awareness and physics. Honestly, the first time I saw it I had to restrain myself from crying "Burn the witch!" and giving someone the evil eye: that's how amazing I think it is!
What is Osmo?
Here's a video overview of Osmo:
When you buy Osmo, you are paying for several things: the apps are "free" but I imagine the development costs are covered in the price of the accessories. You receive a base and mirror, which look like this (obviously you have to provide your own iPad!):
You also receive the Words and Tangram accessories:
We also chose to buy the Numbers tiles, which are not included in the Starter pack, as they seemed very educationally appropriate:
What does it cost?
Would you recommend it?
Absolutely! So far Osmo has been used only in the EAL department, and only using the Words pack, but it has proved very successful and motivating for EAL students who need to learn and practice vocabulary for units and daily use. Here's what one of our EAL teachers had to say:
In the future, I would love to expand how and where we are using Osmo, and here are some thoughts:
- Spelling, unit, guided reading, Dolch or common words homeroom station or English as an Additional Language (EAL)/Learning Support (LS) practice (Osmo Words)
- Number station practicing counting, addition, number bonds, or multiplication in station in Homeroom grades 1-5, or LS (Osmo Numbers)
- 2D shape naming (Osmo Tangram)
- 2D shape and spacial awareness (Osmo Tangram)
- Handwriting practice (Osmo Masterpiece)
- Fine motor control practice (Osmo Masterpiece)
- Exploring gravity, physics and general problem solving (Osmo Newton)
In Osmo words, you can create your own albums of words for the students to practice, or students can create their own, meaning it is extremely flexible and can be extended to be as simple or an complex as your students need it to be. This handy teachers' pack has some ideas to help you imagine using Osmo in your classroom.
I hope that if we try it out more widely and it is popular, we could get a few more for next year to share amongst grade levels and departments. If you are interested in giving Osmo a try in your literacy, maths or any other lesson please let me know: I would be happy to support you!