Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Exciting Projects at SES, Part I: Osmo

A drawing a fifth grade student made using the Osmo
Masterpiece app on the iPad.
If you have not heard of Osmo, you need to!  Osmo is a system for the iPad with a stand to hold the device and a mirror that is placed on top of the iPad's front-facing camera.  This allows the iPad to see the table or desk below it, while still allowing you to see the screen.  Then, the iPad has three accessory kits and five apps that allow you to do some really awesome things!  The letters kit and the Letters app have you guess the word represented by the picture on your screen, while using the letter tiles in the kit to spell the word!  The numbers kit does something similar with numbers, and is immediately my favorite of all the kits.  There's also Tangram, where you make pictures based on the shapes you have in your Tangram kit.  Finally, there are two apps that don't require any kits, Masterpiece and Newton.  I haven't had much of a chance to try out Newton yet, but Masterpiece is AWESOME.  With one of the pictures they have in their gallery or with a picture that you take, Masterpiece creates an outline of that picture, overlays it on your screen, and mirrors your table on the screen, so you're tracing the outline on your paper by looking at your screen!  It sounds confusing, but check out the video to the right to see more of what I mean.

Osmo so far has been used by kindergarten and first grade classrooms and by my student tech team.  I've seen wonderful engagement at all age levels.  I especially like the Numbers app for younger students because the kit doesn't actually give you all the numbers, so you have to put numbers together to make a new number.  It's almost as if math becomes a science experiment, and who doesn't like experiments?

A special thanks to Hilary Graebert, one of our kindergarten parents, who helped add to our collection by purchasing three Osmo Numbers accessory kits for the school.  We now have three Osmo kits complete with the Numbers, Tangram, and Letters sets.  Thank you so much for your support!

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