22 Apr 2015

Osmo: Software Meets Hands-On Play

Category: Learning ActivitiesAdmin @ 2:00 pm

As a Montessori teacher and computer super-user (I even write programs), I worry about young children spending too much time immersed in computers instead of interacting in what used to be normal ways in physical and social realms. Osmo® is different. It actually encourages real-world physical manipulation and in-person social interaction. When I saw their YouTube video about the application for drawing and tracing, I was hooked:

Osmo uses the iPad’s built-in camera to “see” what the child has put in front or behind the iPad, allowing it to give feedback. Besides the drawing application, Osmo includes the spelling game, Words, played individually or in teams using cardboard letters; Tangram, with real wooden pieces to match to the pattern on the screen; and Newton, which uses any objects you provide to block and redirect falling balls shown on the screen. The Words game is customizable; create your own word lists for your children or class in the myOsmo section of their websites.

Osmo is a new product, only in the market since last October. More games and other uses are sure to be coming along, including one for math, which the company is currently developing. Although currently available only for iPads, the company plans to have a version available for Android eventually.

Osmo is available from Amazon, Apple iTunes®, and from Osmo itself. (The company was previously called “Tangible Play.”)

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