While in Atlanta, GA for the ISTE Conference in late June, I stopped by a vendor called “Osmo“. They have created a product (also called Osmo) that lets students (and us grown-ups too!) interact with the real and digital world at the same time. Right now, this new product has 3 “games” with it: Words, Tangrams, and Newton. For $79.00, you get the base (that holds an iPad or iPad Mini), a mirror that fits over the camera at the top of the iPad, Words tiles, and Tangram shapes. The apps are free. I was so excited about this that I ordered one on the spot! Here is their “commercial.”
Words app has many options. You can compete against another person or play the “Zen” game with any number of players. You see a photo and then have to “toss” letter tiles in front of the iPad to guess the word that might be represented in the photo. There are 4 levels… Easy, Medium, Hard, and Impossible (or Good Luck With That). There is also a Junior game for early readers who may just need to find the first letter of a word. Best of all, teachers can create their own libraries of words (perfect for vocabulary and/or spelling) and download them to the iPad and then students can play the same games, but using their teacher’s words instead of the 2000 built in words. I’ve seen students play this game for hours (my nieces) but even more surprising, teachers who chose to keep playing it instead of taking a break during PD!
Tangrams includes an introduction that starts with very simple shapes and gradually gets more difficult. Then you can go to the game itself and choose from many different images to create from your Tangram shapes.
Finally, Newton is the third app that you can play with your hand, Legos, a pencil and paper – anything that is “solid”. Drops fall from the top, center of the screen and by drawing lines or placing other objects under the mirror, you try to make those drops bounce and hit targets. So, physics and geometry, problem solving and critical thinking all combine into a fun game.
To order an Osmo or just get more information, go to www.playosmo.com or now you can buy these from the Apple Store.