March 3, 2018
Can Osmo Be More than a Drill and Practice Tool?
In my current school at the Kinder division, we use a tool called OSMO. OSMO is a tool that connects with the iPad through an app. With the iPads, OSMOS allow students to work in an app, but still use chips and pieces to make it hands-on.
With the OSMOS, the iPads’ cameras are covered with a reflective mirror over the camera. Students use letter or number chips and move them directly in front of the iPad. Whatever chip is used is then reflected using the mirror and recognized in the app. The OSMOS have many different Apps, each with its own set of pieces. The Apps my school currently uses are: Osmo Words, Osmo Numbers, Osmo Tangram, Osmo Masterpiece, Osmo Monster, Osmo Newton, Osmo Coding, and Osmo Pizza Company. Through all these different apps students practice skills in Literacy, Numbers, Coding, spatial skills as well as creative skills. In a few of the applications, students create, but for the most part students are asked questions and then use their pieces to answer; it is a drill response process.
I have been using Osmos with my students for the past year, and after seeing the students work with them and how they work in the classroom I started to wonder, can Osmos be more than a drill and practice tool?
As I previously mentioned, a few of the apps allow students more freedom to create, but for the most part the students are answering questions or repeating back patterns. Even in the Osmo Masterpiece app, which is an artistic app that allows students to draw, the app provides the students a picture and they are suppose to trace it. Even with all the different apps, there is still a possibility for some more freedom.
Each student is able to have his/her own account in OSMO. I as the teacher am allowed to have one as well. Also, as the teacher, I am able to create different activities in certain apps, share my creations with other educators and even search for activities. I am not sure however, if students have the same opportunities. If so, this would calm my concerns about the use of OSMOS in school.
Right now, I believe that OSMOS cannot be used for more than a drill and practice tool. From what I have seen, OSMOS do not allow students to go higher through the SAMR model hierarchy and dig into deeper learning. Now, if students are able to create their own games and activities, that would be different. But at this point and from what I have seen I am not sure.
I really enjoy using OSMOS, and my students get a lot out of using them. I just hope that like many other tools, OSMOS will develop and adapt to allow students to create more as opposed to just repeatedly answering questions.