Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Osmo encourages maths whiz kids with a gadget

If there’s a bit of a young maths genius in your family, Osmo’s interactive tablet app now has something focused on their growth.

Encouraging kids to keep on working across their schoolwork can be hard, but if you throw a bit of fun into the equation, it might just keep them going throughout the break. We’re sure some will scoff at the idea, but if you have kids who love science and maths, keeping them interested in their topics even when school is over can be a bit of a thing.

Fortunately, there are apps and games to help nudge them along, and some of those can even come alive in the physical world, complete with an interactive approach to exploring what happens on screen.

That’s roughly what an ex-Google engineer developed with Osmo, a gadget that adds a mirror to an iPad and uses that tablet’s camera to look in front of the iPad for an activity area, allowing kids to do things in that spot, and have it reflected on screen. It’s a concept that can be used for fun, but also see real educational value, even teaching kids as young as five to begin to learn the basics of coding.

Osmo’s latest effort, however, is focused on kids a little older, from ages 6 to 8, with the focus on mathematics and improving understanding of it.

The most recent addition is the Osmo Math Wizard titles, which includes two entries based on bringing the fun and whimsy of dragons and magic to a world of maths, basically turning mathematics into a role-playing game of sorts, but played in front of the iPad.

The approach means kids can be taught maths formulas and processes through something more akin to entertainment, making this educational title into something edutainment based, though needing an iPad to work.

“Math Wizard makes adding and subtracting numbers, along with measuring, so fun, approachable, and un-intimidating, which makes a huge difference for a child who may feel apprehensive about math, while lessening anxiety for parents who feel obligated to teach their child math,” said Pramod Sharma, CEO of Osmo.

“The games are not perceived as a task or test that puts students in direct competition with peers, too.”

Like Osmo’s other approaches to learning, the Math Wizard kit needs a model of iPad to work, be it the iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad Mini, or even the entry-level iPad 10.2. It could even be last year’s model, or something earlier.

Essentially, an iPad sits in the Osmo stand, and has its camera enhanced by a little mirror which aligns its perspective to look down from the iPad, basically allowing kids to play with special app-connected physical toys in front of the iPad, with those actions showing up in the app.

It’s an experience that basically turns physical actions into on-screen ones, and means learning via app is something that is slightly more interactive than just touching a screen.

However it’s one that may need parents to buy one of the other Osmo starter kits to begin with, as the Math Wizard titles don’t appear to list the iPad accessories as part of the package. As such, if you’re going down this route for your child, you’ll want to look up Osmo’s other starter kits, and then find the Math Wizard kits, which will retail for $99 at both the Osmo site and JB HiFi in Australia.

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