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

Osmo gets kids coding block by block

There’s no right age for learning how to code, but if you’re looking for a way to get kids understanding the approach early, Osmo’s latest kit could help.

There are lots of different computer programming languages, but it’s really the mindset and approach to programming that many find complicated.

Understanding that mindset behind learning to code has become one of the things kids are taught these days, and while it can be hard for parents to relate to, it’s something children can learn at earlier grades than high school.

The question of “how much earlier” is one that often gets asked, and tends to relate to how interested a child is, but it can be pushed a little with the right gadget.

Take a look into this area and you’ll find Sphero’s learning robots, the edutainment game environment of Apple’s iPad Swift Playgrounds (which is also available for the Mac), and there’s more for the iPad in a physical learning form, too.

It’s coming from the ex-Google engineer which built the Osmo system, an app and hardware platform for the iPad that uses a mirror to refocus where the front-facing camera from an iPad is aimed, and has it look at physical blocks that correspond to what’s happening on screen.

In the past, Osmo has dabbled in teaching coding, and the latest version of its Coding Kit offered three coding games in the same kit, bringing the Osmo iPad stand and reflector together with the blocks and three games.

The games are all about teaching, but in a way kids from age five hopefully find entertaining, with the Coding Awbie providing an adventure to let people move a character around (much like Swift Playgrounds), with a similar approach in the second game, Coding Duo.

The third game may provide kids with a way to be more experimental with those physical blocks, connecting coding physical coding commands in those blocks to create music and beats.

It’s an approach that aims to get kids turning the act of moving blocks akin to a puzzle into understanding the nature of coding, though one that requires an iPad, iPad Mini, or another tablet made by Apple with the name “iPad” somewhere in there. Sorry Android users, but there’s no support here.

If you have an iPad, you’ll find the Osmo Coding Starter Kit making its way into stores in the next few weeks, likely for just under $200 locally.

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