Categories: Education News Tablets

Osmo gets kids learning code with music

There’s no shortage of fun ways to get kids learning to code, but if music inspires them, Osmo’s latest could get them learning with the right beat.

The school year has begun, and with it a new push to get kids to learn. If coding is on the cards this year as one of the main focuses for your kids, you may want to consider one of the many options out there in the world.

Depending on how old they are and what they’re interested in, you’ve got choices like Swift Playgrounds for the iPad and now also for macOS, as well as Sphero’s many robots, such as the SPRK rolling droids that not only teach coding, but also provide a sense of the ingenuity inside the droids.

Both approaches are excellent, but start out in a way that suggests the person using them (typically the child) is interested in coding and engineering to some degree, so if you’re trying to get your children into programming without an obvious push, it might be time to try a different tactic.

Osmo has recently launched such an approach, connecting with its Osmo accessory for the iPad that allows kids to play with what’s on screen.

It works like this: you take an iPad, set it up in the special stand Osmo uses, which not only stands the iPad up, but focuses the iPad selfie camera onto the area in front of the iPad. When you load the Osmo apps, what happens in front of the iPad is connected with what happens on the screen, linking physical toys with how kids play in the app.

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In the latest release, Osmo’s Coding Jam aims to connect music and coding by getting kids 5-12 to use physical coding blocks to create music, all while essentially learning the building blocks (pun intended) for code. Perhaps even cooler is that kids can share their musical musings afterwards with friends, all after learning a bit of coding in the process.

Osmo says that while the blocks in the Coding Jam kit are primarily made for this kit, they can be used with other blocks in Osmo’s other coding games, of which there’s at least two more.

To play, parents and kids will need the Osmo accessory, which typically is released with other activities, but once they have that, the game is basically a pack of physical blocks and the app, connecting the two with the camera-focusing red mirror of the Osmo package and an iPad (sorry Android tablet owners, but Osmo hasn’t made something for your device yet).

You’ll find it in stores now, found at select retailers across the country.

Leigh :) Stark

A technology journalist working out of Sydney, Australia, Leigh has written for publications including The Australian Financial Review, Popular Science, APC, and more since 2007, appearing on ABC Radio and TV on Nine. Check out his most recent media appearances.

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Leigh :) Stark

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