Named one of Time’s magazine’s best inventions, Osmo combines digital learning with real life. Through the combination of digital technology and hands-on learning, Osmo encourages creativity, boosts mathematical skills and improves literacy. The games are educational, fun and loved by teachers and parents alike (Osmo will certainly make life easier if another lockdown takes place.)
We caught up with one of the masterminds behind this project. Pramod Sharma formerly worked as a software engineer at Google before co-founding the Osmo Brand. They have a variety of products, including coding games, mathematical adventures and much more. Little Genius Starter Kits from Osmo start from £79.
Below Pramod answers some of our questions:
- What was the motivation behind the Osmo brand and educational resources?
My co-founder and I were noticing how much our kids loved being on iPad and decided to create a healthier way for them to play and learn with the tablet. We were both working as engineers at Google at the time. We experimented with many different prototypes and eventually landed on the current Osmo design.
- What were your fondest memories as a child?
I grew up in rural India so playing outside, being on my own to explore was very nice.
- How does the Osmo technology turn screen time into something that is educational?
Osmo is an interactive children’s toy that uses innovative technology to bring physical tools into the digital world through augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Merging tactile play with technology, Osmo creates a hands-on learning experience combined with the digital trends we’re seeing today.
The range of games available further provide the tools for children to develop skills in everything from English, Maths, Coding and Art, also weaving in some of their favourite brands through our partnerships with the likes of Disney and Hot Wheels. Osmo helps to keep children engaged through each activity, as they see their own creations come to life in front of them.
- How can screen time be used to create confidence and foster self-esteem in young people?
When screen time is used for educational purposes, it can help children develop skills in new and different areas, and consequently build their confidence, inside and outside of the classroom.
Osmo is great for promoting imagination, storytelling and creativity. Whilst many games available on these devices are purely for fun and distraction, Osmo incorporates the learning element that brings it into the healthy screen time category. It provides a hybrid of tangible play with the digital world that we know kids want and love, challenging their way of thinking and encouraging them to take on new adventures.
More than 30,000 classrooms worldwide are now incorporating Osmo into the curriculum, and over 2.5 million households, giving children the opportunity to collaborate, create, think critically, and communicate.
- Where do you see artificial intelligence moving?
Artificial Intelligence is an inevitable part of our future and a key pillar of digital transformation that is happening in how we learn, work, and entertain. Osmo uses Reflective artificial intelligence, a system that uses a stand and clip-on mirror to allow the iPad’s front-facing camera to recognize and track objects in the physical play space in front of the device. With time, Osmo AI technology will become smarter to recognize more complex 3D dynamic environments. AI is being incorporated in digital learning to personalize the experience based on a child’s abilities and learning preferences. AI is also starting to open up new learning mediums, like language learning apps using speech AI, etc.
When it comes to education, AI can help enable adaptive learning, personalising learning for individual students, as well as improving the quality of classes, especially when it comes to something like a foreign language – taking learning away from the textbook. AI in the future could importantly help improve student services, helping schools tailor material and content, as well as pace of learning, to students strengths and weaknesses.
We have already seen the creation of and positive effects of AI in education. Smart content can for example, simplify and break down textbooks into digitized guides, such as with the Cram101 textbook. Moreover, AI can bring the opportunity to learn globally; Presentation Translator creates subtitles in real-time mode so that students can hear or read in their native language when learning. We have also seen the creation of Intelligent Tutoring Systems, such as Carnegie Learning’s Mika Software, which tutors a student, guided by their unique learning process, keeping them up to date on their progress and adapting lessons to each student. We are excited to see how AI will continue to develop in the future.
- How have you and family coped during the lockdown?
It’s been a big adjustment for us, like most people, but we are coping fine. Because I participate quite a bit in my childrens’ schooling, I’ve developed different boundaries at work.
- What long-term effects do you see Covid-19 and the world wide lockdown having on education?
Suddenly most of the teachers, parents, and students are required to engage with digital learning tools and content. Many are growing appreciation for how digital technology can benefit education and where it doesn’t work. After the lockdown, most schools and universities will likely adopt a more hybrid learning model – the best of offline and online learning. This new market will help accelerate the pace of tech-driven innovation in education.
- What is your favourite piece of technology at the moment?
Given I’m on calls constantly, I really appreciate my Apple Airpods at the moment. They allow my hands to be free so I can multitask during calls, which is especially helpful right now when my kids are at home!
- What about your children? What is theirs?
They’re really enjoying their Karaoke machine at the moment, and it’s great to see how they play together. They really seem to enjoy singing, and it’s a fun activity that will also help them to build their confidence.
Little Genius Starter Kits start from £79. For more information on Osmo or to purchase your product visit their website: playosmo.com