Aimed at children in kindergarten through fifth grade, the Osmo Live service has been speeded up so parents can keep their kids busy during the lockout while parents have to work at home, said CEO Pramod Sharma in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We are staying at the intersection of play and learning,” said Sharma. “This is a huge step for us as a brand. Parents need it more than ever.”
Osmo products have sold by the millions. They use the camera on an iPhone and computer vision to create interactive learning sessions with things like blocks of letters and numbers. If a child throws a capital letter in front of the camera, the software can recognize it and say if it has chosen the right letter.
The company claims that more than 35,000 American classrooms use its products. Osmo, which is owned by Byju India, has more than 125 employees and has launched 17 learning games to date.
“There was a project we had been working on for a while,” said Sharma. “Live learning is something we have been thinking about for a long time. We couldn’t really succeed sooner. Then COVID-19 happened, and we realized that each teacher was looking for some sort of live solution for the lessons. We accelerated what we were working on. And this week we are launching.
Likewise, the same system can show what a teacher writes on a surface and broadcast it to children, or show what a child writes and show it to the teacher in real time.
Children can vote to find out if they are bored or excited, and the teacher can see how everyone is feeling. Learning is also gamified, said Sharma. If a child answers a request, the child gets a point. If they attend classes, they get two points. The goal is to keep the kids coming back again and again.
During the pandemic, demand for Osmo products doubled, said Sharma.
“Play is a proven way to engage children,” he said. “The zoom is perfect for business meetings. But the teachers want to encourage children to have interactive experiences. Children can post responses to queries online and teachers can correct them live. “
The child only needs a computer with webcam and browser. If they have an Osmo device, it is useful but not compulsory. There is also asynchronous learning, where the teacher can assign work offline and the child can submit questions offline, which will be answered later.
Osmo has started to hire teachers who can teach large classes (up to 100 students) in practical Bootcamps for children using the Osmo Live service, so that children can learn at home. Teachers will begin teaching six-week Bootcamps covering essential skills such as art and creativity, coding and math.
Nationally, COVID-19 school closings have put millions of parents in charge of ensuring their children continue their education at home. In tandem, children who are confined to the home for months due to on-site shelter orders are bored and lack the regular classroom socialization that makes them eager to learn. Despite claims that the COVID-19 pandemic is improving, these issues remain critical for parents and their children, said Sharma.
Dave Blanchard, who works in teacher development at Saint Cloud State University and helped design Osmo Live, said in a statement that Osmo Live is simple and intuitive and helps kids stay engaged. He said the Osmo Live Bootcamp series isn’t just another webinar for kids. It’s an after-school learning well done.
Osmo Live includes:
- Connection one by one. Instructors can probe children to understand how they are feeling, ensuring that everyone is heard and supported. In addition, only instructors can broadcast, allowing children to stay focused on their work and minimizing distractions.
- Interactivity. Text-to-speech, live chat with emojis, and classroom survey questions allow instructors to incorporate live questions and answers into the program and allow multiple children to actively participate in discussions without both interrupt the learning flow.
- Online / offline integration. Advanced learning requires more than watching a teacher teach by video. Children can participate in lessons using real-world objects like pencil and paper, and share photos of their work with instructors to solve problems and collaborate with the whole class in real time.
- Personalized comments. At the end of each session, the children are offered an extended learning activity so that learning does not stop after the course is over. Instructors provide personalized feedback on all activities to ensure that each child understands the content and stays on track.
Each weekly session lasts one hour and generates two to three hours of extended learning via offline homework. Osmo Live is designed to be used on any device. Each Bootcamp is priced at $ 150, and parents who sign up for more than one will receive a $ 25 discount.
“It’s a good way to teach children while parents are busy working at home,” said Sharma. “You can put them in front of a TV, but it’s better.”
About 500 children have tried it.
Teachers can share slides and manipulate objects in front of a camera. This tactile learning is good for younger students, so they can visually understand what the teacher is talking about.
“We can do multimodal learning, with physical tools and digital tools all together,” said Sharma. “It’s powerful because many concepts are best explained by physical manipulation.”
Teachers can also get digital feedback, such as quick assessments of who understands the lesson and who may be late.