California-based and BYJU’s-acquired educational games creator Osmo is launching Osmo Live to help educators teach young kids remotely, the company has announced recently.
Targeted at kids from kindergarten to 5th grade, Osmo Live is a way for teachers to engage elementary school kids with a combination of live-streamed remote online sessions as well as offline homework.
Announcing the news, Pramod Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, Tangible Play Inc, the operator of the Osmo brand, said in an interview with GamesBeat,
“There was one project we were working on for a while. Live learning was something that we’ve been thinking about for a long time. We couldn’t really pull it off earlier. Then the COVID-19 happened, and we realized every teacher is looking for sort of a live solution for classes. We fast-tracked what we were working on, and this week, we are launching.”
Features of Osmo Live include:
- One-to-one connection – With Osmo Live, instructors can survey children to understand how they are feeling, ensuring everyone is heard and supported. Only instructors can broadcast, allowing children to focus on their work and minimize distractions.
- Interactivity – With a speech-to-text function, live chat feature with emojis, and in-class poll questions, it enables instructors to incorporate live Q&A into the curriculum and multiple children to actively participate in discussions at a time without interrupting the flow of learning.
- Online/Offline integration – Children can engage with the classes using real-world objects like pencil and paper, and share photos of their work with instructors to work through problems and collaborate with the entire class in real-time.
- Personalised feedback – At the end of each, children are given an extended learning activity so the learning doesn’t stop once the class is over. Instructors provide personalised feedback on all activities to make sure every child understands the content and stays on track.
With Osmo Live, teachers can share slides and manipulate objects in front of a camera. This tactile learning is said to be good for the youngest students, as they can visually understand what the teacher is talking about. Teachers can also get digital feedback, such as quick evaluation, and know who understands the lesson and who doesn’t and falling behind.
Every weekly session lasts one hour and generates two to three hours of extended learning via offline homework. Each Bootcamp is $150, and parents signing up for more than one are given a $25 discount.
“This is a good way to teach kids while parents are busy working at home. You can put them in front of a TV, but this is better,” Pramod Sharma said explaining the benefits of its Osmo Live service.
Osmo uses the camera on an iPhone and computer vision to create interactive learning sessions with things like letter blocks and numbers. If a kid tosses a block letter in front of the camera, the software can recognize it and tell if the child picked the correct letter.
Explaining further its products, Sharma said the same system can show what a teacher is writing on a surface and broadcast that to the children, or show what a child is writing and show that to the teacher in real-time. It said that kids can vote on whether they are bored or excited, and the teacher can see the feedback of how everybody is feeling. The learning is also gamified, the CEO added. For instance, if a kid responds to a query, the child gets a point. If they attend class, they get two points. The company said that the point is to get the kids to come back again and again.
Talking about the importance of gaming for engaging kids and comparing its product with Zoom, Pramod said,
“Gaming is a proven way to get kids engaged. Zoom is fine for business meetings. But teachers want to engage kids with interactive experiences. Children can post answers to online queries, and the teachers can correct them live.”
On ways to access its tool, the company said the child only needs a computer with a webcam and browser. If they have an Osmo device, it is helpful, but said it is not required. There’s also asynchronous learning, where the teacher can assign offline work and the child can submit offline questions, to be answered later.
The company said that it has begun hiring teachers who can teach large classes (up to 100 students) in hands-on Bootcamps for children using the Osmo Live service. It said teachers will start teaching six-week-long Bootcamps covering critical skills including art and creativity, coding, and math.
Meanwhile, Osmo claims its augmented reality learning games have been adopted in over 30,000 classrooms in more than 42 countries around the world. The Palo Alto-based edtech company is said to have launched 17 learning games to date. The company was acquired by India’s edtech unicorn BYJU’s in 2019.