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GLENWOOD CITY— After seeing the progress of a majority of last year’s kindergarten students, Glenwood City Elementary has been using the Osmos programs and applications (by Hemisphere Games) loaded onto the classroom iPads in the first grade.
The Osmos are a unique gaming accessory for the iPad, iPhone, and Fire tablets, that enables digital and physical play at the same time. Most Osmo games are designed for ages 5-11, with the exception of Monster for ages 4-11 and Coding Duo for ages 7-11.
The Osmos are outfitted with basic word, math, coding, and drawing applications for students to use in order to work on their use of physics and motion, problem solving, angles and facial recognition.
Carly Kittilson, Paige Pax, and Jen Wannemacher each explained how their first grade students have been doing with each of the tools provided.
“It’s helping them to problem solve, along with critical thinking,” said Kittilson.
But with each student it varies on which application they prefer, but the teachers agreed that for the students more into art, they are drawn to the drawing app, math students enjoy the number app, and there are some who enjoy all of the programs including the literacy and coding apps.
Each of the first grade teachers also agreed that with the use of the Osmos in the class room, some of the students who tend to struggle with the fine tuned motor skills are now adopting what they learn on the programs to their studies that each teacher is giving them individually.
“They have a tendency to recall what they learned with the Osmos and apply it to what we are teaching them on a daily bases,” Pax explained.
Each teacher has worked the time in for when the students are able to use the programs throughout the day, Kittilson said, noting in her classroom the students know it will happen at fifth rotation or during free time as long as they take turns using the iPads.
Each student spends 15-20 minutes on whichever application they bring up before having to let a classmate take a turn.
One thing the teachers have noticed is that with the use of the coding application it is gearing the first graders up for jobs in a computer based job in their futures.
“I know when I was in school we never had any classes that taught this,” Pax said. “But with how technology is such a pressing matter now days, it’s good for them to be learning now.”
Before the teachers received the Osmos in the classrooms, Glenwood City Elementary only had two on campus in the Innovation Lab. But with the success of the program, the school decided to slowly integrate them into the classrooms.
Jen Wannemacher said she received the ones for her room before the end of the 2017-18 school year and was able to take an iPad home over the summer to practice with it.
“I wanted to play with it more, but I didn’t have a lot of time,” Wannemacher said. “But honestly I learn from watching the students with them. They seem to know what they are doing even without instructions.”
“We had received a TEACH grant two years ago,” said principal Betsy Haltinner. “We put a committee together to identify ways to integrate learning technologies into our curriculum and instruction.”
“The committee discovered the Osmos as well as several other instructional tools that have been added to the Innovation Lab including: Robotics, 3D printers, Virtual Reality Goggles, and Electronics. Additionally the lab has Chromebooks and iPads available for students, Haltinner explained.
Glenwood City Elementary was able to purchase the remaining Osmos after receiving a donation from Xcel Energy in the amount of $1000, which was approved at the October 22 Board of Education meeting.