Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Technology Tuesday

Today’s Technology Tuesday comes from Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Lab facilitator Stephanie Tilley. Stephanie is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who has worked for Imagine! for more than 10 years, and is the author of “101 Adapted Games for Kids,” which provides adaptations for children’s activities to create inclusive activities and environments. In the piece below, Stephanie talks about an iPad program called Osmo

This week I’d like to highlight a program that we use on the iPad called Osmo. Osmo is an accessory that is added to the iPad which consists of a reflector that snaps over the camera of the iPad and a stand. The Osmo also comes with three activities: Tangrams, Words, and Newton. The tangible pieces to the activities are included in the Osmo and the apps are free from the app store. The incredible thing about this program is that the reflector incorporated the surface in front of the iPad right onto the screen. The Tangrams activity comes with tangible puzzle pieces that participants use to match the picture on the screen.

The program allows the iPad to recognize when the pieces are arranged correctly to match the picture on the screen. There are different levels of difficulty and more puzzles unlock the more that the activity is played.

For the Newton program it’s often helpful to have a few sheets of plain white paper and a pencil, pen, or marker available. Participants draw on the paper to create lines or shapes for the balls that are dropping from the top of the iPad screen to bounce off of. The object is to get the balls to hit targets on the screen. Besides drawing, other objects can be placed on the surface in front of the iPad and their outlines are incorporated into the activity as well. Often during class we use the tangram pieces and participants move them to different spots on the playing surface to make the balls bounce in different directions to hit the targets.

When using the words program, participants have the guess the words associated with the pictures on the screen. Participants then spell the words using tangible letter pieces that are included in the game, on the surface in front of the iPad. This activity can be played individually, with a group, or vs. another person. This activity has been used often during class as it encourages participants to work together to guess and spell the words. During one activity in particular, one participant had challenges with seeing the pieces, but was skilled at spelling, while the other participant had some challenges with spelling, but could easily identify the different letters. These two participants worked for a large portion of the class time working together and working on so many skills at the same time.

While using this program, participants not only work on skills such as spelling and shapes, but they work on social skills, fine motor skills, turn taking, problem solving, and thinking skills. This program has been such a wonderful addition to the Assistive Technology Computer lab Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department! You can find out more about the Osmo and check out a video of the program in use at https://www.playosmo.com/

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