Osmo Coding & Coding Duo
The Osmo Coding and the Coding Duo apps and associated hardware kit allow you to “transform your tablet into a hands-on coding adventure. Designed for ages 5–10, Coding Starter Kit builds coding skills in progression with 3 hands-on learning games. Watch your child learn to code as they connect colorful blocks of code in the physical world to chart the adventure on their screen”. Children learn to code the actions of an on-screen character to solve puzzles by using tangible code blocks that are “read” by the tablet’s camera.
Combining tangible blocks with […] interactive games, Osmo makes learning to code fun and accessible for kids!
Material and technical aspects
Using Osmo Coding and Coding Duo requires having a compatible tablet (iPad or Fire), with an Internet connection, downloading the apps and buying a hardware kit with 31 tangible coding blocks, 1 Osmo base for the tablet. There is a stackable case to store the coding blocks. The Starter Kit costs about 60€ to buy. The tablet needs to be bought separately.
- Compatible iPads: All iPads except Generation 1, 2, 3, iPad Mini 1, iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd Generation) and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th Generation) The minimum iOS version needed is iOS 10+ .
- Compatible Fire Tablets: 8th Generation Fire HD 8, 9th Generation Fire 7, 9th Generation Fire HD 10, 10th Generation Fire HD 8. The minimum Fire OS version needed is 7.0+ .
Osmo Coding can be used to learn about the basics of programming an on-screen avatar, like instructions are executed one after the other, coloured code blocks represent certain instructions, each instruction stands for an action, instructions in front of the tablet make the avatar do the intended actions on screen, and we can use parameters (here numbers) to modulate (here repeat x times) certain instructions. Osmo Coding Duo introduces the notion of parallel programmes that can interact to solve more complex problems, since players need to give two on-screen avatars two parallel sets of instructions to execute in order to solve problems that require the actions of these two avatars.
From a pedagogical point of view, this learning resource uses age-appropriate on-screen puzzle in a fictional world of increasing complexity and difficulty. The app offers ample scaffolding for beginners to successfully solve the given problems, step-by-step, without feeling lost and helpless. Teachers can most often leave the children alone to work on the puzzles, or let them work in pairs or trios, because the app offers help and shows them what to do if they do not find it out by themselves. At early stages, the children are shown how to use the coding blocks to solve simple tasks and are, later on in the game, left with the freedom to apply learned routines or to find their own original solutions. Early learners can begin with games focused on problem-solving and progress to concepts like sequencing and looping. In terms of classroom management, the use of this learning tool implies that you use learning stations, or some form of arrangement where individual children or small groups of children use the Osmo app while others are working on something else, because you most probably do not have nor want to have 1 tablet (and Osmo Coding kit) per child.
Overall, the Osmo Coding apps and associated hardware kit allow children to progressively develop coding and problem-solving skills in a playful and rather autonomous way. It is however important to help them to make explicit connections between what they playfully learn here and other programming environments. A highly recommendable pedagogical resource! However, the high price can be a deterrent and there need to be arrangements in terms of classroom management since you rarely have (nor want to have) enough tablets and Osmo kits for each and every child.