Osmo – Worth the hype?

Are you looking for a gift for a tech-interested kid on your list?  Something that they’ll find engaging, but that will also teach them a thing or two?  Perhaps you’ve seen a video about Osmo and wondered if it really works!

We wondered too, so we tried Osmo.  It was a really enjoyable, hands-on way to play with the iPad.  It works amazingly, knowing which tiles you’ve placed in front and providing the appropriate feedback.  It’s easy to set up on the iPad and works universally with different generations of iPads, no need to figure out which device they have! Keep in mind, the iPad does need to be out of any kind of case in order to be go on the Oslo stand.

Sarah is more of a word-game lover, and learned that the levels on the ‘Words’ game – all the way up to ‘Impossible’ – would be fun for any age and stage of learning.  This level involves spelling the word that is illustrated in the background.  It’s great for spelling for young kids, and to learn some new vocabulary for older ones, and adults. You can even design your own word lists.

Amanda, a fan of puzzles, enjoyed the Tangram game, and again felt that with the various level of support and hints anyone could enjoy the game.  This one involves creating a picture on the screen with the coloured, differently shaped tiles.  Depending on the level it gives you more to less feedback about the tiles that you have correct as you place them. At the hardest level some of the puzzles took a day to figure out – without using the accumulated points for hints 😉

Osmo would be a great game in pairs or individually in a school, as well as for some extra learning and fun at home. We’ve played with a handful of kids and they all loved it too. It’s designed for school-aged kids and up – there are games for Kindergarten-level learners to start with. The kids in Grade 1 and older really get into it.

If you want more information check out the videos at: http://www.playosmo.com.  We picked up our Osmo for $79 at the Apple Store. If you want to try it feel free to contact us for a consultation!


At the hardest level you only see if the shapes are in the right places after all the pieces are in the correct place to make the picture.


iOS 7 for iPad Overview

Here is a basic overview of iOS 7. The update is available Sept 18 for iPad mini and iPad 2 and up. These videos are intended for those who need a clear simple walk through or some exposure to the new look before updating.

A simple overview of some of the changes to Apple apps; clock, calendar, reminders, contacts, and notes.

And here are some more Apple apps; camera, photos (editing with filters) and maps (walking directions)


Magazine App

Flipboard is becoming my go to magazine app. If you are not familiar with these types of apps they pull information from a variety of sources in the Internet; blogs, websites, RRS feeds, magazines and even YouTube. You select your areas of interest and Voila! A personalized magazine.

I like the more text based format of Zite but typically recommend Flipboard for clients who need more visual based. There are a few other similar apps but whatever you chose they are great way to browse through information and can be a nice leisure skill.  By using the accessibly feature to speak auto text, even non-readers can enjoy the articles.

The newest update on Flipboard brought in an awesome new feature – the ability to creature your own magazine! I feel like there is some great potential here for individuals to share their ideas with peers or community.

Of course I couldn’t resist starting my own magazine! The link is in the headline or in Flipboard search: iEmpowerU

🙂 Amanda

Accessories for Accessibility

There are a couple of great tools that make accessing the iPad easier for some people.  I plan to talk about two of these tools – first a bag that makes carrying the iPad secure, safe, and convenient and second a keyguard that can be used with a variety of apps for those who find it a bit tricky to access the right buttons without a guide.

We have found ourselves suggesting the iBackflip Somersault bag to many clients: http://ibackflip.com/shop/ibackflip-somersault/ – there are some great videos and more information at this link.  Note that this version will also accommodate a laptop computer, or you can purchase the ‘Slim’ that just has space for the iPad.

It’s a stylish over one shoulder bag that looks great, and has a devoted iPad sleeve that allows the wearer to use the iPad while it remains safely in the bag, and attached to them.  No need to take off the backpack and get the iPad out, just turn it from the back to the front and open the zipper. ibackflip

What we like – you aren’t showing everyone that you’re carrying around an iPad, it’s easy to access when needed (great if you use it on the go for reminders or a communication app), you can access all of the ports, and use the camera while the iPad is in the bag.  It’s very functional and well thought out.  It also fits all iPads so you don’t have to worry about getting a new case if you upgrade in the future.

The one thing that I would add is a screen cover or protection for when the iPad is in use, or in the event that a client decides to throw their keys in the same pocket as the iPad.  In order to decrease the chances of this happening we often install Zagg shields (the clear, stick-on screen protectors).

The bag makes the iPad a bit bulky, and it isn’t protected when it’s outside the bag, but I’d say if someone is out and about or walking around at school or work this bag could be the perfect fit.

Now for some information on the keyguards available for the iPad.  If you’re not familiar with keyguards they are often used with speech generating devices that have a touch screen to assist people with selecting buttons more accurately.  They are made of plastic or plexiglass and snap onto the device.  There are holes cut out of the plastic where the buttons are located.  The plastic overlay prevents the user from accidentally touching buttons with stray fingers that may be laying on the touch screen.  A company called Lasered Pics is now making these adaptive tools for the iPad – http://www.laseredpics.biz/servlet/the-Adaptive-Technologies-Supplies/Categories – there are many options based on the app being used, as well as the configuration of the app.keygaurdThe keyguards can be attached to the iPad in various ways.  Lasered Pics has made the attachments differently depending on the case that will be used with it.  They have clear guidelines about how to order the keyguard and how it will attach to the case/ iPad.  Another note is that if they don’t have what you’re looking for they may be able to make it, so don’t hesitate to contact them with your ideas or questions.

A quick note – some of the attachments include suction cups – they stick very well, but I know that for a few individuals this may not work.  Also, make sure to think about the configuration of the app that you are using to ensure that it will work with the keyguard.  The buttons need to be a uniform size to match with the holes in the keyguard.  Also, if you are using more than one app you will have to change keyguards for each app (and then take it off if you’re going to be working on it).

Hope you find these accessories as helpful as we do!
Sarah “Techimom”