Osmo Donates 9,200 STEAM Kits to Children and Educators in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois

January 14, 2021 / Learn About Osmo

Recipients Include Chicago Public Schools, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, and Other Community Organizations

Osmo Cares, our charitable program, donated 9,200 Osmo sampler kits to children and educators in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, including Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Chicago Public Schools, and community organizations. This donation, valued at $92,000, was made possible by team members at the Center for Excellence in Computer Science Education at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy’s Office of Community Education Partnerships.

Osmo is currently in over 30,000 schools nationwide. Students and teachers alike are taking advantage of how Osmo allows them to engage with technology in a way that promotes skills such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, communication, and collaboration while at the same time, learning academic skills like addition, multiplication, vocabulary words, and more. The donation of these Osmo sampler kits makes it possible for more teachers and students to leverage their technology in this way.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first closed schools in March last year, we began brainstorming ways to help schools and families across the country. Northwestern University alumnus and our director of products Felix Hu reached out to his former advisor and mentor, Mike Horn, associate professor of learning sciences and computer science at Northwestern, for advice on how to facilitate a donation of Osmo’s games to Chicago-area students.

Horn connected Hu with team members leading the Center for Excellence in Computer Science Education (CECSE). Leveraging partnerships with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), city agencies, and community organizations, the team connected them with us, where we were able to make a significant donation to youth and families throughout Chicago. These collaborations strive to increase computer science, coding, and STEM opportunities, for children and educators.

The CECSE, a partnership with Apple’s Everyone Can Code and App Dev with Swift programs and CPS, also identified possible recipients through its ongoing work looking at the computer science and coding infrastructure in Chicago.

The Osmo sampler kit includes an Osmo base designed to hold an iPad, the red reflector which allows Osmo to read a device and the physical area of the desktop in front of the tablet, and access to seven different games and apps.

Kits were distributed as follows:

  • CPS’s Office of Computer Science received 5,000 kits; another 2,000 went to the Youth Services Division of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.
  • Project Exploration, a community non-profit working “to change the face of science” by encouraging those who traditionally haven’t pursued scientific careers, received 500 Osmo kits.
  • Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Center in Evanston, part of Evanston/Skokie School District 65, received 400 Osmo kits.
  • At Northwestern, the School of Education and Social Policy’s Office of Community Education Partnerships distributed 900 kits among two programs: Digital Divas, which provides STEM programming and support for middle school girls and their parents; and the Baxter Center for Science Education, which offers teachers high caliber science training and resources. 
  • The Masters of Science in Education program at the School of Education and Social Policy received 400 kits for teacher candidates. 

In addition, a team at CPS spent part of the fall designing a professional development opportunity for kindergarten through 8th grade teachers to be trained on how to use Osmo in their classrooms—for remote and in-person instruction. There are puzzles, activities and worksheets for kids to enhance your kid’s learning experience at Osmo.

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