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10 Ideas to Transform K-12 Education

It’s true: Math can be fun

At least with a little help from an iPad game and a big Boston textbook publisher.


“Make it a little more creative,” says an elementary-age girl in a promotional video about how to add some fun to learning math. “I just want anything other than work sheets,” says another, with more than a hint of exasperation.

They’ll get their way with Numbers, a learning application released in September by Tangible Play, the California startup whose Osmo device is a literal game changer for the iPad ( Released last year, Osmo provides a base to hold the iPad upright on a table and a little red plastic clip that snaps over the top of the tablet’s camera to read physical elements in front of it with the aid of a hidden mirror. By connecting apps with the real world, Osmo lets kids turn puzzle pieces, lettered tiles, colorful tangrams, and even good old-fashioned pen and paper into digital games.


The platform is in 100,000 homes and 4,000 schools worldwide. And while all of Osmo’s apps are educational, Numbers is especially so, since Tangible Play has partnered with Boston’s Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a global giant in K-12 content and publishing, to create games and activity guides for it that complement HMH’s widely used GO Math! and Math Expressions school curricula.

The companies say gaming not only makes learning fun but also helps relieve math anxiety among the K-6 set. Maybe math doesn’t have to seem so hard after all.


Use the pull-down menu below to read more stories from the Globe Magazine special issue.

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