Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013
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Faces iMake - ABC

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Cute, artistic way to learn creativity and the ABCs

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
Pre-K This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Letter identification and sounds integrate with creativity, art, and puzzle solving.

Cons: The app doesn't include lowercase letters.

Bottom Line: Faces iMake - ABC does a beautiful job of integrating several preschool skills into one unique app.

In addition to expanding kids' ideas about creativity, you can use this app to help them develop problem-solving skills by reassembling a broken picture. We might like the option of lowercase letters, and there's no data for letters covered or puzzles mastered. However, the focus here is mostly engagement with the beautiful and whimsical art, not skills testing.

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The heart of Faces iMake - ABC is the pictures. Kids are exposed to the concept of creativity by watching artist Hanoch Piven's drawings deconstructed and reconstructed. They'll no longer see a ruler, they'll see a rectangle; a button is also a circle.

Kids choose a letter from the alphabet, shown at the bottom of the screen, and then see and hear the letter on-screen. They tap the letter again to make an object that begins with that letter appear, like a robot for R. Then -- "Uh-oh!" -- the object breaks apart into pieces that are actually everyday objects, like buttons or fruit, and kids have to reassemble the picture.

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Faces iMake - ABC is easy for kids to navigate, with directions and gentle encouragement voiced by artist Hanoch Piven. "Hello, are you still there?" he asks after delayed responses. As kids drag and drop pieces into place, they develop hand-eye coordination and learn to interact with touch-screen technology. Some items are only partially placed on top of others, making some puzzles tricky, but the developers placed easier puzzles at the beginning of the alphabet so the challenge builds slowly.

The interface, designed with preschoolers in mind, is not too flashy or overstimulating. The ABCs aren't just added to make a fun creativity app educational; the letters create a framework for the pictures and give kids some control in directing play, since they choose the letter.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Hanoch Piven's fascinating collage-based art will draw kids in.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

The ABCs are not so much the focus as creating something new and looking at everyday objects differently. The puzzle play is preschool-appropriate.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Verbal direction pipes up as needed, but the controls are pretty intuitive even for a preschooler. There's no tracking of puzzles completed or letters mastered, but that's not necessarily the goal.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Julie Y. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
South Portland High School
South Portland, ME
4
Used with a two year old and two pre-school aged children- a different take on learning ABCs!

The app is simple and straight forward. It was easy for the children to pick up. Some of the puzzles were very difficult and some very easy- so it went from easy to assemble to very hard for the children with no real predictability. Not one of their favorites, but definitely worked for the moment.

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