Common Sense Review
Updated February 2013

Faces iMake - ABC

Cute, artistic way to learn creativity and the ABCs
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Kids see and hear the letter and see an artistic rendering of the item beginning with that letter.
  • Then, the pieces making the item fall apart and have to be put back together again.
  • Kids drag and drop the object back into its place in the artwork.
  • Some objects are nested behind other objects or overlap a bit.
Letter identification and sounds integrate with creativity, art, and puzzle solving.
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.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense 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.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

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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What's It Like?

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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Is It Good For Learning?

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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See how teachers are using Faces iMake - ABC

Lesson Plans