Common Sense Review
Updated May 2013

Photo Editor by Aviary

Cool creative tools for shutterbug teens
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
Pros
Teens will love menu customization options, plus legit knowledge base and API tools are icing on top of basic functionality.
Cons
Lack of undo or revert function and too many reasons to leave the app may frustrate kids using the Android version.
Bottom Line
It's a good tool for teens interested in creating digital images and developing apps.
Leslie Crenna
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Interface is a bit on the plain side and effects are not jaw-dropping, but it's generally well-designed and easy to use.

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

Kids will feel empowered by the little things, like the ability to customize interface and storage options as well as embed in other applications. 

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

Access to Web-based developer knowledge base and API information empowers kids to develop their own apps.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

The quality of filters and tools here is pretty great, so art or photography teachers shouldn't hesitate to use this app as a place for young shutterbugs to begin experimenting. Note: Photo Editor by Aviary might be best used by students on devices (with in-app purchasing disabled). If you have some budding programmers in your classes, the API tools on the developer's website are a great resource. They're accessible via the Aviary website with email-based account and login.

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What's It Like?

Photo Editor by Aviary is a photo editing app that includes all the standard tools plus fun stickers and filters. From the main menu, select the camera button, then use the built-in (or any other app-based) camera to take photos. Swipe to browse through the photo gallery, tap the chosen photo to edit, then select from around 20 editing tools. Changes appear directly on the screen; select Apply to save and Done to return to the main menu.

Tools include text, orientation, contrast, crop, frames, saturation, red-eye, and draw (six round brushes with erase). The Memes tool adds poster-style captions to the top and/or bottom of images, and Splash changes the image mode to black-and-white then allows the user to draw the color back in selectively. Posting to Facebook, email, and other share sites is optional.

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Is It Good For Learning?

It may not be the most exciting or powerful app available, but it has just the right amount of functionality for kids who aren't quite ready for the full professional editing apps. While the interface is a bit on the plain side, kids will be drawn in by tools like Splash and Meme, though the built-in effects pack is not that spectacular (paid add-ons are reasonably priced). Middle schoolers can learn digital photography and graphic arts skills here, and they'll have fun experimenting with all the tools. Customizing menus may not seem like a huge deal, but it helps kids feel more in control of the experience. Though tutorials and reference material are absent, the API tools on the developer website could serve as an entrance point for aspiring developers who wouldn't know where to start otherwise.

On the downside, the camera, pack purchases, and developer website take the user out of the app a bit too much on the Android version. It relies heavily on the device-level back button for navigation, and it has no undo or revert buttons (except for the back button before Apply is selected). The text tool is kind of frustrating; the only way to delete text boxes is to drag them off the workspace, though stickers are more flexible with a delete icon.

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