Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013
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PicsArt - Photo Studio

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Top-notch photography app crams in professional functionality

Common Sense says
Teachers say (1 Review)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
9-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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5 images

Pros: Professional level tools and PC-level controls empower teens to excel.

Cons: Hardly worth mentioning.

Bottom Line: PicsArts – Photo Studio offers teens and adults extensive, flexible, real-world functionality in a tight mobile package.

This app is a great way to motivate students to seek out and desire some of those form, color, composition, and framing techniques that are best taught by a human teacher. Teens can enter thematic contests, be listed in the community as a artist, and post to Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, or the PicsArt website. If users choose to incorporate captions and callouts in Collage or Drawing modes, some language arts standards could be covered, for example, students might apply knowledge of language in different contexts (9-12.L.3), use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques (9-12.W.2.d), and use technology to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products (9-12.W.6).

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PicsArt – Photo Studio is a super powerful photography, image editing, and drawing app that's like Photoshop, Pinterest, Flickr, and a professional camera all rolled into one. There's really too much functionality to cover adequately, but here goes: camera with time lapse, burst, front and back views, effects, stickers, backgrounds, collage, drawing (on photo, blank, or background), thematic contests, photo search, Facebook integration (find friends, post), artists listing, networking with other artists (account profile, followers, notifications, followings, "memboxes," likes, suggestions for followings), and gallery of interesting recent, and tagged photos.

The terms of service require users to be at least 13; the terms also suggest that content may occasionally be sophisticated in nature, for instance with nude subjects, though none was encountered during this review.

 

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By browsing user-contributed photo galleries, networking with other contributors, and creating their own content, teens will experience and practice adult- and professional-level digital creation that could not only transfer to job skills but would be a significant resume item as well. Though tutorials and reference material are absent, teens will forge ahead capturing the world in their sights, imagining new compositions, increasing self-awareness, and developing confidence in themselves through contests and membership in an arts community. Drawing mode is nearly as amazing with enough features and controls to make it quite accurate with a stylus. Less artsy features like collage still offer enough options to keep hobbyists happy. Users get a refreshingly high level of control over storage options. 

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Overall Rating
4

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

User contributed photos are dramatic and enticing, collage and photo effects are fun, and design is mostly intuitive.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Plethora of real-world photography features and effects help teens develop career skills, as will browsing user-contributed photo galleries and networking with other contributors.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

While there is no tutorial or reference info, users are given a very refreshing PC-level of control over storage options. Users can take advantage of various sharing options and contests at their discretion.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Heather M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
This app is addictively fun and has infinite possibility for use in the classroom.

This app is one in which teachers can extend concepts into the visual realm, something I often want to do, but pass on because of the time it takes in class. using this app, students can easily create quality art projects to engage with literature in a different way. There are numerous ways to alter the image, and students can use found images as well as class and personal images. All of the effects are high quality and alter the image enough to warrant explanation from the students. This is a tool I can see being used in class once and permanently adopted by students for their own use.

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