Review by Ericka D, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2019
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TapTapSee

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Utilitarian app IDs objects for kids with visual impairments

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
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5 images

Pros: In-the-moment descriptions of real-world objects; free and surprisingly accurate.

Cons: Lacks technical support; takes just a bit too long to complete an identification.

Bottom Line: While it could use some improvements, this is a useful, free app for helping students gain independence.

TapTapSee is particularly useful for encouraging school independence. Consider using it in life skills classes so that students can read food labels, use money, or get ready in the morning. Students with orientation, mobility, and visual impairments can use TapTapSee to navigate labels, objects, and signs on campus or in school hallways and classrooms. Students could also gain money management skills by visiting coffee or snack carts, selecting items, and paying for them. 

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TapTapSee is an assistive app designed to help those with visual impairments identify objects they encounter in the physical world. Start by double-tapping the screen to take a photo. TapTapSee then records any two- or three-dimensional object at any angle and speaks the description back to the user. For this to work, VoiceOver accessibility needs to be enabled on the user's device; this can be accessed through Settings.

TapTapSee features picture recognition that is processed and analyzed in approximately 10 seconds or less. Users can either take a photo or upload existing images from their camera roll. After identifying an image, users can share these results via text, email, or social media, or save it to other available apps on their phone. To speed things up, multiple pictures can be taken at once, and each photo will be analyzed and read aloud in sequence. There's also an ability to repeat an identification (but this just applies to last image recognized). Past versions of TapTapSee also analyzed up to 10 seconds of video. At the time of this review, however, this feature has been removed for improvements. 

TapTapSee is a useful, if basic, tool for supporting students with visual impairments. It's surprisingly accurate, although a tad slow, and seems to employ multiple cues before describing the object. Results can be mixed, but they're more often than not surprisingly accurate, down to things like text and brand names (e.g., "Mac keyboard"). Students will likely find it handy to improve their mobility in and around school and beyond. While the app offers little in terms of learning or extensions, it does promote independence and therefore learning opportunities. Still, it'd be interesting to see this tool grow and offer the recently removed video analysis, more repeatable identifications, and faster -- or even real-time -- performance.

Overall Rating

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

It's not exciting to use, but it gets the job done. Student may find it empowering, but the app lacks extras that'd make it more engaging or interesting to use.

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

It's dedicated to increasing independence for those with visual impairments, but there isn't much in terms of learning. 

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

It's so simple to use, there isn't much need for additional support. Still, there's no help at all. Some opportunities to extend learning would be useful.


Common Sense Reviewer
Ericka D Counselor, psychologist, or social worker

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