Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Guest Blogger! ArtSee Studio iPad App & ArtSee Studio Case

One advantage of working in a school system is there are often very talented veterans I get to rub elbows with and learn from. Donna Swahlan, is one of those veteran Occupational Therapists. She works with our pre-k students, and is an endless font of wisdom. When asked if she might like to write a post she came back with the following:

Purpose of App:
ArtSee Studio is basically an art app that allows children to draw, stamp, move objects, make
use of various “themes”, and apply sounds to artwork. It also has Activities and Games including Odd One Out (think about the question, Which one does not belong?),  Association (Which items go together?), Coloring, and Connect the Dot activities. It may be best suited for children 2.5-7 depending on what features are being used and the child’s skill level.

The app is free on the app store (with some in app purchases) and can be used independently.  However, additionally, there is a plastic “case” that can be purchased here for between $10 and $20.

Tools (Digital tools in the app and also physical tools in the case):
  • Doodlee: (Green and Black Stylus) A drawing tool that can be used like a traditional crayon, marker etc, but can also be used horizontally on its side to add textures to a picture.
  • Stampee: (Purple Star/Flower shape): Stamp down with this tool to add characters and objects to artwork.
  • Funnee: (Long Orange rectangle shape): Allows user to change the theme. Themes that come with the app include Vehicles, Safari and Underwater.
  • Pointee: (Green Arrow shaped tool): Allows the user to move (run, jump, drive etc) and create a path for the object being moved. This tool draws a dotted/dashed pathway as the tool is moved and once the tool is taken off the screen then the object (like the vehicle or animal) moves and follows the drawn path.
  • Rollee: (Blue smaller rectangle shape) allows user to add background art and patterns to the artwork.
  • Melodee: (Pink Music Notes) Allows user to add sound and animation to the various stamped objects.

Additional Features and Possibilities:
A user can import photos into the app and use these as part of their artwork. An example of using this feature is to take a full body picture of a child, import the photo and then have the child “draw” himself on top of the photo. The children I have done this with have LOVED this! Additional thoughts I have had about possibilities include taking a photo of an object such as a table and have children move objects on, under, next to the table. Take a picture of a toy garage and move the digital vehicles into the garage teaching perceptual, space and directional concepts and supporting the language goals of our speech therapy friends. You get the idea. Really the possibilities are potentially quite endless.

The app has typical features for saving to a library, sharing by email (could be used to possibly send work samples to parents or to therapists data files), printing, and submitting to a gallery.

Additional Fairy Tales Theme is currently .99 (in app purchase)

  • Honestly the reason I bought this case and then downloaded the app is because the stylus (Doodlee) is excellent for preschoolers! I love the shape, size, weight, length, and feel of it for this group and their little hands. A plus is that once you have this stylus you can use it with any other child friendly I-pad app that requires or allows use of a stylus. I think probably kindergarteners or older children with delays who are still working on grasp would benefit from making use of the stylus. I like it so much that if I can, I plan to look into purchasing an additional stylus.
  • If the case is purchased, the physical tools fit and snap into the case.   These tools are very nice for promoting the use of a pincer grasp as the user removes the tools by grasping the handle. For children with weak finger strength, they need to apply/use some finger strength but not an excessive amount. These same handles are very nice for continuing to promote a pincer grasp while the child is actually using the tools.  The tools are moderately secure when they are not in use.
  • The case comes with a stencil that can be used for teaching shapes. It is in the back of the case.
  • The app offers a really nice way to work on prewriting stroke development by drawing vertical, horizontal or circular strokes while having interesting and motivating objects, shapes or visuals on the screen.
  • The case has a fold out panel on the back so that a user can angle the case, much like an Occupational Therapist would use a slant board. This promotes wrist extension in children who are still developing it. I have not actually used this slant feature, so I am not sure how stable it is.
  • If you purchase and use the case, the case covers the home button on the I-pad so that a child does not or can’t leave the app. This can be something to consider during therapy or teaching sessions. Actually one could use the case with different apps when it is advantageous to have the home button covered.
  • I think it is a good value for use with younger children, especially in a supervised or guided session.

  • Some of the Amazon reviews say that the app is not intuitive enough. I did have to play with it a bit to get used to some of the features. It is not really that difficult though and the case does come with written directions (the papers are inside the back of the case).
  • Other Amazon reviewers claim that it is easy to lose the small tools. This is not an issue for me, as I will only be using it in supervised settings.
  • It is a bit bulky to be carrying around as a therapy tool, but I think it is still worth it. Additionally, I can just carry around the stylus, Doodlee, and use the stylus with the app without having to always bring the case for all of the kiddos therapy sessions.

Questions or Comments:
Donna Swahlan, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist,

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