Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ready to Print

Ready to Print was created by Essare LLC along with an occupational therapist. It aims to help teach pre-writing skills and incorporates a series of activities such as touch, matching, and pinching. Price: $9.99  While I don't factor in price in the ratings, as I leave that up to you to judge for yourselves, this is really one of the pricier apps I've seen! Is it worth it? 

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: This app was definitely designed with an educational eye. It has a very set progression with levels and a review. There is no doubt that this has educational intent, and can be used at home or in the classroom. My real question is: Is "writing" on an iPad with your finger the same as writing with a pen or pencil? I personally, don't think so. The activities here (see photo), are very basic - tap on objects, drag objects, move finger in a shape/line, etc. Sounds like to me, this is a "how to use an iPad" app rather than how to write. Having read about and been part of many usability studies, I can tell you that kids have a natural knack for using iPads. They are good at it, even at a very young age - yes, before they can write. So I'm not sure what this app really teachers them in terms of writing. It's just not the same. Even the pinching is not the same as the "pincher" grip for holding a pencil. Does this app teach things like how to follow directions, matching, and recognizing shapes and letters? Yes. Does it teach you how to write? I don't think so.  Rating: 3/5 (aim for around 3 years).

Balance: The games are simple enough and without distraction. In terms of usability and engagement, it seems designed for it to be used with an educator - the look of it, that there are no verbal directions, etc. A tutorial and other features to engage children would make it have less of a classroom feel, at least in the beginning. Rating: 3.5/5

Sustainability: Again I can see this being used by a teacher or professional, where they have a purpose in mind for the specific activities - not necessarily writing. Otherwise, I don't see kids asking for this. Rating: 3.5/5

Parental Involvement: There's a review feature, which is grab for teachers and parents. I think for parents, an explanation for how these activities relate to writing would be useful (there's a little of this on the website) so they know what to watch for and how to relate these activities to other ones in everyday life. Rating: 4/5

Total: 14 out of 20  = 3 stars

Disclosure - I received this app for free for review purposes.

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