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NGAkids Art Zone

Mindprint Rating

Tags

^Music, Art and Makerspaces K-8 iOS App

Skills

Visual Discrimination Visual Memory Spatial Perception

Mindprint Expert Review

Pros

  • The variety of art and activities will make this app appealing to children of a wide variety of interests and abilities.
  • App enables students to experience the effects of artistic techniques and spatial impacts.
  • Students can easily save and share their work.

Considerations

  • Although most activities are intuitive, the instructions for each activity are written in small font with no voice-over so younger students may need adult support at times.
  • The teaching about fundamentals is experiential rather than explicit. For example, students play with the color wheel but they are not offered a formal explanation.

Mindprint Expert Review

This is a phenomenal app from the National Gallery of Art to engage children of a broad range of interests and immerse them in some fundamental art techniques. The app includes eight different activities based on paintings from the National Gallery. Students can change backgrounds, add objects to the scenes, and change color palettes to create their own distinct imagery of famous paintings. For those who like dress up, there is a painting where they can change characters' dresses and hairstyles. Children who like animals will have an activity where they can add animals to the scene, adjust their size, and hear them make noises. Another activity allows a student to add George Washington dancing in a marionette format. There are directions for each activity along with an overview of the painting. Unfortunately, the text is small and specific information about paintings limited. However, this app provides a wonderful opportunity for students to enjoy famous works of art and experiment with fundamental elements of art including color, texture, foreground and background effects.

Academic Benefits

Improves academic skills

  • Provides sufficient and varied types of practice problems to maximize understanding and generalization of the targeted skill/concept
  • Manufacturer claims alignment with Common Core/Known Standards
  • Presents educational concepts accurately
  • Explains answers so students can learn from mistakes
  • Better for teaching the skill to new or struggling learners
  • Better for practicing or refreshing the skill
  • Skills are practiced through authentic, meaningful problems (not just rote practice)

Fun

Engaging for the Mindprint recommended age range

  • Appropriate for a broad age range to use and enjoy
  • Subject matter and problems are relevant, interesting and authentic to students
  • Visually appealing to children in the target age range
  • Provides virtual rewards or incentives after meeting specified goals or objectives
  • Provides a "break activity" between academic problem sets
  • Offers ongoing, progressive challenge
  • Overall - Enjoyable. Given the option, students would choose this option

Easy to Use

Understandable for children in the Mindprint recommended age range

  • Has a free or trial version
  • Provides teaching guidance for adults to support the child and set appropriate goals
  • Provides an age-appropriate tutorial/first time users can work independently
  • Student should be able to use independently after first use
  • Has a multi-player option to foster in-person collaboration or cooperation
  • Multiple users can save a profile
  • Student graduates to the next level or topic only after meeting a benchmark
  • Can play without sound and not distract others
  • Students can save work between sessions
  • Can effectively understand and monitor student's progress (email report or in product)
  • Provides options to play in languages other than English/Good for ELL
  • Presents information in multiple formats (voice over, pictures and text, etc.)
  • Overall - Easy to use

Cognitive Concerns

May not be advisable for students with the following cognitive needs

  • Fine Motor Skills
    • Requires challenging finger movements, motor precision or physical manipulation
  • Organization
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently
  • Visual Discrimination
    • Words used during activity can be too small or difficult to read
    • Visually distracting with too many pictures, problems or moving objects
    • Requires recall of text information without audio or visual reinforcement
    • Directions are visually difficult to read

Manufacturer Description

A Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award winner

The NGAkids Art Zone app contains eight interactive activities inspired by works in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, plus a sketchbook for freehand drawing and a personal exhibition space where users can save and display art created with the program. The child-friendly interface, easy-to-use tools, and the overarching emphasis on discovery, careful looking, and artistic self-expression make the NGAkids app educational and fun for the whole family.

Each activity offers various levels of complexity, making the app suitable for all age groups. It is optimized for ages 9 through 11, but younger children will find it easy to use at an introductory level. Teens and adults also will find the program entertaining and artistically motivating.

NGAkids activities are designed for children to use in a recreational, nonacademic context. They are not art lessons, although our programs are extremely popular in schools and are often used as an adjunct to the traditional curriculum. The low-key activities preserve a sense of quiet exploration that encourages artistic expression and creativity. This absorbing, self-directed interaction has a long-term impact. The fact that children are encouraged to figure out how things work and to mentor each other adds a unique dimension to the experience, one that engenders a personal connection to art that often lasts a lifetime.


SPECIAL FEATURES 

The NGAkids app provides an immersive experience as children visit a virtual art museum and explore a variety of works spanning more than 300 years of art history. High-resolution graphics, careful attention to detail, and exposure to a variety of subjects, painting styles, and techniques help convey an authentic understanding of the artistic process and reinforce their familiarity with the fundamental elements of art. Although these are not art games in the traditional sense, unexpected animation and surprising audio features enliven the program and help make learning fun for all ages.

There are 10 sections to explore:

• Portrait

• Landscape

• Seascape

• Still Life

• Action Painting

• Exploring Color

• Color Field

• Collage

• Sketchbook

• My Art Gallery

Works by a wide range of artists—including Edward Hicks, Fitz Henry Lane, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Mark Rothko, Josef Albers, and Robert Rauschenberg, along with several anonymous American naive painters—serve as inspirational models.

The National Gallery of Art is committed to producing quality children’s programming that provides informative, entertaining, and age-appropriate content for kids of all ages. We hope you and your children enjoy the NGAkids app, and we invite you to plan an in-person visit to the Gallery, where many of the original works of art that inspired this program are on display.