App Title: Depict
Grade Level: 4-12
Purpose: B Program Functionality: A Overall Educational Value: B+ Cost: $-Free
Recommendation: I swore my first review for IEAR would not be a game. However as I looked at apps for potential review this month, I kept coming back to Depict. If you are familiar with Pictionary, then you will understand Depict. When you launch Depict you can choose to play a Quick Match or with Play with Friends (which I will get back to in a minute). In an education setting, I would avoid the Quick Match as that throws you into a game with a variety of people that you have no control over.
In Play with Friends mode, if you have no friends available the game with throw you into Solo mode. In this mode, a drawing begins to be displayed on the screen. Along with the drawing, 4 to 6 buttons with the names of what the drawing could be appear. As the drawing progresses the player selects what they think the drawing is. If they are correct they get a point. Then they are presented with another drawing and so forth. The drawings are simple and most look pretty much like what I would draw. A potential pitfall is that people can draw what they want and something inappropriate could pop up. There is a whistle icon on the screen so that if it happens you can "blow the whistle" on that drawing. If it gets flagged twice it is pulled from the server.
When you choose to play with friends, you can set up a friends list and choose from those friends. Depict uses the Open Feint system, so I would recommend that teachers set up the names and accounts for the iPods in a generic fashion. The students then can select to play just with each other and not with just anybody out there. In this mode, the person whose turn it is to draw is given the word and begins drawing. Then the others are shown the list of word choices and make their guesses. When drawing you have access to a pencil tool, an eraser, and a color pallet of about 40 colors. Points are awarded to those who guess correctly and the artist if there are correct guesses. The first correct guess receives more points than the second and so on. The artist also gets the total number of points that the guessers receive. If no one guesses correctly, then no points are awarded. There is a time limit of 30 seconds per round. A game consists of 5 rounds and you can have up to 5 players, so all 5 would get a turn to be the artist. The artist with the most points at the end wins the game.
One other thing, the puzzles use words that, when drawn would look similar. Some of them can be a little difficult. For example one time I was supposed to draw wheat. The other choices were barley, grain and grass. I couldn't decide how to draw wheat different than barley or grass. Also I think students would need to read fairly well to know the words so I would probably recommend this game for about 4th grade on up.
Classroom Use Examples / Ideas: I think this could be a great tool for teaching spatial recognition and detail in the classroom. Students would learn to use space wisely for drawing. They would also develop skill in providing detail visually. I don't know that it would improve art skills but one thing I like about it is that all of the artwork looks pretty similar, so my terrible art skills aren't on display. I also like that this game rewards every one who makes a correct answer and not just the first, although being first does get you more of a reward.
Developer Website: http://makeshiftgames.com/depict/
Reviewer Name: Kelly Dumont Reviewer Blog: http://www.theeducationalmac.com
Other: I can't wait to play this on an iPad with that larger screen. I bet the developers can't wait either.
Hey, check out our Ning (Online Community) devoted to helping teachers utilize these devices to the their fullest. Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or have other creative uses for this app in the classroom, etc.