RelationShapes by VizuVizu is a must have app exploring spatial relations in accordance with Yaacov Agam’s Visual Education Method. Y. Agam is a sculptor and proponent of kinetic and optical art. His visual training method with preschoolers encourages the development of visual memory through direct experience. Visual memory influences praxis, fine motor performance, and general problem solving – It makes “Oh, I See” literal! RelationShapes provides over 300 puzzlers divided up into eight levels of difficulty ranging from an early introduction of spatial relationships to multi-shape combinations that reinforce orientation, constancy, and memory. Some of the puzzlers are presented with just a momentary view, with the expectation of reproducing the design from memory, and WOW what a challenge that is! Each level consists of 2 games. A “Match it” or design copy and an invitational “Picture It” to openly play and experiment with the shapes to create pictures and reinforce learning by doing. There is a stellar parent/teacher area, that readily displays a child's progress - including their creations from "Picture it". On opening the multi-touch screen is split, and the task is simply to match the image on the other side. I love the fact that neither side is static, bringing each side to life. Visually crossing midline helps with the smooth and coordinated ability to shift eye-gaze, which aids with skills such as reading and writing in the future. Kids can choose which side to copy, and if you were to add another child or companion to the mix, designs have all sorts of possibilities for collaborative play and language development. Each shape can be resized, rotated and can even overlap or be placed inside another. If you get the correct placement and size of a shape in synch, it will snap in place with a white outline letting you know that you have figured it out. Once both sides look the same applause and praise come with a gift of stickers to decorate and make pictures out of the shapes you’ve just matched. This is perhaps my favorite part of the app as it puts abstract concepts into practical life experience. I do wish that the applause could be toned down as the game is reinforcing in itself. It would be nice to simply start playing with the shapes and a new sticker right away. The activities provide preschoolers with the opportunity to learn more about the world around them and how things are constructed. RelationShapes works on skill sets of visual & spatial reasoning as well problem-solving abilities that are an essential part of cognitive development. We rarely realize the impact of visual manipulation. What appears to be simple, like identifying and playing with shapes is proven to better prepare a youngster for later learning, especially in mathematics. Another feature that is an essential foundational skill is learning cause and effect, RelationShapes gives multiple opportunities for a child to "play" with this concept and be in the driver's seat making their own decisions of where to go and view the results. In summary we loved RelationShapes! It is a Top Pick and a Best of 2016. With its ability to grow with a child as well as being directly applicable to every day life and learning, we applaud those at VizuVizu! This is an app to be placed in every OTs and teacher's toolbox. BACK STORY shared by Kiersten Zimmerman: At VizuVizu, we focus on the often overlooked areas of visual learning and spatial intelligence. Growing evidence reveals that spatial skills in preschool are predictive of elementary math skills, creativity, and future STEM achievement. RelationShapes is the first in an envisioned series of digital products based on the award-winning visual education method created by Y. Agam, a world-renowned pioneer of kinetic art. The Agam Method was researched with positive results in early childhood classrooms and includes topics such as shapes, patterns, directions, symmetry, and more. VizuVizu is a collaboration between Y. Agam and the Kadar family, among its portfolio of educational ventures. Our mentors are the children who regularly participate in our development process through extensive play testing and feedback that continues to inspire and guide us. We take privacy seriously and make COPPA compliant apps. Please visit www.vizuvizu.com to learn more about us and our approach to playful learning. RelationShapes is based on the UNESCO-winning visual education method created by Y. Agam, a world-renowned pioneer of kinetic art. Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.
Written by Jo Booth
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.
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