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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Crayola Art Studio/Core Learning review

We have LOTS of computer software. LOTS. I mean, my husband is a computer guy, so that's our thing. But this if probably the BEST software we've ever gotten.
Crayola Art Studio is one cool program. I could lose myself for hours and still not check out everything it does. And my oldest daughter did lose herself for hours playing with it. She's my non-techie child. Beyond Webkins she had no use for the computer...
Until now.
Now, she begs to play with "the art program". Even my littlest daughter begged for her chance to create something.
So what makes Crayola Art Studio so special? In this product, Core Learning has somehow managed to perfectly replicate 12 different art mediums and the effects they create on paper all on the computer screen. Crayons really look like crayon, markers like marker, watercolors blend and bleed like watercolors. It's amazing how realistic it looks. Some of the other mediums available are colored pencil, pastel, tempera paint, acrylic paint, and chalk, just to name a few. And everything is adjustable from the items them draw and paint with to the colors to the bit sizes as a few examples. There are also "stamps" available to augment your child's drawing, as well as pre drawn shapes like squares and stars, but even those are adjustable. A short video tutorial walks your child through everything and gets them ready to start creating. They can print everything they create (or as much as you can afford in ink cartridges for your printer.) This program is "awesome" to quote my daughter.
I don't think there are any negatives to this product other than the fact that at $24.95 it may be a little expensive for some people. But it is WAY cheaper (and cleaner) than the real products would be. Well, maybe another negative would be how much your kids will pester you to let them play with Crayola Art Studio :-).

Core Learning also sent us some demos for their other software. Taken from their website, here is what they have to say about their company, "Core Learning's mission is to provide effective learning solutions for the development of fundamental knowledge and skills. Its primary focus of skill development is in areas that both support higher order thinking but also provide important life skills. Products address key elementary and middle school curriculum areas in math, English language arts, health, art, and technology. Core Learning also publishes software to help develop critical thinking skills and maintain mental processing capabilities in young and mature adults."
Core Learning offers software for Math and Language arts which are very thorough, but a bit text-bookish. They also offered us a demo of their Health series. This is animated and offers a look at the human body from the inside out-a bit like Magic Schoolbus for the slightly older set. One character throughout the series wears a midriff shirt with her belly showing (yes, she's animated, but still I prefer more modest attire) and the animated characters have the look of teenaged Rugrats, so it's not my cup of tea, but the information was good and the short clips are interactive with quizzes interspersed in the presentation.
Most appealing to me is their Corefx software which takes the Crayola Art Studio to the next level and adds animation and photo editing. Technology Pathfinder for Teachers, 2005, said, "Powerful, yet easy to use, this all-purpose creativity program is better than Photoshop and KidPix combined. " We have KidPix and I can definitely vouch for Crayola Art Studio being better than that, so I'm sure Corefx is too. This may be one piece of software that is a must own in our household, and it's not often I'm asking for software :-).
The bottom line for me is that Crayola Art Studio is a MUST own for any homeschooler with children who like to put crayon/paint/markers to paper. Core Learning offers many other exciting programs too. All of them can be found HERE on their website, and many, like the Crayola one, offer free trials. Definitely check it out! And if you do, let them know on the demo request form that you learned about it here...I don't get anything, but it lets them know that the TOS Crew works.
To read other reviews on the same products by other TOS Crew members, go HERE.
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1 comment:

Julie said...

This looks really neat, I'm overwhelmed by the number of things you have to review.