Tapikeo HD

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
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Creative tool great for making personalized stories, games.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn memorization and vocabulary skills by reading and hearing the words and sounds associated with photos with Tapikeo HD. Exploring the available grids opens up a wide range of subjects, such as animals, numbers, health, and jobs. Tapikeo HD also empowers adults to help kids create their own, completely personalized photo stories or games; the app is challenging for kids to navigate on their own. Parents and educators can draw on the Augmentative Alternative Communication starter pack for students with special learning needs. With help from a grown-up, Tapikeo HD becomes a powerful and creative tool for customized learning.

Ease of Play

Tapikeo HD is not immediately intuitive, so users need to read the tutorials and practice a while to fully utilize its wide range of functionality and features. A guide for parents and educators gives an overview and tips for use, with additional help buttons on each page. Instructions are largely text-based, and kids will likely need help from adults to play, edit, and create grids. Additional features include the ability to link pictures and jump to other grids. Users can also export grids for sharing in HTML format or with other Tapikeo users. When enabled, the locking mechanism prevents young kids from editing or exporting grids or adjusting settings. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Users can purchase groups of additional grids for $0.99 for up to 10 grids. Users must tap five times quickly to unlock purchases, so younger kids are prevented from purchasing. There are also many grids available for free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tapikeo HD is a tool for creating stories or games with a group of photos and recorded sounds. Photos appear in grid format, and users can tap on a photo to hear the associated sound and read the text. Kids can play the photos in order to hear a story or play a game matching photos to their sounds. A few grids come with the app, and many more are available for free download or in-app purchase. Adults (and kids with adult help) can also create their own grids by selecting or taking photos, adding text, and recording their voices or sounds. Tapikeo HD's features of linking photos and jumping between grids make it useful tool for educational purposes, particularly for students with communication-related disabilities, but the app does not measure or track progress.

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What's it about?

In Tapikeo's play mode, kids tap on photos to hear sounds and possibly read along with the story. When kids play "shake it," they hear a sound, then pick the matching photo. Kids can view and scroll through all of their grids in the grid manager. Users can edit exiting grids or create their own. Kids will add photos from their camera or camera roll, then record sounds for those photos using the iPad's microphone. Users can also download additional grids on many topics, from the alphabet to weather.

Is it any good?

Tapikeo HD is a good tool for parents and educators to use to create stories. It's not as intuitive as some other photo journal apps, but its extra features make it stand out. The ability to link pictures and make a grid into a game adds new elements of challenge and fun, in addition to making it useful as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tool for students with disabilities. The locking feature also makes the app pretty safe. Parents can work with kids to create stories together to foster creativity, but the multiple steps and sometimes clunky interface make it hard for young kids to use alone. The available grids do an excellent job modeling the different types of grids users can create, but unfortunately do not showcase a lot of diversity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Add text to your grids and spell the words aloud to reinforce new vocabulary.

  • Create grids that build on one another (i.e., one that introduces new words and a second that uses those words in context).

  • Take listening skills into the real world by having your kids close their eyes and guess objects based on sound.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love storytelling and journaling

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