Apple’s recent moves towards making the iPad an even better educational tool have highlighted again the incredible scope there is for developers in the education category of the App Store. The introduction of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author has shown just how committed Apple is to getting iPads into schools, the market for education apps is only going to grow!
There is already a veritable ocean of excellent educational apps for the iPad, apps that make learning engaging, enjoyable, and exciting! Learning is something that should never be disregarded, many of these apps are perfectly suited for those who are now learning purely for enjoyment.
Get ready to be fascinated!
Ever been intrigued by the position in which we find ourselves, orbiting a ball of flaming gas with a motley collection of other planets in a perpetual dance? If the questions of the solar system have piqued your interest then Solar Walk is for you! The new version also presents 3D models of the most well-known man-made satellites like the ISS, Hubble, Suzaku, Envisat, and others.
It’s the first app to feature 3D TV Support, allowing Mars et al to be present in your living room…
Developer: Vito Technology Inc.
Sticking with the science theme for a minute, The Elements is a simply fantastic app that sheds light on the periodic table like never before! Experience the building blocks of our universe, with superb interactive features and a wealth of interesting information, The Elements is a great example of how engaging learning can be.
It also can take advantage of 3D, right on your iPad (although you’ll need to get yourself some glasses!).
Developer: Element Collection
Following on from The Elements, which is really a beautiful book recreated for the iPad, Our Choice is a superb example of an interactive book that looks into what we can do to solve the climate crisis. It pushes the bounds of what we think of as books, and I get the feeling Apple took a little, shall we say, inspiration from the guys at Push Pop Press.
It’s also a vital account of the causes of global warming that presents groundbreaking insights and solutions already under study and underway that can help stop the unfolding disaster of global warming.
Developer: Push Pop Press
An amazing and intriguing free app that allows you to view and manipulate molecules on the iPad, bringing you closer to the chemical makeup of our world.
It’s a great way to get hands on with science, I’m always fascinated by the intricate shapes and patterns!
Developer: Sunset Lake Software
Taking a different educational angle, Evernote Peek allows you to use a notebook to test your knowledge of any given subject using the ingenuity of the iPad 2’s smart cover. Lift the cover one segment to see the question, lift it further to see the answer, and lift it fully to see how you’re progressing.
The idea is simply brilliant, I found myself making quizzes for myself just to play with it! Unfortunately you will need an iPad 2 and a smart cover to boot.
Sticking on an unconventional tack for a moment, HowStuffWorks is a great free app that’s perfect for opening up in a spare moment and finding out something you didn’t know before. Adam Williams reviewed it and summed it up thus;
HowStuffWorks is a very informative and content rich app which offers an learning experience rarely matched. The articles contained within are very well written and reflect the company’s commitment to education excellence.
For those of you who read the introduction and were enjoying the roundup until this point, the first mention of maths may have stopped you in your tracks, but bear with me. Maths can be extremely useful in everyday life, and is an area in which may people struggle – the iPad can help!
MathBoard is an excellent app, aimed primarily at elementary school children, for teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. It’s an app that does this one thing well, giving you access to a multitude of settings and options but never losing sight of its ultimate goal.
Algebra Touch is an app that’s distinctly more advanced than MathBoard, perfect for anyone who struggles with the basic concepts of Algebra. The intuitive touch gestures allow a whole new way of interacting with this type of maths problem!
You can do things such as drag to rearrange, tap to simplify, and draw lines to eliminate identical terms. It has an advanced mode, but it would be awesome to see this app go even further – the scope for even more advanced problems is amazing!
Developer: Regular Berry Software
A powerful and surprisingly sleek looking app for delving deep into the world of math. The app features more than 120 topics and over 700 formulas – I’m imagining it’d be frowned upon in an examination…
The iPad interface has been designed specifically for the larger screen and even allows you to do calculations by hand on the screen!
Developer: Antonio Giarrusso
The TED app exemplifies the joy of learning in everyday life, and is aimed towards those who may not have a specific educational goal, but want to keep their mind buzzing with new ideas and innovation. A brilliant app that has a updated selection of TED talks available for viewing – with the option to download for offline viewing, watch something interesting next time you fly!
Unfortunately, only a selection of the talks are available, your personal favourite may not be there – on the plus side, it is free!
When it comes to historians, David Starkey is a polarising figure; people seem to love him or loathe him. However, his book in app form is a good example of the interesting things that can be done to bring history to life.
Kings and Queens enlivens the history of the British monarchy up to the present in unprecedented detail, with stunning clarity and colour, making use of the interactive abilities of the iPad. If history and royalty is an interest, or on the syllabus, then this is the app for you.
Developer: Harper Collins
A wonderfully detailed and educational collection of high-resolution historical maps. Intuitive controls and the sheer fascination of these historical artefacts make this a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience.
Do bear in mind that it’s a rather large app, you’ll need a good connection and space on your iPad. The upside is that they’re all available for offline viewing!
Developer: Seung-Bin Cho
National Geographic is as trusted a geographical source as you can get, and their app exemplifies their detailed and gorgeous approach to experiencing, and learning about, this earth. World Atlas HD utilizes National Geographic’s highest resolution, press-ready images, providing you the same rich detail, accuracy, and artistic beauty found in their award-winning wall maps and bound atlases.
It even integrates with Bing, allowing you to zoom right in to street level! For getting your head around continents and countries, there just isn’t a more beautiful way.
Developer: National Geographic
This app only actually contains information pertaining to the UK, but it is pretty fascinating. It’s essentially an interactive geological map of the whole UK, and lets you explore local geology, at street-level scale.
Find out about the bedrock beneath your house or the deposits nearer the surface – it’s intuitive and effortlessly educational.
Developer: British Geological Survey
As far as science goes, the App Store is positively brimming with excellent learning resources and engaging interactive experiences.
The Human Body app is a standout in this category because it’s overwhelmingly detailed and extensive, it’s an app that would be useful for anyone from a high school biology student to a trainee doctor! If you have any curiosity whatsoever about the physical body, and how it works, then this is the app you need to explore.
Developer: Dorling Kindersley
Now, before you say it, I will. This is an expensive app. It’s also a fantastically detailed interactive lower limb radiology atlas that could be invaluable for medical professionals and students alike.
While it certainly won’t appeal to everyone, Monster Anatomy is a masterclass in how useful the iPad can be in even the most complex educational fields. It contains 384 contiguous MR slices (4-5 mm thickness) in the three anatomical planes – if you understand that, perhaps it’s for you…
Developer: Monster Minds Media
Chinagram gives you an interactive way to approach learning Chinese. It shows off the scope of the App Store and makes a great case for how personally beneficial the iPad can be, learn Chinese by swooshing your finger about!
The way the iPad can allow you to practise characters and symbols is pretty unique!
Developer: Antonio Vallardi
Music should be a joy to learn and engage with, but often can become a boring chore. Capo is an excellent app that aims to help players master their favourite songs!
By slowing down the music without affecting its pitch, you can learn to play your songs slowly, and then speed them up as you improve. You can drop markers at key points in the song, and set loop points to repeat them. Capo is a fundamentally useful app for any instrument, allowing you to get the hang of, and eventually master, any song you put your mind to.
We reviewed The History of Jazz last May, and found it to be an awesome way to be taken through the birth and evolution of jazz with curated content and a stunning interface.
For getting involved in musicology and understanding the history, The History of Jazz is an excellent start. The use of detailed interactive content helps to bring the last century to life!
Developer: 955 Dreams
Many of you will already be familiar with Starwalk, its particular brand of educational enlightenment was touted in some of the earliest iPad commercials. I love the brilliance of the concept and the sheer wonder that Starwalk can induce in almost anyone.
While knowing constellations and the names of stars may not be on most curriculums, it’s certainly an educational experience.
Look out for a giveaway later this week!
Developer: Vito Technology
We reviewed Symphony Pro not all that long ago, and found it to be the best music notation app for the iPad.
It has many professional features that rival some high-end desktop applications. With its many input methods and notation elements, Symphony Pro is a must-have for any composer who wants to write on the go.
Developer: Xenon Labs
What Do You Use?
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – simply post a comment below! Are there any great educational apps that I missed? Which is your favourite from the list?