For those who have ever taken a Spanish or French class, you know that language learning can not only be a bore, but very challenging. But the rewards of speaking many languages exceed just that of being fluent in more than one tongue.
So, when I first stumbled upon Duolingo about two years ago, I was very interested. While I don’t remember how I exactly discovered the service, I do know that I am glad that I found it. And today, I’ll be reviewing its iPad app, which was released just this summer. Find out what makes Duolingo so great right after the jump.
When Tony Blair was re-elected back in 10 Downing Street on 7 June 2001 after a landslide victory for his Labour party, his first speech at the University of Southampton reiterated his top priority, “education, education, education”. In short, his speech highlighted his party’s commitment to investment and reform in Britain’s lagging education sector, which had suffered under the “neglect” of the Conservative Party. His speech, I believe, rekindled the public interest in education — and also became one of his most memorable soundbites. Although I don’t support the Labour Party or their principles, I do credit Mr Blair for awakening the dormant giant that is education — and it shows nowadays.
Almost every major technology company has a page of their corporate website dedicated to education, touting how their products will “change lives” and “enhance basic classroom activities”. Microsoft‘s, for example, demonstrates a variety of its products, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 8, whereas Apple opts for a more device-orientated page, touting how its products such as the iPad and Mac allow pupils to “tap into their potential” and have “inspired learners”. OK, so it’s a bit cringeworthy, but you get the point.
And now, there’s a new area to focus on: educational videos. Sure, we’ve all heard of the likes of TED and the Khan Academy — both of which offer excellent material — but now, there’s a new kid on the block that wants to give these two a run for their money. Mobento describes itself as a “video learning platform” which not only has an outstanding database of videos for your viewing enjoyment but it also allows you to search within videos for the actual words spoken. To help me understand a bit more about this amazing product, I spoke to Sumner Murphy, the founder of Mobento — here’s what he (and myself) had to say.
Cards on the table, I don’t practice my math skills as much as I should. After years of expensive education, I’ve sort of given up and figure I’ve probably forgotten all of those classes. Can I do multiplication anymore? What is division even? Addtraction is a thing, right?
That’s why I decided to give Sakura Quick Math a go. It’s a great app for brushing up my basic math skills as an adult, and it can even help kids who are still trying to get things figured out. I’ll see if it can set me straight and whether I can get back on track. (more…)
Growing attached to apps and services is something we have all done as iOS users — with Sparrow being a particular sore point. Difficulties can arise when developers attempt to improve upon their previous efforts in the name of innovation and improvement; however, as with Skitch, such plans aren’t so easily fulfilled. Therefore, upon hearing my favourite app of 2012 was being redeveloped, I listened with more than a little trepidation. As it turns out the team have released a brand new app filled with mind blowing audio and visuals, once again blowing my mind.
Again based upon Nick Risinger’s stunning cosmological photography, Sky Guide is the new iteration of Sky Survey — the most beautiful app in the App Store, until now. Like Apple, Risinger knows even the best products can be improved and with Sky Guide his team have brought a wealth of new material to give any astronomy enthusiast goosebumps. The idea may remain the same but there’s plenty of features to get excited about whilst scanning the Milky Way. Let’s take a look.
I became a vastly better student once I started using my iOS products to better my studies instead of allowing them to simply distract me. We are in an unprecedented digital age: the phones in our pockets and tablets in our hands are ten times more powerful than the computers that could barely fit on planes fifty years ago. And we have the power of the Internet.
A bit less than a year ago, I took a Spanish course at the university level. In Canada, our second language is French, and I haven’t had a lot of experience with Spanish. I quite explosively failed the course. You might be wondering why that makes me a good candidate to teach you about how to learn a language with your iPad. In all honesty, I’m going to tell you what I didn’t do, because what I did do certainly didn’t work. So let’s get started. (more…)
Our featured sponsor this week is Dinosaur Zoo, a fun and educational app to teach you about dinosaurs.
When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs. I had them as toys, watched them on TV and soaked up all the info I could about those giant beasts. But today, as a father of one (with one more on the way), I think about how fascinating these beasts were to me, and how I can pass on that info to my children. Now I have the answer.
On the surface Dinosaur Zoo is about roaring, biting, feeding, snarling dinosaurs in all of their glory. Open the app and you’re presented with beautiful moving images, like there was someone in the forest with a GoPro taking shots while the dinosaurs were roaming the Earth. But beyond the great imagery, there’s also a lesson to be learned. The images are all digital reconstructions, some of which have appeared in scientific papers. The Natural History Museum of Ireland even uses the app for educational purposes with mounted iPads in their displays. Now that’s some street cred.
But as you get deeper, you can learn where the dinosaur lived, what it ate and even what the world looked like when the animal wandered the planet. And if you think there aren’t enough dinosaurs built in to the app, just look for updates — new dinosaurs come in free “Dino Packs” that allow you to add whatever ones you want.
The app has won several awards, including Educational App of the Year 2012 by the Telegraph print edition, Kids App of the Year by App magazine and “What to Buy For Your iPad” in Apple magazine. You don’t get press like that without having something quality to show off.
Go Get It!
Dinosaur Zoo is just $1.99, and it’s well worth every penny. If you’re interested in dinosaurs, or you have a child who wants to learn more, go get it now!
Grockit, which calls itself the social learning company, specializes in collaborative online test preparation for those studying to take the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, SAT, ACT and other university-related exams. But now the company is expanding its vision with Learnist, an app designed to let anyone learn more about, well, pretty much anything. Think of it as the Pinterest for education.
Or for informative multimedia, at the very least, which you can curate on any subject, and also share with others. Click “more” to see what it’s all about. (more…)
As the App Store has swelled in size, it has become increasingly difficult to find those sparse gems — apps that can be a real treat to stumble upon. Sky Survey happens to be one of them. I first heard about the app while watching an episode of Horizon on the BBC iPlayer service and, utterly captivated by its premise and development, decided to track it down.
The cornerstone principle of the app is nothing new; in fact, you may have heard of Night Sky as an app that also details the many celestial objects on show above our heads. However, that’s where the similarities end. The end result of Sky Survey is derived largely from one man’s painstaking efforts to capture the Milky Way in unprecedented detail; an effort that has yielded some of the most breathtaking images I have ever seen. Stick around after the break to lose yourself in space. (more…)
It is now summer! You now have a whole lot of free time, right? Free time in which to do something productive. How about learning a language?
Normally learning a language would require college courses and hiring expensive tutors; well since it’s 2012, it’s about time to push into the 21st century with some very innovative language learning iPad apps.
We have assembled 10 of our most amazing apps designed for iPad that will enable you to learn your favored language this summer. So put on your learning cap and pick up your iPad and lets start our international voyage together!
Teacher’s Pet have brought to the iPad their first-ever educational iPad app, and it’s looking good. It’s a fun way to get youngsters engaging with that age-old problem – how to tell the time. First we had the sundial, then the hourglass, the waterclock and the mechanical clock. Now we have Wilfred, a friendly Wolf, to help us on our way. Let’s see what Teacher’s Pet and Wilfred have in store for us…