The other day, this article popped up in my reader (really! I think they were recycling their content). It is from August 2009, and it is a list of 100 iPhone apps for education. It got me thinking, because I don’t use an iPhone. I really have nothing for or against iPhones. I use Verizon and when I bought the Android phone I have, it was the only smartphone for Verizon.
In the end, I love my Android (a moto-droid currently) and have no desire to purchase an iPhone now that it is available. But I still want some educational apps. In fact, a year and a half later,I wonder how good the list will be for Android apps? Without further ado, here is my attempt to create a list for the Droid. Why 53 do you ask? Because 53 is a prime number, and I like prime numbers. Here are my criteria for selection.
1. Must be free. Yes, I know that will immediately kick out a ton of VERY good apps. But I want a list I can give my learners, and I will never ask them to pay for something.
2. If I don’t use it myself, it must be highly rated (3.5 stars at least) by over 500 people. This will shove out the new apps that have 35 pp who rated it a 5 star, I know. But it is the only way to ensure a representative sample of ratings. [I break this twice with good reasons below]
The list is after the break.
Brain & Mental exercises
- Math workout – a game to do math problems and work the brain!
- Words with friends – a Scrabble™ like game that allows you to play with friends
- Soduko Free – I use this, the easy are easy, and the hard are very hard!
- Slice It – another game I actually use. Tough at the higher levels to visualize the size of areas and slice them into equal sizes.
- Reversi – this game has always frustrated me. I have tried to study at strategy for it, and have always failed. This is a very simple and yet complex game of thinking ahead.
- Find next number – a game that appears simple, just find the next number. They get harder though. Much harder.
- Chess – is another strategy game that keeps you on your toes. This one has 10 levels of difficulty.
Flashcard and Reference programs
- Study Droid Flashcards 2.0 – It syncs with studydroid.com, so you can pull sets of flashcards directly from there.
- SAT Vocabulary – this app has over 4900 SAT words to use for your SAT prep needs.
- Science Facts – has thousands of science related facts.
- Chemistry Helper – for those darn hard to remember chem facts.
- Periodic Table – this is a great version of the periodic table. Lots of details and drill down info.
- Formulas lite – has physics, chemistry and math formulas for you.
- Math Formulary – has lots of formulas for mathematics and goes beyond Formulas Lite. it is also in several languages, if you search.
- French Verbs – my wife is a French teacher, this is something she would recommend.
- German Verbs – same company as the French version, but I learned German, so I like this better!
- Spanish Verbs – yes, most learners are taking Spanish now a days, so I can’t leave them out.
- Brilliant quotes and quotations – is a very highly rated program for quotes. Over 2000 quotes from 150 different people.
- Dictionary.com – an app that serves up content, including thesaurus from Dictionary.com’s site.
- Wapedia – an app for accessing Wikipedia and more, with a focus on speed of access.
- Wikidroid – another app for accessing Wikipedia, although this one focuses on good formatting for your phone instead of speed.
- Spell Checker (+voice) – an app that will check the spelling of a word. It also accepts the word by voice command! Very handy.
- FactBook – the CIA’s World Factbook. This is the free, ad supported version, but the ads are not in the way. Handy to look up a fact when you need to!
- Today’s Documents – the National Archives and Records Administrations official app for a document a day. Yes, I violated the “must have 500 ratings” for this app, but it is totally worth it. Very new app.
- We The People – an app that does not violate my terms that does a similar thing. More focused on the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc.
- Google Earth – because when you honestly need to know where something is, you can just find it on the map. I love it!
- Google Sky – because sometimes you just have to know the name of that star or constellation!
Math and Calculators – Since I am a math teacher, this will be the biggest section. I teach AP Statistics, as well as algebra, so there is going to be a large and diverse assortment of stuff here!
- Andy-83 – HANDS DOWN, the best graphing calculator for your Droid. Why? Because it is identical to the TI-83, which most learners know how to use.
- Andy-85 – the TI-85 calculator
- Andy-86 – the TI-86 calculator
- RealCalc – because sometimes you just need a quick and dirty scientific calculator. Very fast on the load and very very useful.
- HandyCalc – another graphic calculator. This one is very nice, but you have to learn how to use it.
- Aleo Graphing Calc – still another graphing calculator. I like this one as well, although again, you have to learn how to use it.
- Fractoid – because everyone loves fractals! This does the Mandelbrot and Julie sets.
- StatDist – a statistics program to calculate z, and t scores, among other things.
- QuickStat – another stats program.
- NormStats – yup, another stats program.
- Smart Protractor – for when you need that angle measured!
- Smart Ruler – for measuring small objects with your phone and camera.
- Smart Measure – uses trigonometry to measure the height and distance away of an object.
- WolframAlpha Quicklaunch lite – the free version of WolframAlpha. The best place to get schooled on math! It will solve equations for you! This is just a shortcut to the website, but I wanted to keep the “free” thing going on.
Productivity and resource programs – There will be a small amount of duplication here, just because some of the programs do slightly different things. Evernote and Springpad come to mind. Try them, find which one you like best.
- Evernote – your life on your phone. Everything organized and accessible from anywhere. What’s not to like.
- Springpad – similar to Evernote, but it also allows you to scan in barcodes and store things that way, in addition it has voice notes (recently added feature).
- Gtasks – I use this to sync my Google Tasks with my phone. Very quick and handy way to have my todo lists constantly synced.
- Homework – an organizer for your assignments. Does not meet the 500 ratings threshold, but it has the most ratings in this category. The rest are either paid apps, or less than 40 ratings. Honestly, I would use Evernote, Springpad, or Gtasks for this instead. Some people like a dedicated app though.
- InstaFetch Lite – Instapaper is a way / service to save webpages for reading later. InstaFetch allows you to read your Instapaper account through your phone. Great if you commute on a bus or train, or just have lots of downtime between classes!
- Gmail – of course, you have to have the most recent version of the Gmail app. Love it!
- Google Reader – I follow around 250 blogs and feeds every day. This app allows me to keep up with them from my phone so whenever I have some free downtime, I am reading about teaching or technology.
- CamScanner – I LOVE THIS APP. Someone does a huge lecture on the whiteboard. I walk up, take a picture with CamScanner, it corrects the skew, saves the image as PDF or JPG, and shares it with my Dropbox. Enough said. Install it now.
- DropBox – install now. Do not wait, do not pass go. Every file I have backed up and synchronized across 5 computers and my phone. 2 gigs for free, but if you use this link, you and I will get an extra 250 megs of space.
- Tweetdeck – it seems weird to put an app that allows you to follow social media on a list for productive software, but given how much I have learned from fellow teachers on twitter and facebook, it has earned a place on the list.
- Barcode Scanner – software I use most often to scan barcodes, QR codes and the like. I use it in class as well as when I am in the store looking for something.
- WordPress – because managing my online life is just as important as managing my offline life. The wordpress app allows me to post to my blog directly from my phone. Obviously, something as complicated as this list was not done on a phone, but simpler posts are.
That’s it! 53 FREE apps useful for education. There are a TON more. If I included paid apps, I easily could go to 100. Just creating this list has shown me the power of the Android platform. I hope you will find it useful too.
If you have any terrific apps, add them in the comments below. I would love to see what I missed.