We got an iPad a while back and have been trying out various apps–educational and otherwise– recommended from various sources.There are a TON of them out there and it can be overwhelming to sort through them all. Some proved more useful than others to us, and so I wanted to share our favorite educational apps with you. Most of these are either free or very inexpensive (like 1.99) though I did pay a bit more for one or two.
(I apologize for the lack of links. I will try to get to that as I have time, but I wanted to get this posted in time for the Homeschool Highschool Carnival))
iTunes U: we think this is hands-down the best, most useful app for high school level and beyond. So many free courses from colleges and universities worldwide, as well as offerings from non-university sources like TED, American Public Media, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and Khan Academy(to name only a few). Many museums and libraries have collections here as well including courses and podcasts (ex: Library of Congress National Books Festival Podcasts). In addition there are thousands of audiobooks available. We’ve listened to Poe short stories, Alice in Wonderland, and The Scarlet Letter among others. And it’s all free. Truly the future of education.
Star Walk: Oh, my goodnessssss!!!! Point your iPad at the sky and get an interactive star map that tells you exactly what you are seeing, including names of stars and other objects, and beautiful ghost-like images of constellations. You can also track satellites (is that the International Space Station that just went by??? ) Want to find Saturn? How about the M9 globular cluster? Just type it into the search feature follow the arrows that point the way. And there is so much more! Love this app!
POMT: (Stands for Powers of Minus Ten.) this nifty app lets you zoom in on a human hand to see the cells, cells structures, and even molecular structures that make us who we are. Check out cells undergoing mitosis, take a quiz on cells structures and functions, watch DNA being replicated and proteins being synthesized. If you have a middle-high school student studying cells, this app is a fantastic addition and beats dry textbook illustrations by a mile!
Barefoot Atlas: this is one of the few apps on which I spent more than a buck or two, and it was well worth it. It’s a beautifully (if you are familiar with Barefoot Books you know it would be gorgeous) illustrated, interactive world atlas. Spin it around and see what you can find! Tappable and highly interactive, with photos, music, and lots of links to find out more. It is geared more towards grade school age (JBug loves it) but even Sam has been sucked into it’s playful interface and wealth of interesting info. Love this one.
Tap Quiz Maps: Simple but effective. Choose your region and you get a quick quiz on identifying states/countries. Has been very useful for JBug to practice learning her states. Sam has had fun testing himself on his knowledge of other countries (now which one was Slovenia again?).
Stack the States: This one is a little tougher than Tap Quiz maps because it asks questions about cities and capitals and such, but it adds an element of fun because you have to drop and stack states to reach a goal to move on. There is a Stack the Countries, too, but we don’t have that one yet.
Fotopedia: there are several free Fotopedia apps focused on specific countries or regions of the world (China, France) as well as National Parks and Worldwide Heritage sites. Gorgeous photos and interesting articles make for a pleasant way to travel and see the sights for those of us who can’t spring for the actual thing. (We also like the Fotopedia Wild Friends app, which has great photos of animals.)
PUZZLES AND MATH:
Tinkerbox: Get the ball to roll into the cup. Sounds easy, and it is…at first! Fun spatial reasoning/problem solving challenges. We all like this game.
Escape: another puzzle game to flex the brain. Little guy has to hop along all of the dots in a maze-like pattern without back-tracking. Easier said than done!
Monster Physics: for the middle-upper elementary crowd. Another problem solving challenge game, with fun physics elements (such as magnetism) thrown in for a neat twist. Build contraptions and watch them work, go on missions. Who wouldn’t have fun learning with this?
Marble Math Jr (and Marble Math):If you have kids from pre-K to middle school, get these games! Roll your marble around the maze to collect the correct answer to simple math problems. Fun way to review those facts without drill! JBug will happily play this game for hours.
Rocket Math: another alternative to drill and kill. Solve math problems to earn parts for your rocket. Build, launch, and go! JBug likes this, but not as much as marble math.
Sketchbook Pro: Make beautiful digital art with this amazing app. I have not even begun to explore all of the many features available. Like “Paint” on steroids.
123D sculpt: Now this is cool! Choose a basic shape (from blocks to human figures to animals to cars, and more) and use the tools to sculpt and decorate to your heart’s content. It’s virtual modeling clay!
Falling Stars: incredibly simple and yet somehow utterly captivating. Make pretty music as stars fall on leaves and vines you have planted. Mesmerizing.
Presidents vs Aliens: sounds silly, but it is actually a really tough game. Answer questions about presidents and then use their heads to smash aliens! If you know your presidents you will do well. If you are like me and somehow missed that in school, this game is a real stumper. But hey, I can learn as I play, right? And those president Fandex cards I’ve had lying around forever? Very helpful for cheating.
JUST FOR MOM:
Evernote: I haven’t even begun to use this to it’s full potential, but it is very handy to be able to make my shopping lists on my computer or iPad, and then retrieve them on my iPhone while I am at the store.
Whole Foods Market Recipes: we don’t have a whole Foods here, but I love to use this app to look up recipes based on what I have on hand. Great tool.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Please leave recommendations for your favorite apps in the comments. Lets share!
And visit the other fascinating posts in the Homeschool High School carnival!
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