Having grown up in a household of educators and now with numerous friends who teach, I’ve quickly learnt the importance of educating students in new and exciting ways. It keeps information interesting and relevant rather than becoming potentially stuffy and staid.
There are numerous ways to ensure this but one of the latest and most exciting ways is that of Rover from iSwifter.
Rover provides cloud-based streaming through iSwifter’s technology, enabling iPads to stream Flash content alongside other useful education tools. Free to download, it’s targeted towards the K-12 education sector having partnered with education brands such as Discovery Education, Mathletics and Funbrain. Partnering with such brands immediately makes Rover an immensely useful resource of offering both fun and knowledge without the child even realising how much they are learning.
Fundamentally, it means that children can use a classroom iPad to access such content rather than be restricted to the PC.
The app is easy to set up and offers a firewall-friendly solution to work around existing IT systems in schools while still maintaining the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). It is worth mentioning that a Wi-Fi connection is required to use Rover even for those with 3G iPads. It’s a small requirement, however, for an immensely useful educational tool.
Using the app is similarly easy to get to grips with thanks to digital textbook controls including a D-Pad, visual feedback for finger taps and support for a split keyboard form of control. Rover can even be paired with SMART board interactive whiteboards for added functionality. Each cross section of schooling is viewable separately from Elementary School to Middle and High School.
With increasing numbers of teachers using iPads within the classroom environment, Rover ensures that children have the best tools to learn with and in a fun and safe environment, too.
Rover is available now for the iPad and it’s free to download.
Educators who use new technology in the classroom are awesome. I remember one of my journalism professors regularly using his iPad as a tool in his lectures. I thought doing so was an innovative and creative way of utilizing the at-the-time new device.
Vito Technology dropped us a line this week to let us know that its own apps are increasingly being used by educators and students in the pursuit of learning. The studio’s three apps, Star Walk, Solar Walk, and >Geo Walk, are being called excellent educational tools. News of the apps being popular educational tools, though, doesn’t come too surprising. I had played around with Solar Walk in particular and was quite impressed.
In particular, it seems the two astronomy apps have been the most useful according to feedback from educators.
Star Walk uses the iPhone and augmented reality technology to give users a new way at looking at the solar system – from the perspective here on Earth. Additionally, the app contains an amazing amount of astrology information, including information on stars and constellations.
“Students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy are among the many who are working with Star Walk. Seeing and learning about the night sky and the star systems in a highly interactive way creates immediate learning to many in a way that has never been possible. Through the time machine and search function, students can discover constellations in a way that was never possible before. Interactive education is a great way for students to learn, and this app delivers a truly interactive star system. Many educators are now introducing apps such as Star Walk into the classroom to enhance the education experience, and to keep students engaged and interested,” said Dave V of TopEducationalApps.com.
Solar Walk, meanwhile, gives users an up-close look at the planets of our solar system, along with other details of the galaxy, including satellites orbiating the planet, moons, solar systems and other phenomenon.
“Solar Walk gives your students a realistic look at the Solar System. The time machine feature is excellent and will help students visualize the changes in the Solar System over time. Let your students take a virtual field trip to the planet of their choice to explore and report back to the class about. Students can become astronauts and take a virtual “rocket” ride, flying to the planet of choice, getting an in-depth look at the planet, and exploring each of the planets moons,” said Smartlearning Teacher of Science at Priority Community School Weston Super Mare.
It’s exciting to see how the iPhone and apps like these are shaping the way students are learning today.
There was a vast profusion of cool stuff happening across the 148Apps network this week, but the top of the top was the culmination of our 2011 Best App Ever awards. Head honcho Jeff Scott writes, “It was an amazing year. With over 1.5 million votes cast (over three times the number cast last year) and a record number of nominations, we now have the winners of the 2011 Best App Ever Awards. Thanks to all that voted, nominated, and made these fantastic apps!”
Kid-friendly GiggleApps featured a review of Fun Clock-Learn to Tell Time. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “Few apps actually tackle explaining the true concept of telling time they way this app does. After watching the included video in Fun Clock – Learn to Tell Time, children will be will well on their way to understanding how to read a analogue clock. As a parent, I don’t think I could have explained this better myself, also wishing that this video had been around when I was a child.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-22 :: Category: Education
Finally, over at Android Rundown, Carter Dotson took a closer look at Apple’s recent iBooks education initiative and evaluated it for what it could mean for the Android platform. Dotson writes, “It may not have been the sexiest announcement, but Android supporters – manufacturers and users alike – should not underestimate Apple’s education gambit. Their big push into education with iBooks 2 being optimized for textbooks (both the reading and selling thereof) and iTunes U offering deeper integration with college courses could be the necessary roots they have to lay down for long-term success at the expense of Android.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-04-02 :: Category: Books
And that’s the week that was. Don’t forget to read a full list of Best App Ever winners at www.bestappever.com, and keep following us on Twitter and Facebook for all the contests, news and reviews you can eat. I’ll be playing Jetpack Joyride non-stop until next week, but I’ll see you back here then.
The developer of Geom-E-Tree is back with a new app that combines artwork with the dark art of mathematics. PolygonFlux works using geometric principles to create what are called fluxagons, designs that are formed by vectors bouncing off the insides of a polygon. Users determine the starting point, determine the angle that it will fire off at, and watch as fluxagons are formed. Equilateral polygons can be formed in a number of sides from three to fourteen. The number of bounces can be controlled by pinching in and out, and double-tapping to return to 300 bounces, as higher numbers of bounces can cause even the latest iOS hardware to lag under the weight of the calculations. Precise angle measurements can be made as well; by tapping or swiping on different parts of the screen, the angles can be adjusted in degrees, minutes, and seconds.
There are a variety of themes to use with PolygonFlux to add style to the fluxagons, including “Fat Binary,” which uses alternating white and black lines to look like the design from Eddie Van Halen’s guitar. Fluxagons can be emailed to other people, saved to the Camera Roll, or saved to an internal album to be called back up specifically. PolygonFlux is available now for the iPad.
I’m a big fan of apps that make people’s lives easier. All the better is an app that genuinely improves someone’s life, not just in terms of convenience but in terms of a significant and positive life change.
One such app for some parents is that of FindMe(Autism). It’s an app that’s designed to help young, autistic children practice simple social skills that many other people take for granted. Requiring no language or reading skills, it’s accessible to the vast majority of autistic children with access to an iPad.
The app is simple to play with the aim being to find a person in a scene and tap on them. As the levels progress, distracting objects emerge such as plants or animals thus educating the child to focus on their aim in order to be rewarded.
It sounds so basic but it’s something that UK broadcaster, the BBC has reported has helped many families. The app helps encourage the children to focus on other people and their needs while also boosting their self confidence and technological skills.
Autism is a very individual condition so there’s no guarantee that it will help every young autistic child but considering FindMe(Autism) is a free app to download, it’s well worth a look. It may well help hugely.
This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott welcomed the Kindle Fire into the tablet fold with an overview of his impressions of the device. Scott says, “…while the Kindle Fire is around 40 percent the cost of a base level iPad, it’s capabilities are even less. It just so happens that those capabilities match up well with what a typical consumer uses a tablet device for. Because of that, the Kindle Fire will be a strong competitive device to the iPad. When it comes down to it, it’s the cost that matters to a very large portion of the buying public, not the capabilities.”
Meanwhile, our sister site, GiggleApps, took a closer look at a new educational app for children, iLuv Drawing Animals. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “iLuv Drawing Animals is a nice choice for kids who are interested in learning the very basics of drawing cartoony animals that are cute and relatively easy to draw. I like how these illustrations are broken down into smaller shapes that kids will easily understand and have had experience with, and the narration is pleasant and easy to follow.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-10-10 :: Category: Education
Finally, on AndroidRundown, Carter Dotson announced the public availability of Google Music, an interesting development for all music lovers, no matter the device. Dotson writes, “Most importantly, this means that Google is now in the business of one of the big pillars of media, and it addresses a gaping hole in the Android Market. With videos and books already addressed, now the store is complete with music to go along with apps. Google is directly putting themselves in competition with iTunes, and they are making their operating system much closer in terms of features to iOS devices. This was a necessary move for Google.”
As we head into the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, remember that you can still enter to win an iPhone 4S, courtesy of 148Apps and Gameloft. To enter, just become a 148Apps and Gameloft Facebook fan – www.facebook.com/gameloft and www.facebook.com/148apps.
Or you can follow both of us on Twitter as well at www.twitter.com/148apps and www.twitter.com/gameloft. Then, write the following public tweet: “Upgrade to a 4S yet? Follow @Gameloft & @148Apps & RT for a chance to win an iPhone 4S! Gameloft gaming on the 4S: http://glft.co/uIR3Y1″
See you next week, true believers! Start thawing that turkey!
It’s tough to find new and exciting ways of educating children. Bringing subjects alive can make all the difference which is precisely where technology and, more precisely, the iPad can help. Courtesy of Emantras comes Frog Dissection and Cell and Cell Structure to make science that bit more interesting for middle school children.
Frog Dissection is a less messy and kinder to frogs alternative to the age old way of learning biology: dissecting a frog. The app offers vivid 3D imaging an helpful step by step instructions which help ensure that the app is an accurate simulation of the real thing. Interactive quizzes and plenty of information on the frog’s organs and an anatomical comparison with humans makes this an ideal tool for science fans.
Cell and Cell Structure continues the biology theme by teaching everything possible about cells, their structure and their functions. Attractive graphics keep things interesting and interactive flashcards and quizzes reinforce the knowledge.
They’re both out now. Frog Dissection is priced at $3.99 while Cell and Cell Structure is $1.99.
Perfect Pitch Piano teaches something that I’ve been trying to learn for years: to play the piano by ear. There’s a corny joke in there. Musicians still need their hands to play the instrument, not their ears, but Perfect Pitch Piano does go some way to teaching those interested to play a tune.
Basically, Perfect Pitch Piano plays a melody and then leaves the user to play it back. It’s a subtle teaching tool but one that should work well with practice. In its endeavours, Perfect Pitch Piano teaches users to learn all the fundamental building blocks of music playing such as intervals and timings.
Classic songs can be learnt through the app such as Amazing Grace, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb, ideal starting places for beginners.
Those a little more experienced aren’t left out, however, as they can adjust the key and tempo to make things more challenging.
On sale at $1.99, Perfect Pitch Piano is bound to be an ideal tool for those learning to play the piano.
We all know and have used the Encyclopaedia Britannica at some point. It’s a fantastic resource of information with an absolutely huge amount of knowledge contained within. What some people may not realise is that it’s over 200 years with the first edition having been released between 1768 and 1771 in Scotland.
Technology moves on however and while the Encyclopaedia Britannica is still available in book form (in its 15th edition), iPad fans will be thrilled to see that the app version of Encyclopaedia Britannica is just as useful for anyone with a great thirst for knowledge.
Providing over 80,000 carefully fact checked articles, all manners of different subjects are catered for. There’s everything from information on famous landmarks to statistics about skateboarding. Encyclopaedia Britannica ensures that its knowledge is always accurate thanks to an extensive list of contributors that include over 100 Nobel Laureates plus numerous subject gurus such as Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.
Information is provided through interesting mediums and not just via text with photographs, diagrams and charts plentiful. A LinkMap means that users can explore articles that are connected to each other through a dynamic view interface. There’s also a neat way of checking out what happened on the revelant day of the year at a glance which is the ideal way to set the brain racing off in a quest to gain more knowledge.
While Encyclopaedia Britannica is a free to download app, users who wish to gain the full benefits of the app will need to pay a pretty reasonable $1.99 a month subscription fee. For those not keen on paying, they do at least gain 100 free articles plus the first 100 words of each article as part of a taster of what’s available. Considering the web version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is a lot more than this, that’s pretty good value for money for a huge wealth of knowledge.
Encyclopaedia Britannica is available now for the iPad.
Most people are content to go through with their day-to-day activities without really considering how their bodies do what they do. It’s a complicated set of systems that keep us moving, and one that lends itself well to Edutainment. Which is probably why Helen Sell and frukti Games made Good Blood!
Players will embark on a first-person journey through the blood stream, learning about the circulatory system along the way. Of course, it’s not just about learning the ins-and-outs of blood cells and bacteria. There’s also gaming to be had, with viruses that need exterminating and wounds that need plugging. With white and red blood cells, naturally.
Curious about blood and they way it does what it does? Looking for a corridor styled “shooter” with a lot of blood (*rimshot*)? Then take a look at Good Blood!. Or at least check out the trailer below. This amalgamation of learning and video gaming is available in the App Store right now for $1.
As a female technology buff I feel especially bad that I didn’t realise it was Ada Lovelace Day on 7th October, a day that aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the first computer programmer. Way back in 1842 she translated Italian Mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s description of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Her fascination in Babbage’s work led to her developing an early form of computer programming thanks to her powerful mathematical mind. She tragically died at the young age of 36 due to cancer.
The reason for this history lesson other than to educate? There’s a light hearted app out called Lovelace & Babbage that aims to provide part entertaining comic book, part informative and educational tellings of their lives and experiences. After all, the best way to learn is to not realise it’s happening!
The comic book is consistently funny and intelligent in its portrayal and certainly makes for a great change from more conventional graphic novels. It’s a free app so an ideal excuse to give it a read. Users then have the option of paying $2.99 for further storytelling in the form of The Client. For those who enjoy it, there’s a new adventure coming out in early 2012 entitled User Experience.
Simple to use, this app opens up with a row of letters, A-Z, found on the top of the screen, which can be scrolled through with a finger, tapping a letter to choose. A window center screen is the focus here, where one will view these impeccably done letter videos. The background used can also be transformed with a tap to a number of vivid patterns, bold textures, or colors each unique to itself. An artist’s easel can also be touched to bring the player to a section of the app which allows children to trace the letter in question…
ABC for the Little Scientist for the iPad is a nice, interactive letters app with a science theme. Like other apps such as this, ABC for the Little Scientist consists of letters a to z, each illustrated with its own interactive page where one can tap the letter or word in question to listen to narration, here of either a male or female voice as well as to look for interactive hotspots. I like the fact that this app uses unique words not typically found in apps like this but instead tackles more complex ideas such as “connection” as in internet connection, this page including a roaming satellite and the earth from a view in space. A version for iPhone is also available.
Learning how to write a good academic essay is a vital skill for many students but it’s not always easy to learn how to achieve such great results. Enter an app by the name of High School Writing which hopes to help students learn exactly what they need to know to approach essay writing, right down to addressing college application essays.
The app, recently updated, includes ten major essays that students should learn. These consist of: Argumentative (Persuasive), Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, Descriptive, Expository (Informative), Five-Paragraph, Narrative (First Person), Narrative (Third Person), Opinion and Reaction (Response) Paper. Each essay type is vital for numerous different purposes so this app should cover all eventualities. It even goes onto teach students how to write the best college application essays to ensure that they know how to sell themselves appropriately.
Currently priced at $14.99 (regularly $19.99), High School Writing is one of the more expensive apps out there – however, its ability to teach critical thinking in such a simple way is priceless for those desperate to improve their grades.
High School Writing is available now. It’s an universal app with the iPad offering some great dual-viewing fields allowing for side by side comparison of websites for research purposes.
Realising that the world is a globe and thus in theory someone on the other side of the world is in the exact same spot as I am now is a very odd thing to get to grips with. Written down it sounds a little like madness so it’s no wonder that once upon a time people thought the world was flat. After all, if there’s no easy opportunity to travel the world, how could anyone realise that actually the world doesn’t stop at a certain point?
That brief, bordering on philosophical piece of rambling aside, Dig2China provides its users with the opportunity to see exactly where they would be if they were able to dig a hole through to the other side of the earth right that second. The phone vibrates as it ‘tunnels’ its way through the planet in order to surface at the other side.
Once the app pinpoints the new location, fun facts like the current time, weather and official language are shown plus there’s a Wikipedia link for further information. Dig2China makes for an ideal yet fun geography app for young and old.
Learning a new language is challenging work. Fortunately technology is around to make things a little simpler courtesy of apps like Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.
The app is aimed at those learning English as a foreign language, promising cutting edge features such as full sentence pronunciations and thousands of detailed graphics that aim to bring words and definitions to life.
In all, there are 58,000 example sentences that can be listened to with the option for either British or American voices. 183,500 words, phrases and meanings are explained clearly with an integrated thesaurus providing plenty of synonyms and lists of collocations. As the dictionary will explain, collocations are words that go together. See? Even as a first language, there’s a whole bunch of words that could be learned through this app!
Priced at $28.99, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is on the heftier side of pricing but it’s for a good reason. It’s a comprehensive app and one that a book of the same depth would be considerably more expensive. For those learning English as a foreign language, this is an invaluable resource.
It’s really quite easy to get words jumbled up, especially for those not 100% confident with their English language skills when it comes to writing things down. It’s not so much the obvious mistakes that are easily made but more the subtle ones. Things like spelling breach as breech or compliment as complement. Small and subtle but it makes all the difference. For those who are keen to ensure that such blips are a distant memory, an app like WordWit has the potential to not only educate and entertain in its mission to decode the secrets of confusing word usage and spelling.
Hundreds of misused words are paired with the incorrect entry with the user needing to figure it out for themselves. Simple explanations are offered for these variances to ensure that the differences are laid out obviously for those learning their way around the language. There are even handy mnemonics offered to ensure that the correct answer is remembered easily for the future. All of WordWit’s entries have been written from scratch by their team with even the quotes featured throughout carefully researched and chosen for the purpose of educating. The quotes themselves are frequently educational too which is always a benefit.
Crucially, WordWit maintains the fun factor with quizzes available to keep things entertaining as well as educational. The ideal way for any student to learn in particular. The quiz functionality isn’t the only way to learn though with the option to look up specific words or browse the selection too.
For the word addict, it’s also possible to suggest words that the developers may have missed out first time thus hopefully ensuring that they feature in future updates.
Fun and a way of learning something. What more could be needed in an app? WordWit is out now for $1.99.
I never get to visit zoos as often as I like as my nearest zoo is over an hour’s drive away. Throw in the expense of visiting and it’s just not as frequent as I’d like.
It’s a similar problem for the likes of my young cousins who don’t get to see animals anywhere often enough other than through the internet or books. Pocket Zoo HD won’t whisk anyone physically to a zoo but it does the next best thing by offering over 30+ live animal cams so that users can see creatures from all over the world.
Animals available to view include amongst others the cuddly penguin, the majestic tiger, the quirky meerkat and the fearsome killer whale. Pocket Zoo isn’t just about live cameras either with over 200 wildlife videos included as well as a virtual zoo with series of original animal illustrations. A string of facts are also included to educate young animal fans as well as real animal sounds.
Pocket Zoo HD looks like an ideal app to while away some time alongside younger relatives. It’s out now for the iPad, priced at $3.99.
Babies are fascinated by pretty much everything going. It’s no wonder too. After all, the world is an exciting and fun place to be in when you’ve never seen it before! While some technology is a little mature for little ones and the likes of Angry Birds might be out of reach for a few years yet, that doesn’t mean that babies can’t enjoy the iPad as much as any adult.
The latest app to help babies enjoy touch based interaction is Baby’s Musical Hands. It’s an app that features 15 brightly colored squares that babies can touch and interact with. Tapping a red square makes a drum sound while yellow plays piano notes and blue squares play a guitar noise. It’s the kind of fun that babies will instantly love, feeling that they can change so much with a simple tap of the screen. Every now and then, a touch produces a rainbow burst of stars also which will no doubt cause a giggle of happiness from any baby trying it out. The overall mixture of audio and visual feedback is bound to cause delight as well as inform babies just how useful interacting with things is.
Full multi-touch support is there so that the iPad can never be overwhelmed by the baby wanting to touch in a few different places. For a more quiet experience, parents are also able to either use the iPad mute switch or turn the volume down so that the baby can continue to enjoy the visual joys without the sounds that come with it.
Having been developed by a father, Owen Goss of Streaming Colour Studios, Baby’s Magical Hands is geared perfectly towards babies as they learn to interact with the world around them.
Finding the right school for your children is important business. So important that living in the right region can make all the difference. An app like GreatSchools Finder sets out to make this all a bit easier.
It’s an app for families in the US to find out quickly just how good their local school is and how it compares with other nearby schools. It offers over 125,000 K-12 public, private and public charter schools in the country using a 1-10 rating for each. Test scores are provided as well as over 900,000 parent and community reviews too.
Map features are on offer so it’s easy to see exactly where each school is located and numerous filtering options ensure that a parent can quickly view what’s relevant to them such as filter out certain grade levels or distance requirements. Once the right school is found, it can then be saved to a list of favorites for easy consultation and can be shared with others too.
GreatSchools Finder looks set to be an ideal way of taking out some of the hassle of finding the right school, and it’s available now as a free app.
Education is something that continues long into many people’s adult lives. So many professions now require regular accreditation and studying for certain qualifications.
This is particularly true in the health care, fitness, finance, education, law and engineering fields where things change so fast that regular retraining is vital for success and promotion opportunities.
There’s now an app in the form of Continuing Education Tracker which enables users to keep track of all their continuing education units easily. It tracks the specific course being undertaken, the relevant licenses and what budget is required for that time period. It’s all very easy to view from one screen and it’s also possible to email the information elsewhere.
It looks set to be a great way of keeping track of everything so that users can always see just how they’re doing on their respective course. It could certainly prove to be a great motivational tool as well as organizational.
Continuing Education Tracker is available now for all iOS devices and is priced at $0.99.
Fans of the kids’ favorite Dinosaur King TV show will be pleasantly surprised to see that there’s now an app to satisfy their interest.
Dinosaur King D-Team Adventures allows users to look through numerous interactive pictorials and play some games all based around their favorite characters. There’s 80 different dinosaurs in all to learn facts about them from physical data to name explanations so it’s even an ideal app for those youngsters just interested in dinosaurs, let alone the show.
Once the fan feels suitably knowledgeable on the subject, they can then partake in the Dinosaur Quiz King game in which they must answer 10 randomly determined dinosaur related questions and then be scored accordingly. There is also the Dinosaur King Around the World Game which offers an exciting twist on the trivia format.
Dinosaur King D-Team Adventures looks set to be an ideal app for fans of the show, and it’s available now for $2.99 for all iOS devices.
Everyone learns best through different methods. Numerous psychological studies have determined this and it’s amazing how much it helps to know what works for each individual. For those who work best by listening to their revision material, iVocAudio could be an ideal learning tool.
When using iVocAudio, users simply need to record their own Q&A pairs with the iOS device’s microphone and allow it to play back. It makes for an ideal revision tool for all kinds of subjects as it’s ultimately decided by the user what they want to use it for. The app also allows users to download existing files from the iVocAudio site which is particularly handy for those looking to learn another language. Multiple folders are possible so users can switch between subjects whenever they so choose.
iVocAudio looks to be a great tool for anyone who needs to learn something. Heck, you could even use it for more regular things like a shopping list or birthday reminder tool. The potential is pretty widespread.
It’s available now for all iOS devices and is only $0.99.
Check out the video below if you’re still wondering if it’s for you.