Smartphones and tablets and the apps that go with them can have a reputation for being time wasters and distractions, but they aren't just for games or social networking. In fact, these technologies are becoming more and more common in the classroom due to the wide range of educational opportunities they offer. There are so many educational apps available that there are whole sections dedicated to them in online app stores.
From apps that help younger students to grasp the basics of literacy and numeracy to those that enable older students to prepare for final exams, there really is an app for everything. Here we take a look at some of the top educational apps on offer for primary and secondary students.
Britannica Kids allows children to explore specific areas of interest through a series of different encyclopaedias. They can read up on rainforests, Ancient Egypt, volcanoes, the solar system and more. Each encyclopaedia has its own app, featuring images, videos and interactive learning games to add to their reading experience. Availability: iPhone/iPad $5.49 to $7.49, Android $1.92 to $5.48.
Designed for students in Years 2 to 6, Quick Maths helps kids improve their general maths skills through mental addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or mixed operations. The app also helps students develop pre-algebra skills through calculating unknown values and inverse operations. A great feature of this app is that your child can track their progress over time.Availability: iPhone/iPad $1.99.
Reading Eggs Spelling Games
Developed by Australian primary educator Del Merrick, Reading Eggs Spelling Games allows your child to practise their spelling in a fun and interactive way without being confused by American spelling, which features in many other spelling apps. Apps are available for students in Years 1 to 6 and each features 10 spelling games to reinforce different literacy skills, such as proofreading, vocabulary, encoding and plurals.Availability: iPhone/iPad $2.99 (Lite version is free).
From the creators of Sesame Street's The Monster at the End of This Book comes Endless Alphabet, where monsters help kids learn the alphabet and build vocabulary through animations and puzzles. Kids choose a word from the glossary, spell it out by dragging letters to the correct place and watch as one of the monsters acts out the definition. Availability: iPhone/iPad $7.49, Android free (more content available for purchase).
Interactive Telling Time
Interactive Telling Time teaches kids to tell time on both analogue and digital clocks with colourful animations and music. It is designed for ages three to 12, with a number of different difficulty levels to suit all abilities. Availability: iPhone/iPad, Android $2.99 (Lite version is free).
National Geographic World Atlas
Great for assignment research, the National Geographic World Atlas provides up-to-date information on every country and capital city in the world, including socioeconomic data, demographics, weather and currency. The app offers three high-definition world maps sepia, classic and satellite as well as street maps provided by Bing. Availability: iPhone/iPad $1.99.
Evernote is your child's one-stop shop for organisation and study, with the ability to take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, set reminders and record voice memos. They can also search through previous notes, including text that appears in images, which is perfect for adding photos of study notes. Notes can be synced across computers and other devices for viewing anytime. Availability: iPhone/iPad, Android free.
Flashcards Study with Mental Case
Cardboard index cards are a thing of the past with Flashcards Study with Mental Case. Mental Case allows your child to create their own custom flashcards with text, images, audio and video. Alternatively, they can download premade flashcards from the web. With the ability to sync between devices, they'll always have their notes by their side, meaning they can study anytime, anywhere. Availability: iPhone/iPad free.
A cheaper and less bulky alternative to your usual high school calculator, the Graphing Calculator app transforms your child's tablet or phone into a fully fledged graphics calculator. This allows your child to graph multiple equations, which can then be sent to their computer via email. It also features an expanded scientific calculator and custom keyboard to help input equations more quickly. Availability: iPhone/iPad $1.99.
If your child is in need of some motivation or inspiration then look no further than the TED app. This app lets you browse through more than 1500 TEDTalks, presented by industry leaders on topics such as politics, science, art and technology at the famous TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences. The library is updated daily and videos can be viewed at any time, even without internet access. Availability: iPhone/iPad, Android free.