From O’Reilly Media, TED Talks have revolutionized the lecture scene with compelling presentations that cover fascinating topics in about five minutes. It’s the perfect combination of nerdy and cool, taking on a range of subjects that appeal to students of almost any age. Featuring academic and business legends, the TED app for Android delivers lifelong lessons that leave an impression, making the process of learning fun and applicable to the real world. Free, the app features over 1,000 video and audio clips on demand.
Khan Academy has taken the academic world by storm, offering a new and highly digital way to learn every subject under the sun. The Khan Academy app lets you browse and watch educational videos for math, physics, chemistry, humanities and more, helping students in grade school, high school and beyond. The app has sections for test preparation, talks and interviews. You can search videos by category, and download individual videos or entire playlists for offline viewing.
Pay for and access online courses with Udemy, which brings users videos, text and images to teach new skills. Online courses have made learning new skills and concepts a whole lot easier than in years past, and Udemy brings online courses to your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. You can fire up Udemy and look through the selection of courses that it features on udemy.com, which vary in price and include free options, then order courses and load them through the app. Courses include text you can read, photos to illustrate concepts, and videos to show step-by-step information. They also cover more than 2 million topics, each created by experts in a given area, spanning from software design to salsa preparation. Anyone looking for ways to extend their ability to learn should try the convenience offered by Udemy.
A trusted web resource, Wolfram Alpha is a great companion app for researching for term papers and the like. High schoolers and college students should appreciate Wolfram Alpha the most, taking full advantage of the app’s ability to answer questions instead of merely redirecting web traffic based on your queries. With technological contributions from AI greats like Siri, Wolfram Alpha is known for its prowess in a range of subjects, including chemistry, statistics, physics and geography.
Use your smartphone or tablet to help with scientific research using Boinc, which uses your device’s idle computational power for science! Researchers at the University of Berkeley already use idle desktop computers connected to the Internet to help them with a number of different projects. Whether it’s scanning the night sky for pulsars or to study diseases, complicated research projects require a whole lot of computing power to conduct — so researchers split the job up across lots of different systems when no one is using them. BOINC does the same thing with your smartphone or tablet, using the idle computing power to help advance scientific research. You can choose which projects in which to participate, and the app only uses your device when it’s plugged in (to avoid running your battery) and connected to a Wi-Fi network (to avoid running up your data bill). If you’re interested in helping advance scientific knowledge (and who isn’t?), grab BOINC and start helping.
Language app Duolingo purports to teach users how to speak and read new languages by teaching them in bite-sized, game-like chunks. The idea behind Duolingo is that you can use it to learn a new language in your free time — like when you’re sitting on a bus or waiting in line. The app accomplishes that by breaking up learning the language into multiple small lessons that you deal with in chunks, and Duolingo incentivizes your learning by making a game of the process: you earn points for completing lessons and lose “lives” for getting answers wrong. You’ll find lessons for English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese in the app, and its latest update brings bug fixes and additional English lessons for native Russian, Dutch, Polish, Hungarian and Turkish speakers. Users looking to learn a language in their spare time, for free, should check out Duolingo’s approach to the process.
Loss of the Night is for studying light pollution in your area, measuring the amount of light being emitted into the nighttime sky, and taking part in a global light pollution study. Astronomers and stargazers unite with Loss of the Night, an app that’s ostensibly part of a global effort to measure the effects of light pollution in various areas. Light pollution, or excess light emitted into the night sky, often by inefficient streetlamps, is being studied by scientists in a number of fields and might have a big effect on things such as health and sleep — as well as on the ability of astronomers to study the night sky. Loss of the Night takes measurements that users make of light pollution and feeds them into a larger research project. It also allows students and amateur astronomers to gather information about their own areas that they can use in studies of their own. If astronomy and science interest you (or if you’re a student or a teacher), check out Loss of the Night.
If you want to be able to study anytime, anywhere, without lugging around books and making flash cards, you need Quizlet. This is one of the ultimate options in studying on your smartphone or tablet. Whether you’re preparing for an exam, memorizing statistics for a meeting, or just trying to better yourself in general, it’s hard to beat. With a few different modes, including some that make studying into a kind of game, over 18 different languages supported in audio, and the ability to search for millions of study tests, plus a great, easy to use interface, Quizlet is one of the only studying apps you’ll need.
The youngest of students are growing up in a new world, where smartphones and tablets can jumpstart their education. And while the cautious parent may be wary of putting a web-connected gadget in their kid’s hands, the promise of early learning gives new meaning to mobile devices. Able to provide an interactive learning experience, Kids Numbers and Math was made for preschoolers. Crafted as a game with support for several languages, this Android app makes learning fun. And app maker intellijoy has several educational games for kids, covering a range of subjects.