Last year we presented “New: 10 of the best Apple apps for education in 2012,” which highlighted some of the best apps for iPhones and iPods. However, with new upgrades in touch technology, and the emphasis on Common Core State Standards and school reform in general, we’ve come up with a new list of the best Apple- and Android-based education apps for 2013.
This year’s list includes some of the most highly rated apps, both by educators and by parents, and features a range that spans from interactive iBooks to current images of the universe, and from free video software to award-winning STEM curricula.
For every app we’ve listed, we’ve included a brief description, device compatibility, suggested use, features, price, and a link to a more in-depth summary with an option to purchase on iTunes or Google Play.
Don’t see an app you love on this list? Be sure to let us know—or leave a suggestion in the comment section.
(Apps are listed in alphabetical order.)
What is it? Turns photos into professional-quality videos, complete with music and text. Choose photos, video clips, music, and video style. Users can easily share their creations.
Best for: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5; Requires Android 2.2 and up.
- Multiple video styles, large music library and the ability to add text to your video.
- Preview and edit your video before producing it.
- View videos within the app and on Animoto’s site.
- Easily share your videos via email, text, Facebook and Twitter or save to your Camera Roll.
- Upgrade to unlimited full length videos within the app.
Links: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/animoto-video-maker/id459248037?mt=8
Name: HMH FUSE Algebra 1
What is it? HMH Fuse Algebra 1 Common Core Edition gives every student a personalized learning experience using video tutorials, MathMotion step-by-step examples, homework help, quizzes, tips, hints, and many other integrated features to teach, review, and assess all concepts. Winner of the “Distinguished Achievement” Award in the category of Mobile Device Application honoring “outstanding resources for teaching and learning” presented by the Association of Educational Publishers.
Best for: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Also compatible with Android devices.
- The ability for students to show their scratch pad work for individual questions on the assessments, student response system (clickers), and Graph It! examples
- An all-in-one app with built-in tools including Algebra Tiles, Linear Explorer, Quadratic Explorer, a graphing calculator, text and audio note-taking, scratchpad, and a student response system for instant learner feedback.
- Teachers can access all assessment results in an on-line Teacher Resource Center and prescribe remediation or intervention as needed.
Links: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hmh-fuse-algebra-1/id415533582?mt=8
[Android] May soon be available. Keep checking the HMH FUSE website: http://www.hmhco.com/shop/education-curriculum/math/secondary-mathematics/hmh-fuse/android#sthash.Pii6OFSH.dpbs
Name: Oxford Picture Dictionary, Second Edition
What is it? The Oxford Picture Dictionary app provides instant access, anytime and anywhere, to the bestselling picture dictionary. Use the app alone or paired with the print dictionary to provide the perfect vocabulary solution for your students.
Best for: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
- Introduce students to 4,000 terms, organized into 12 thematic units, including Everyday Language, People, Housing, Food and Recreation, and more. Each unit includes phrases and expressions from everyday life that help put words and images in context.
- Engage students with vibrant art and an easy-to-use format.
- Provide students with unlimited independent practice and multiple exposures to the terms.
- The zoom-in/zoom-out feature allows students to better experience the vocabulary within each scene and image.
- Bookmark any entry to easily search for terms.
- Use the search function, to quickly look up any term in the dictionary.
Link: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oxford-picture-dictionary/id591484885?mt=8
Name: PBS Parents Play & Learn HD
What is it? PBS’ first app designed specifically for parents, PBS Parents Play & Learn provides more than a dozen games parents can play with their kids, each themed around a familiar location–including at the grocery store, at home, in the kitchen, and more. The bilingual (English/Spanish) app makes it easy for parents to seize upon those daily “teachable moments” through theme-based interactive games and simple hands-on activities that connect math and literacy skills to everyday experiences. Each game comes with a parent note that provides information about the math and literacy skills woven into the game and suggestions for effective ways to interact with a child while playing the game to maximize the learning experience.
Best for: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later; Requires Android 2.2 and up
- 13 interactive games.
- Parent notes with each game.
- 52 easy hands-on activities.
- A free-play sticker area.
- Weekly push notifications with more ideas for parents.
- Completely bilingual (English/Spanish).
Links: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pbs-parents-play-learn-hd/id605542914?mt=8
Name: POETRY from the Poetry Foundation
What is it? Nominated for a WEBBY award, this universal iOS app allows users to take thousands of poems by classic and contemporary poets on the go. From William Shakespeare to César Vallejo to Heather McHugh, the Poetry Foundation’s app turns your phone, iPod Touch or iPad into a mobile poetry library.
Best for: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later; Requires Android 1.6 and up.
- Search for old favorites with memorable lines.
- Give your device a shake to discover new poems to fit any mood.
- Save your favorite poems to read and share later—through Facebook, Twitter, or eMail.
- Read poems by T.S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Emily Dickinson, and many others.
Links: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/poetry-from-poetry-foundation/id370143863?mt=8
Name: School Fuel
What is it? School Fuel Apps is a mobile learning platform that allows teachers and school leaders to connect with students in class and on the go. School Fuel Apps provides customized app libraries aligned to Common Core Standards helping schools deliver the right apps to the right students at the right time-on any device.
Best for: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later; Requires Android 3.0 and up.
- Web-Based teacher admin.
- App libraries based on subject areas, grade level, Common Core standards and mobile OS type.
- Delivery of libraries on nearly any device including Android Phones / Tablets, iPhones / iPads and Windows mobile devices.
Links: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/school-fuel/id570027440?mt=8
Name: See. Touch. Learn.
What is it? A Picture Card Learning System replaces all your physical flash cards. Designed by professionals specifically for those with autism and other special needs. Used by SLP’s, BCBA’s, Teachers, and Parents to provide custom picture card instruction. Winner of numerous awards.
Best for: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.
Price: FREE [Pro version available]
- Includes a starter set of high-quality images and 60 exercises created by a certified assistant behavior analyst.
- Additional libraries with over 4,400 additional images and lessons are available for purchase from within the app.
- Now you can access the Brain Parade® Community with thousands of lessons shared by others.
Link: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/see.touch.learn./id406826506?mt=8
Name: SlateMath for Kids
What is it? SlateMath is an iPad app that develops mathematical intuition and skills through playful interaction. The app’s 30 activities prepare children for kindergarten and first grade math. SlateMath forms the foundation of numbers, digit writing, counting, addition, order relation, patterns, parity and problem solving.
Best for: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
- Topics follow the common core state standard.
- SlateMath’s award winning technology was developed from the ground up for the iPad.
- The SlateMath pedagogy is crafted by early-age math education experts, and is based on many years of experience and research.
- Endorsed by math teachers around the world.
Link: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slatemath-for-kids-kindergarten/id589371294?mt=8
What is it? Springpad can help you save anything from all your devices so you can be more organized and productive. Save ideas, notes, checklists, project tasks, photos, products, movies-then Springpad enhances them with relevant suggestions so you can get what you need, when and where you need it.
Best for: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5; Requires Android 2.2 and up.
- Bookmark sites for reading later-never forget an important article or book.
- Follow trusted experts and others to be on top of trends and useful tips.
- Build your personal to-do list with reminder alerts.
- Collaborate with co-workers on a project with notes, videos, links and tasks.
- Show pictures and videos your family to collect and comment on captions.
Links: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/springpad/id360116898?mt=8
Name: Wonders of the Universe
What is it? Take a mind-blowing 3D tour of the Universe with Professor Brian Cox as your guide. Journey up from the smallest particles, past the moons and planets of the Solar System, out through the Oort Cloud to the Milky Way, past our local stars and out to distant galaxies before arriving, finally, at the edge of the known Universe. On the way you will encounter the likes of seething red giants, beautiful nebulae, pulsing neutron stars and confront a daunting vision of a Black Hole sucking down a hapless star, all rendered in 3D.
Best for: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
- Explore the entire Universe in 7 interlinked scales from sub-atomic to the edge of the known Universe, or take Brian’s tours
- Two-and-a-half hours of BBC video from the Wonders TV series (requires wifi)
- 50+ spectacular 3D models of planets, moons, galaxies and nebulae to discover
- Over 200 interactive articles by Brian telling the story of the Universe
- Hundreds of beautiful images from around the cosmos
- High resolution graphics optimized for the new iPad
Link: [Apple] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/brian-coxs-wonders-universe/id508465867?mt=8