Last month, we launched a brand-new feature called “App of the Week,” in which our editors highlight a new educational app every week. Here are the first seven apps we’ve featured.
All of these apps are for Apple’s iPad, but in the future we’ll mix in coverage of Android apps as well.
Do you have any suggestions for educational apps of your own that you’d like to share with readers? Tell us about them in the comments section below.
Name: Voice Dream Reader – Text to Speech
What is it? An iOS text-to-speech application that is giving students a more effective way to access text. Apple’s iOS text-to-speech features don’t provide a seamless listening experience. Students using iPads can’t make their devices read out loud an entire novel with the tap of a finger; pause, rewind or fast forward when using voice over to take a test; or easily jump to different sections of the text. Voice Dream Reader allows for these functions and offers a number of other text-to-speech customizations.
Price: $4.99 (this 50 percent off price is for a limited time only)
Requirements: 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.
Features: 60 voices in 20 languages from Acapela and NeoSpeech available through in-app purchase. Multiple languages. Text extraction from PDF files; eBooks in DRM-free ePub format; plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Apple Pages, RTF and HTML files; Dropbox integration; Bookshare and Gutenberg integration; pocket and Instapaper integration; built-in web browser to extract text from web pages; copy-paste via clipboard; play-pause with remote control enabled; remembers where you stopped in each book or article; fast vertical scrolling; synchronized word and line highlighting; table of content for ePub and DAISY books, and much more.
What is it? CAST, a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand educational opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning, has released two research-based educational games that teach essential math reasoning and problem-solving skills. Finding patterns or functions, creating models, working with variables, and making predictions are just some of the skills the puzzles help develop. The puzzles are not tied to any particular curriculum or content, so they can be used at different grade levels and ages. Demonstrating universal design for learning (UDL) principles—which call for flexible, learner-friendly approaches—the puzzles can be solved via multiple strategies.
Best for: Any age
Price: Both are free
Requirements: Both are compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Rated: Both are 4+
Features: MathSquared puzzles are grid-based that use basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as logic and problem-solving skills. MathScaled has a balance-scale format to support understanding of equations, as well as logic and problem-solving skills. The goal is to place the shapes on the balance scale so that the scale is balanced. Teachers will find tips for integrating the puzzles into their lessons, short tutorial videos, and specifics about using the digital puzzles to support student persistence on the freely available iSolveIt website.
What is it? Students can fly, swim, feed, and toss their way to grammar mastery. Characters can be led through many adventures as they practice using nouns, verbs, adjectives, and more; a quick and easy way to practice and reinforce different grammar concepts to enhance reading, writing, and parts of speech.
Best for: K-6
Price: Free until February 8.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Features: Grammar Wonderland is available in two versions: k-2 and 3-6. In conjunction with several education conferences slated between now and early February (FETC, TCEA and Digital Learning Day), McGraw-Hill Education is lowering the price on its Grammar Wonderland apps to give teachers and parents the opportunity to download them and offer feedback. These new apps are a part of a larger suite of educational apps that recently launched alongside the company’s new core program, McGraw-Hill Reading Wonders.
What is it? Developed by QA International, this application allows you to explore the human anatomy from head to toe and from skin to bones with a lifelike 3D human model combined with an anatomical dictionary. Locate the various organs in their context, and learn more about their functions.
Best for: Those 12 years and older
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Features: 11 systems of the human body depicted through a lifelike model; over 1000 anatomical structures named and defined; an anatomical dictionary including a textual search engine; the possibility to overlap two systems to better visualize the interrelations between bones, muscles and organs; three display modes; Various points of view on the human body; easy navigation; and much more.
What is it? This app allows customers who purchase eBooks from the ASCD Store to access those purchased files on their iPad and place them in the eReader of their choice. ASCD members can also use the app to access their member-benefit publications: Educational Leadership, Education Update, and Policy Priorities.
Best for: Professional Development
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Features: Premium Online or Select Online members can have the device synch their electronic books automatically as part of the app. The app will synch the issues of Educational Leadership for subscribers who receive the journal. Non-members, non-subscribers, or those who haven’t purchased an eBook, can have a free excerpt of How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Iam Pumpian, as well as free electronic versions of one recent Educational Leadership, Education Update, and Policy Priorities.
What is it? A behavioral development tool helping teachers reinforce positive behaviors like risk-taking, helping others and honesty
Best for: K-12
Requirements: iOS 5.1 or later
Features: Captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators. Teachers can use this app to give students real-time feedback while in class—it will sync with the main ClassDojo website.
What is it? A presidential trivia game developed by parents and industry experts with over 50 years of education industry experience. Questions include: Who was the first president to visit China? Which president became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Who said “The buck stops here”? Which president kept grizzly bears on the White House lawn? and more.
Best for: Middle school and high school students; adults and teachers.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Features: More than 1,000 questions featuring facts, quotes, and historical trivia; 40 puzzles; 2 levels of play: Brainy, for those who want to test their knowledge, and Insaney, for those who know way too much about US history.
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