Don’t look now, iPhone Kool-Aid drinkers, but Androids are taking over. iTunes had a good run, but now is the time of Google Play, Android’s home for more than 600,000 apps. To help ease the transition back to school, we’ve combed through the pile to find the best educational choices, for everyone from Mother’s Day Out attendees to college seniors, to rock on a Galaxy, Nexus, or Droid.
- Kids Numbers and Math Lite: Educational game maker Intellijoy offers this free game to effectively teach preschoolers numbers, addition, subtraction, and more without sensory overload.
- AniWorld: We had animal See ‘n Say games as kids. Your kids get this app, which lets them pet, feed, see, and hear 36 different animals through 250 pictures.
- Kids ABC Letters Lite: Another offering from Intellijoy, Kids ABC teaches forming and identifying letters to children aged 2-7. The downside is parents may have trouble getting their phones back again.
- Learning Letters for Kids: This straightforward app for teaching kids the alphabet is a breath of fresh air: no permissions are required from the developer to function.
- Kids & Toddler Puzzle Puzzingo: A BestAppsForKids award winner, Puzzingo is an addictive yet educational game to engage the mind of your toddler with 25 professionally illustrated puzzles.
- Kids Pedia – Color Magician: Kids Pedia packs in language learning, science, geography, art, math, health, and more, with games designed by professional educators.
- Kids Piano Lite: Don’t neglect your child’s music education. This app reproduces those little toy xylophones in the bright colors kids love.
- 123s ABCs Handwriting Fun: Children learn basic handwriting by tracing letters, hearing them spoken, then shaking the screen to erase and repeat.
- Pepi Bath Lite: It’s never too early to start teaching your toddler hygiene education, and this app is a great tool for that.
- 0-10 Numbers Baby Flash Cards: Toddlers might as well get used to studying with flashcards. This app uses them to teach them the first 11 numbers.
Elementary and Middle School
- Brain Café – GeoQuiz: With a beautiful interface and strong database of questions, GeoQuiz is a great program for testing young learners’ knowledge of global geography.
- Kids Paint Free: Allow your young Picassos to flourish their artistic side with this fan-favorite app.
- iStoryBooks: Kids ages 2-8 can read their own books on dinosaurs, animals, fruits and vegetables, and more, or let narrator Maya read to them as they follow along.
- Alchemy – Genetics: Kids strengthen their logic and critical thinking skills playing this game that turns players into gene researchers combining different animals into new species.
- ASL American Sign Language: The easiest time to learn languages is in childhood. Use this free app from TeachersParadise.com to teach your kids to sign.
- Sky Map: Google has gone ahead and mapped all of space for your convenience. Just crank up the app, point your camera to the heavens, and enjoy.
- US History Quiz: Lord knows Americans’ knowledge of our own history is embarrassing. Help your kids be part of the solution by installing this free app.
- 100 Top World Wonders: Kiddos learn about the biggest, longest, tallest, fastest, and most dangerous things in the world with this free app.
- Periodic Table: Don’t let the name fool you. This is a periodic table for the 21st century, with interactive elements that can be clicked to see more than 30 facts each, audio clips, and a quiz mode.
- Classic Simon: Let your kids in on the simple joy that was the Simon Says toy with this app that improves memory. We mean it: let them have a turn.
High school and College
- WordPrep Flashcards GRE / CAT: If the GRE is in your near future or you simply want to expand your vocabulary, WordPrep Flashcards is one of your best free options in Google Play.
- Gamma Ray Calculator: Forget the slide rule. When you find yourself in need in physics class, whip out your smartphone and fire up this free app.
- Speed Anatomy Quiz: Flashcards will forever pale in comparison once you’ve tested your knowledge of the human body by poking away at it with this app.
- Formulas Lite: All the major formulas you need for math, chemistry, and physics are right here for free download.
- Learn Spanish with busuu.com!: The free app from the popular language learning site is an excellent resource for building a solid foundation in a number of languages, Spanish included.
- LHSee: There has been big news in the search for the “God Particle” lately. Don’t miss a thing thanks to this app that refers to work with Large Hadron Colliders.
- Virtual SAT Tutor – Writing: Tutoring company Ivy Standard created this app for improving your writing skills for the SAT through in-depth tips and questions modeled after the real thing.
- Fooducate – Healthy Food Diet: Take charge of your food education with this app that lets you scan product barcodes and see nutrition info and ideas for healthier alternatives.
- Mathway: With this app you don’t even need a data connection to access thousands of answers to pre-algebra, pre-cal can calculus, trig, and statistics.
- Learn Guitar Chords: Learn to shred while your guitar is home in its case with this app, which teaches you the most commonly used chords. Master three cords and you’re qualified to play in Nickelback.
- IELTS Writing Model Answers: International students will love the practice and instruction they get from this writing app.
Class Help and Study Aids
- Andie Graph: Want to save $90? Thought so. Do yourself a favor and download this app that’s an emulator for TI-82, -83, -85, and -86 calculators. You’re welcome.
- Aldiko Book Reader: Never be caught in class without your reading materials again, thanks to this customizable and user-friendly e-reader.
- Studyblue Flashcards: The wide range of features like card search, offline mode, reminders, and progress save make this flashcard app one of our faves in Google Play.
- MyScript Calculator: This is a really cool app that lets you write out math equations in your own handwriting and get answers in real time. It’s intuitive and natural and even lets you scratch out mistakes.
- Speed Reading Trainer: Use this app to tweak your reading ability to cut down your reading times while maintaining comprehension.
- Blackboard Mobile Learn: It doesn’t work for all carriers, but if yours is covered you’ve got mobile access to all your assignments, grades , and other info for classes using the site.
- Study Checker: This app automatically keeps track of your study and break times and lets you view your stats over a day, week, or month.
- Edmodo: Stay connected and share information with your classmates and teachers wherever you are with Edmodo, “the Facebook of education.”
- School Timetable Deluxe: It’s not often a “deluxe” model comes free, but it does here with this highly rated app for organizing homework assignments, exams, and grades all into one place.
- Dictionary – Merriam-Webster: It’s ad-supported but you can search by voice, find synonyms and antonyms, read a Word of the Day, and more, all while offline.
- SparkNotes: Since we know you’d never read crib notes in place of an assigned book, we’re happy to recommend this app to supplement your reading.
- NASA App: If you’ve got a little astronaut on your hands, this app connects you with incredible images and videos, mission info, and more courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
- TED: All the ideas worth spreading come to your Android phone so you can broaden your horizons and have your mind stretched anywhere you have a signal.
- Common Core: The kids won’t care, but parents and teachers will appreciate being able to see all the common core standards for every grade from K-12.
- Khan Academy Player: This unofficial app is a successful complement to the hugely popular, free educational video site that lets you watch that physics lesson or math tutorial offline.
- PhysOrg.com Science News Lite: Stay informed on all things STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with this app form the PHYSorg.com website.
- National Geographic: Throw out all those old copies of the magazine and install this (unofficial) app for exploring the world with the help of this storied institution.
- Whitehouse.gov: Here’s your unofficial window into the home of the highest office in the land and everything that goes on there.
- Open University News: Find articles, videos, and tweets that keep you up-to-speed on all the open education goings-on from OU.