by TeachThought Staff
So 2014 is almost over, and it’s time to start looking back at what’s happened in the last year. Today, we do that in the form of the best educational apps for iPad in 2014.
One way to think of this list (thematically) is as a kind of editor’s choice for TeachThought staff and contributors. Every single one of these apps is special, and worth a spot on every iPad in every classroom.
As a staff, we speculated about, downloaded, and tested each one of these apps within classrooms and on on our own tablets and smartphones to get a sense for where the trends in mobile learning apps are headed. (Hint: A lot of video, and a lot of blended learning.)
Within the 30 apps below there is some of that, but some other apps you may not expect to see in what is a comparatively short editor’s choice list for educational apps. Collectively, they represent our favorite educational apps for iPad for 2014.
What will you see? Google’s slow-starting social media platform has made some impressive changes in 2014, becoming more visual, more elegant, and with Google Hangout integration, more school-friendly. Google Hangouts now supports groups of over 100 people, and Google Drive is more API-friendly than ever.
Brainfeed represents an exciting new kind of app that we love (more on them in the near future), helping to curate the impossible and scary index of YouTube content and turn it into a usable classroom library. Storehouse and Explain Everything help students communicate through digital media, while Trello helps them organize project-based learning (as does Evernote, Google+, and Google Drive as well).
The BBC apps from Brian Cox show new ways to communicate content to students, much like 21st century versions of the textbook might look, and Water Cycle HD and the Creatures of Light and Sound Uncovered apps take a similar approach. Save content with Pocket, and finally realize modern note-taking on your iPad with Zoom Notes (or Notes Plus, which almost made our list as well)!
A Diverse Collection
These apps are appropriately diverse then–some for project-based learning, some for game-based learning, some are task-oriented–file-sharing, note-taking, and pdf markups. After our own hearts, some are designed for open-ended creation.
Some are academic, and some are more authentic, like the kinds of things students might download on their own iPads. A few are content-centered with a focus on animation, biology, literacy, math skills, or the universe itself, but overall you’ll see that content drill-and-kill is pleasingly absent from many of the most compelling educational apps for iPad in 2014, and, subsequently, so is our collection below.
It will be exciting to see what 2015 brings.
A Closing Call For Innovation
While innovation starts with learning models and curriculum rather than boot-strapped app developers, here’s hoping to a little more innovation and risk-taking in the coming year. If you see an app-developer that really took some chances to do something cool, support them, give them useful feedback and a review that reflects the risk they’ve taken and the thought behind their work, even if it’s not perfect. It matters. iPads–and tablets in general from Google and Microsoft–should be having a far greater impact on classrooms than they have so far, no?
Honorable Mention: iMovie, Keynote, Socrative, Zite, Flipboard, Todoist, Goodreader, Microsoft Office, PuppetPals, Shakespeare App
The 30 Best Educational Apps For iPad In 2014
"If you cannot do it with Explain Everything, it probably can't be done!"
ANIMATE YOUR THINKING
"Explain everything is a stunning peek into a cutting edge new paradigm of communicating…”*
• Create slides using an infinite canvas, use a laser pointer, draw in any color, add shapes, text,
math equations, videos, images and audio files
• Rotate, move, scale, flip, copy, paste, clone and lock any object added to the stage,
• Record everything you do within the app (even yourself while using the front-facing camera)
to create high quality, creative and valuable content for others to learn from!
Evernote is the modern workspace that helps you be your most productive self. You’re on the path to something big — Evernote is where you do the work to achieve it.
Get started with Google Drive for free and have all your files within reach from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. All your files in Drive – like your videos, photos, and documents – are backed up safely so you can’t lose them. Easily invite others to view, edit, or leave comments on any of your files or folders.
Duolingo is changing the way people learn languages. With Duolingo, you learn a language completely free, without ads or hidden charges. You have fun while you learn, leveling up and competing with friends.
Designed to inform, entertain and inspire, Brainfeed provides children 7+, tweens, teens and even inquisitive adults with a safe corner of the web to explore a universe of educational videos. Videos so engaging and entertaining that your children won’t even realize they’re actually learning too!
Google+ Hangouts is a messaging app that lets you send and receive messages, photos and videos, animated stickers, and even start free video calls — one-on-one or with a group!
Codea lets you create games and simulations — or just about any visual idea you have. Turn your thoughts into interactive creations that make use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer.
Organize anything, together. Excellent for project-based learning!
Play in creative mode with unlimited resources or mine deep into the world in survival mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off the dangerous mobs. Craft, create, and explore alone, or with friends on mobile devices or Windows 10.
The periodic table comes to life with 79 video explorations of the weird, wonderful, and sometimes alarming properties of the elements. Filmed by BAFTA award winner Max Whitby in partnership with Theodore Gray, this is the most beautifully filmed collection of videos ever assembled to explore and explain what makes each element unique and fascinating.
Google's foray into social media gets more mature--and more elegant-in--2014.
Voice helps you create stunning animated videos in minutes. No filming — just talk to tell your story. Pick from over 25,000 beautiful iconic images to show your ideas and Voice automatically adds cinematic motion and a soundtrack. Persuade, inform and inspire anyone online. Make an impact.
Save articles, videos, recipes, and webpages you find online or from your favorite apps.
student work, and allows learners to capture and track their academic growth and achievement over time in digital learning portfolios.
ZoomNotes is the most comprehensive visual note-taking app with unlimited zoom. Make handwritten notes and sketches on virtual paper, near-infinite WhiteBoards , PDF files, images and MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents (via GoogleDrive). ZoomNotes is compatible with any capacitive stylus pen and also with the top electronic pens on the market.
• Access to the Bitsboard catalog including tens of thousands of gorgeous flashcards and carefully curated lessons covering hundreds of topics.
• Bitsboard is ideal for learning languages, mastering vocabulary, learning to read, learning to speak, becoming the next spelling champion and so much more
Kodable is a free educational iPad game offering a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. For kids ages 5 and up, and tools for grownups too!
Start from scratch with basic building blocks like stone, water and soil. Grow plants, raise mountains, generate life and gain access to advanced tools for crafting more and more complex elements. Before long, you’ll be able to access non-organic elements like metal and light bulbs, allowing you to populate your universe with creations both natural and technological.
This companion app for the popular new exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature's Bioluminescence offers a close look at some of the extraordinary organisms that produce light. Enjoy interactive animations, photo galleries, and videos that reveal the beauty of this amazing natural phenomenon, how it works, and how scientists study it. Each chapter of the app, which is adapted from the iPad content featured throughout the exhibition gallery, is set to a symphonic soundtrack composed exclusively for Creatures of Light.
Set your child’s mind in motion. Thinkrolls are the 26 hilarious characters in this educational app that's one part rolling ball platformer, one part physics puzzler and 100% irresistible for kids 3-8.
Surf the web and clip charts and copy text from articles and paragraphs with free hand cutting and Summary smart copy/paste. Summary also opens all document extensions PDFs , MS Word, Pages, MS Excel, Numbers, MS PowerPoint, Keynote, Text or RTF documents.
Knowji makes the highest quality and most effective vocabulary apps in the App Store. You won't believe how quickly you'll learn! This app teaches you 1600 words specifically chosen for the SAT®, GRE®, ACT® and ASVAB exams, but users of all ages can enjoy the benefits of this app. The words taught are practical words often used in news, books, movies, businesses and politics.
Explore the surprising side of sound with Sound Uncovered, an interactive book featuring auditory illusions, acoustic phenomena, and other things that go bump, beep, boom, and vroom.
This app's core concept was to create a flexible solution that a grade school child can easily navigate and that is robust enough to grow with your child as they grow their math knowledge.
One of the best ways to rapidly learn how to speak, read, and recognize words is through phonic awareness. This app is specifically designed to help students recognize and distinguish words by sounds.
Explore the majesty of nature in breath-taking 3D with Professor Brian Cox as your personal tour guide.
Ever wondered how clouds form? How are clouds involved in the water cycle? Why is the water cycle important? How does water move from the ocean to land and from land to the ocean? The Water Cycle HD app will be a treat for the curious learner. The quiz is based on Bloom's taxonomy and is designed to test not only remembering and understanding but also applying, evaluating, and analyzing the concepts.
Take a mind-blowing 3D tour of the Universe with Professor Brian Cox as your guide. The official Wonders app by arrangement with the BBC.
Lapse It is an award-winning full featured app for capturing amazing time lapse and stop motion videos. It is easy, fast and intuitive. No need for expensive photography equipment, you just need Lapse It.
Create 3D animations of cartoons in a simple and intuitive manner on your tablet or phone. If you ever wondered how they bring characters to life in animation movies like Frozen or Toy Story, this app is for you.
Editor’s Choice: The Best Educational Apps For iPad In 2014