Even Luddites have to admit the iPhone definitely altered the way humanity interacts with its own devices, making Douglas Adams’ cheeky The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the eponymous book itself, not the whole Earth being demolished to build an interstellar highway thing) leap from science fiction to science fact. Because of so much power packed into a sleek handheld, this means some pretty amazing educational implications for gadget enthusiasts. As a result, some innovative developers out there provide hundreds of hours of engaging content meant to get anyone of any age up and learning about the world.
With seemingly endless possibilities for education on the iPhone (ed: & iPad!), there are a lot of great apps that students, educators, and even administrators can enjoy. We’ve shared 100 of the best of them here, and we encourage you to put them to work in the new school year.
Take advantage of these games, puzzles, and other brain teasers to build general cognitive skills needed to process and retain necessary information.
Engage with some fun little brain teasers — mostly math-related — to keep the memory hot and the cognitive process chugging along.
For anyone preferring wordy brain teasers to numerical ones, Quordy puts a digital spin on a nostalgic childhood game.
Critics just love this series of 43 small games meant to bolster skills in math, memory, logic, visuals, and focusing; At $4.99, it’s a cheap enough way to keep the mind occupied during long trips and waits in line.
Luminosity.com teamed up with some of academia’s most notable neuroscientists to deliver 10 great games meant to provide a cognitive boost in some of the most important mental areas.
These brain training exercises focus on helping users build their skills in memory, intuition, and concentration based on Dr. Makoto Shichida’s research.
Play challenging, brain-building games encouraging mental fitness either alone or against friendly competitors.
Download Brain Benders for 99¢ and catch daily brain teasers, logic puzzles, and riddles meant to help users with their critical thinking acumen.
Kids and adults absolutely adore The Moron Test and its myriad challenges guiding them through some of the iPhone’s most deceptively difficult puzzle games!
Rather than words and numbers, gamers who pick up this free game keep their mind piqued by figuring out tiled puzzles with no idea of what they’re supposed to be unscrambling.
Quizzes and Flashcards
Whether cramming for a class, heading down the self-taught route, or playing simple games with friends, the following resources bring familiar study strategies into the digital age.
Online or off, StudyCards users enjoy access to more than 500,000 flashcards in more than 65 languages as well as the option to create and share their own sets.
No matter one’s study style, chances are this very useful app — and its integration with Quizlet.com — offers up a comfortable way to soak up the necessary information.
Another app linked up to Quizlet.com and featuring around 7 million flashcard sets and quizzes on pretty much every academic subject imaginable.
Whether a trivia fan or a student looking for a few fun scholastic supplements, the Big Brain Quiz offers up a global competition in keeping general knowledge sharpened.
Make or download quizzes about anything and use them either as flashcards for solo play or a competition with study buddies.
Yet another flashcard-making application option that allows for custom decks and downloads of more than 20,000,000 submitted by other users.
Hit up multiple flashcard websites to see what others might be sharing or create custom cards and quizzes alike using both photos and text.
Overcome math anxiety — or indulge the love — through some of the iPhone’s diverse selection of tools to help that mind crunch some tasty, tasty numbers.
A delightful little Penguin named Newton teaches kids — and maybe even some adults! — all about math via a series of number puzzles.
Transform the not-so-humble iPhone into a fully functioning graphing calculator for only $1.99, far cheaper than a new or used device, to be certain!
Math Ref offers up one of the most extensive digital libraries on formulas, equations, advice, and pretty much everything else students and professionals could possibly need.
Students, teachers, parents, and pros in need of a scientific or financial calculator can probably find everything they want with this wildly popular Reverse Polish Notation app, available for $19.99.
It’s a slide rule. On the iPhone. The description doesn’t need to get more detailed than that, really.
Download Mental Maths when looking to train the brain into serving as a quicker organic calculator through puzzles, games, and other engagements.
Lazy types with 99¢ laying about might want to use the Protractor app instead of heading out to the school store to snag one.
Formul8 boasts over 200 formulas and equations within the listed disciplines, making it a fabulous resource when quickly looking up how to get specific problems done.
One of the most comprehensive algebra iPhone apps around spans simple equations to some of the most challenging around and allows for computation, self-checks, referencing, and plenty more relieving perks – all for just $1.99.
Linear algebra’s many different applications form the crux of the Algebra Helper 1 application, which breaks down problems into their essential components and lets users see step-by-step solutions.
It’s pretty much exactly what the title says it is — a series of quizzes about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square roots, and squares of escalating difficulty, suitable for all age and ability ranges.
Put those geometry skills to the test with some of the most detailed flash cards regarding the subject available on the iPhone.
Blind friends, family, and teachers with science after spending some quality time with these applications, which cover a wide spectrum of disciplines.
It’s the best chemistry app around; nothing’s gonna ever bring it down. Every single element on the periodic table bursts to vivid, 3-dimensional life, with detailed information about its properties and uses.
Turn stargazing into a multimedia educational event through the absolutely stunning Star Walk, frequently touted as amongst the best astronomy apps ever developed.
Download this quick and painless application when looking to better understand the different amino acids, what they do, how they form, and pretty much everything else readers need to know.
Delve deeply into the human brain’s inner workings without having to worry about washing all that yucky gray matter off in the sink afterwards. That ishow scientists do it, right?
Just as the title promises, Chemistry Formulas keeps an extensive library of chemistry formulas for anyone needing to quickly look up a chemistry formula.
Especially useful for those studying or practicing chemistry, biology, and biochemistry, this app helps out with molecular weight problems, calculating volume and weight, conversions, and the amount of chemicals needed for specific experiments. Among other features, of course.
Ornithology enthusiasts wanting to identify everything that squawks, screeches, clucks, and coos on the continent will absolutely love keeping the Audubon Society’s official digital guide to North American birdies on hand.
Up-and-coming Darwins and Teslas and Feynmans and Curies use this app to soak up a few fun factoids or two a day to share and maybe even further explore on their own.
If one fact a day doesn’t sate the frothing scientific mindbeast, try StuckPixel’s little compilation of thousands instead.
This app tests users’ basic understanding of some basic and not-so-basic scientific principles in all the major fields.
Available for $39.99, biology and medical students needing to know the location, form, and function of the different structures of the human body might consider Netter’s Anatomy Flash Cards an essential download.
Geography and History
Not only does this selection of delectable downloadables help lay out the land, they also make sure users know exactly what names and events shaped them over time.
Because World Atlas is a National Geographic joint, the maps available here pop up in different styles and come partnered with detailed national information, like flags, the most recent economic data, cultural phenomena, and more!
Another great app for cartography and history buffs, this time allowing them to explore how boundaries and geographies change over time.
From Washington to Obama, learn all the basic facts about every man who ever stood as America’s president through an easy flashcard interface.
Train the brain to identify the countries of the world, its flags, its capitals, and other physical and human geographical traits through these most excellent quiz adventures.
World Book offers up a quick and interesting way to snatch a quick peek at history by taping it to a daily calendar, with glimpses into important people and events users might otherwise never learn about.
Americans should probably know a thing or two about their own nation, and the USA Factbook makes for the best start in picking up all the basics, including capitals, flags, topographical and musical maps, and other cool features.
For only 99¢, this bundle brings iPhone users 19 stunning applications covering pretty much everything regarding current geographical data — and that includes both the physical and the human aspects — and even allowing self-quizzes and assessments in the different fields.
Straight outta the CIA comes a resource about all the countries in the world, packed with all the current data students, teachers, businesspeople, travelers, and all-around well-informed citizens need to know. Stay current, because new apps pop up every year!
After soaking up information about America’s state and federal facts and functions, run through the self-tests and see how much knowledge stayed put.
Instead of arguing the Constitution as interpreted by politicians, give it and other integral documents that shaped the United States (including the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, inaugural addresses, and dozens of others), a read and form opinions from that.
Conquer the planet — metaphorically speaking, wannabe Napoleans — through comprehensive quizzes about all the countries of the world.
English and Literature
Because reading is fundamental, a listing of the most educational applications for iPhone enthusiasts stands as quite naked indeed without the inclusion of grammar, spelling, and literary love.
Because so much of the world’s literary canon is based on historical and religious storytelling, keeping an encyclopedia of both on hand behooves any ardent bibliophile.
Sign up for the free social media site aimed specifically at book lovers rating reads, writing reviews, and wanting to discover what to pick up and love next.
Whether looking to nestle with a public domain classic or the latest scorching hot bestseller, the iBooks app turns an iPhone into an ebook reader for literature on the go.
Learn proper spelling through some seriously cool games, with tests hitting more than 3,000 of the most common words.
Never confuse a bildungsroman with a bouts-rimes again (not that any of our super genius readers would, of course) thanks to the Oxford’s comprehensive guide to literature’s extensive and colorful jargon.
Stanza acts as an ebook reader connecting users to Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks, and other public domain depositories that also lets them upload their own documents in an impressive array of formats for easy self-curation.
Use Spell Check’s built-in dictionary to check spelling as quickly as possible; best of all, it does not require any sort of internet connection or login to use!
Both native speakers and ESL students benefit from playing the fun and engaging wurdle, as it builds up their vocabulary and spelling skills.
Perfect for anyone learning to speak English, the 20 lessons available here nurture five of the most important language skills and cover common scenarios and topics.
More than 160 of the most common idiomatic phrases in American and British English receive in-depth explanation here, complete with some great drawings making them all the more memorable.
Reference Materials and Open Source
Open source currently surges through the education sector, challenging perceptions of how people learn and the efficacy of traditional systems. Stay on top of the revolution — and don’t neglect those necessary references — with some of these groundbreakers.
Wolfram Alpha exists as the reference app to end all reference apps, with information and articles about every academic subject imaginable – kind of like a multimedia Wikipedia, but without Justin Bieber fans going monkey crazy and sabotaging other musicians’ pages.
One doesn’t need an engineering degree to appreciate and understand the systems that drive daily lives around the world.
Supplement lessons or self-learning regimens with one of the Internet’s most beloved, respected series of lectures about almost every subject imaginable.
For law students, lawyers, and anyone who probably needs a lawyer soon, the $54.99 price tag might very well prove a worthy investment indeed.
Some of the biggest names in higher education, like MIT, Oxford, and Yale join up with beloved institutions (The New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, etc.) to provide iPhone users with one of the biggest, best open source repositories around.
One of the most popular reference apps available combines the latest dictionary and thesaurus updates with word-of-the day, bookmark, anagram searches, and audio perks – and more, of course.
Quickly access Wikipedia and customize the experience using the incredibly handy-dandy iWiki reference app.
Never mangle a common quote again – or get the speaker wrong – thanks to this gathering of over 3000 quotes from over 40 different influential thinkers and writers.
Learn how to identify different pharmaceuticals and administer First Aid (which could come in handy in a crucial situation), find local doctors, and, sigh, check symptoms. Just don’t jump to conclusions that those allergies might actually be malaria, OK?
One of the coolest features of this Wikipedia-streamlining app revolves around calling up location-based reads about nearby history, landmarks, interesting people, and anything else users might find interesting.
Art and Art History
From Lascaux to Judy Chicago, the iPhone’s slew of art- and art history-related resources make it simple to learn about the best and brightest creative minds out there, then channel their inspiration into personal, unique digital works.
Take a little trip and see the Museum of Modern Art without having to shell out money to hit New York City. The venerable collection provides users with digital tours, research materials, artist bios, mini-lessons, and other valuable assets to an artistic education.
Hundreds of high-resolution photos make the works of Old Masters and other artistic innovators stunningly pop, and the Louvre supplements the spectacle with videos, virtual tours, presentations, and information about hopefully someday visiting.
iPhone users with access to Art Envi Deluxe curate their very own exhibits and explore some of the world’s most influential and innovative works through a unique multimedia experience.
At the time of publication, Art features detailed information about 204 highly influential artists, including images, bios, quizzes, slideshows, and trivia, and stands as a great starting resource for anyone looking to learn more about humanity’s visually creative pursuits.
Yes, photographers and graphic designers, Photoshop is better. But for general fans hoping to set up their own digital galleries and share their experiments with color, light, composition, and interesting filtering techniques, Instagram proves a lot of fun.
Take part in a crowdsourced gallery of over 7500 artistic works, where users share, discuss, and curate their favorites to show off to the world — or just their friends.
Photograph anything with the iPhone and turn it into a kaleidoscopic wonder, which also happens to make it double as a lesson in how symmetry works for all those science and math fans out there.
The New Yorker famously featured a cover digitally painted with Brushes, one of the most critically-lauded apps for artists featuring one of the widest arrays of the most detailed, customizable artistic tools available on any smartphone.
Try MyPaint Free when looking for something a little less intensive than Brushes, but still terrifically fun. Whether starting off with a blank slate or a photo from the gallery, it provides plenty of opportunities to let creativity sparkle through.
Typography makes for a wonderful, though so often sadly overlooked, medium. TypeDrawing celebrates it by letting budding designers play around with the way words visually exist and play off one another.
Great for travelers and anyone learning another language, consider the following when needing to communicate with native speakers, learn and practice vocabulary and grammar, and master proper pronunciation.
When traveling abroad, talking to a native speaker in-town, or looking to bolster vocabulary and grammar in over 50 languages, look to the terribly convenient iTranslate. An additional 20 languages receive audio support!
Anyone learning Spanish, Italian, French, German, Latin, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, and/or Arabic might want to think about downloading this incredible app packed with a constantly growing library of vocabulary words.
Because the Free Translate app sits right on top of Google Translate, language learners looking to phase from one to another (or another!) can loop up a confusing word or phrase with ease.
For $2.99, iPhone users needing a translator with voice support incoming and outgoing have one of the best smartphone language tools at their disposal.
Create vocabulary flashcards and audio recordings for self-quizzes in the more than 100 languages Lexicon supports.
The World Nomads Language Guide suite covers 25 languages so far, each of them targeting travelers hoping to remain safe and secure during their globetrotting adventures.
Suitable for travelers and language learners alike, the iSpeak apps — of which there are many in multiple tongues — acts as a both a translator and a great way to soak up some quick lessons in common words and phrases.
The 45 languages Byki covers so all come relayed through recorded discussions with native speakers, Twitter synch, and dictionaries of more than 1,000 vocabulary words. In addition, iPhone owners with the app enabled also enjoy self-assessment tools to help them keep track of their progress.
All of the Gengo WordPower series by Innovative Language Learning, LLC focus on vocabulary building through multimedia flash cards, audio, and pronunciation exercises — complete with progress bar!
Type in a word to see the corresponding sign pop up, or review the alphabet and numbers needed to succeed in American Sign Language.
Because an organized education is probably a less stressful education, try some of these apps to make study time roll on just a wee bit easier!
No matter how many devices gadget heads must juggle at any given time, Evernote makes it easy for them to synch their documents and never lose track of notes, reminders, homework, and anything else they deem crucial.
Stay organized and compartmentalized (Hey! Kind of like a bento!) with this digital personal assistant, which helps with keeping things on schedule, storing supported documents, drawing up easy reminders, and every other hallmark of a streamlined existence.
Diligent students will hopefully never miss turning in another assignment if they keep track of all their upcoming papers, worksheets, projects, quizzes, and exams in myHomework.
Despite the name, Google Search provides way more than just the engine what made it famous. Downloading the app also means on-the-go access to Docs, Google+, Gmail, Calendar, and most of its usual suite.
Create, edit, download, and view documents supported by Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, though some features might not be available on some programs. All the same, though, Documents To Go is a cross-platform essential for students and professionals alike.
Thanks to Instapaper, that interesting article posted to a favorite blog or website doesn’t have to get lost along with the wi-fi! Save online pages for offline viewing and never miss something potentially important again — especially if a boss, client, or teacher loves posting resources to blogs, websites, or social media.
Fire up the Student’s Little Helper (well, aside from caffeine, anyways) and preserve precious time for studying rather than seeking out wireless hot spots.
It’s the perfect organizer for those who think organizers waste entirely too much time — and features some pretty sweet synch capabilities, too!
Keep track of what apps might be sucking away at that batter life with this incredibly useful tool that ensures users might not miss another notification, study group phone call, or event.
Store and transfer files between different devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network with the super handy Discover.