This post has a list of educational apps for Android phones and tablets that I have discovered. I can’t claim that each app is the best for it’s purpose, but I’ve tested out each one and found it to be useful.
I am separating the lists into apps that have full functionality when offline and those which require Internet access. Sometimes it’s handy to be able to load up your phone with apps that you can use later when there’s no net access.
Quick Apps that Don’t Need Internet Access
Here are some apps that can be quickly used without much prior knowledge and without Internet access.
- The Google developed (and open sourced) sky map shows the positions of stars, planets, and the moon. This is really good for teaching astronomy, and also handy when you want to find something in the sky.
- The olianet app for the CIA World Factbook has a handy overview of information on all countries.
- The Smart Ruler app is handy and so are all the other apps from the same company. While not strictly educational measuring things is generally involved in a lot of education.
- The SK Inc 3D Solar system app provides information on the planets and nice graphics. There are a bunch of similar apps but this one seems reasonably good.
- The Ape Strobe light app is the best strobe app I’ve found. While the flashing speed is limited (probably by Android hardware) it is fast enough for some purposes.
- The AndroSensor app is one of many apps that reads all Android sensors and graphs the output, but it seemed better than the others last time I compared.
- The 3D Brain app has a lot of information about the human brain with nice 3D views. Downloads 14M of data the first time you use it and then needs no net access.
- 4D Anatomy is a Augmented Reality program that displays an annotated image of a human body over a picture. It comes with a view of an entire body (male or female) and a human heart.
- Wind Simulator simulates a 2D wind-tunnel. While the lack of 3D support is an obvious limitation it does show the concepts well.
Quick Apps that Need Internet Access
Here are some apps that are easy to use but require Internet access.
- Satellite AR is an augmented reality app that shows the locations of satellites on top of what the camera registers (either the sky or your ceiling). This is really interesting.
- Google Earth. See the Earth in an easy way.
- Climatology from MS shows you the climate in different parts of the world.
- The FindShip app shows you where ships are. Every ship has an electronic beacon that broadcasts it’s GPS location, some volunteers on shore capture that data – so you can only find a ship that’s near to shore.
More Complex Apps
- C:Geo – geo-caching app. Geo-caching teaches people about navigating and improves their skills at finding things in the bush.
- AutoCAD 360 AKA AutoCAD WS is a free version of the most famous CAD program. While it’s not specifically an educational program it can be used for education. Also see the links to similar apps and other apps from AutoDesk.
- The Augment app gives an augmented reality view of an object. It’s interesting and slightly educational.
- The Landscape AR program allows you to photograph a countour map which is then displayed as a 3D AR image.
- The Sunlight Foundation “Congress” app allows you to track the US congress and senate. While this is most relevant to US citizens it’s also of use for the rest of us given the power that US government has over the rest of the world.
- Priju Paul’s “House Debates” app allows you to read speeches in the Australian parliament and senate. Unlike the Sunlight Foundation app it doesn’t allow you to track bills or representatives. The Sunlight Foundation app has lots of features that should be included in an app for tracking any other democratic government.
- The Google Cardboard project allows you to use an Android phone in a similar way to an Oculus Rift 3D headset. It comes with a number of examples including one of the palace in Versailles (which counts as education about French history).
- The Wikimedia Commons app allows you to upload your photos for use in Wikipedia etc. While this isn’t inherently educational it can be used for educational purposes.
- Every Circuit – teaches you how circuits work
- Pocket isn’t inherently educational, it’s for sharing documents for reading on multiple devices. But it can be used in many ways for education.
- The NASA app gives lots of information about space etc
Classes of Common Apps
There are some educational related categories of apps where there are many apps performing similar tasks, so instead of trying to find one app that could be claimed to be best I’ll just list what you can search for in the Android market. If you know of one particular app in some category that stands out then let me know.
- “Wikipedia”. There are many apps that read Wikipedia online that work in different ways and none of them really satisfy me. But you need to have one of them.
- “Conway’s Life” is the classic cellular automata game.
- “Bridge construction” games are good for teaching some principles of engineering. There are many such games with slightly different features.
- A “graphing” calculator. In the olden days a graphing calculator cost $100 or more, now there is a range of free apps to do it. Some apps only support a single graph, but apart from that they all seem OK.
- “Fractal” generating programs can be educational, but only if you have some idea of the maths behind them.
- “Stop motion” generation programs, also “gif creator” can find some good matches. I haven’t been really satisfied with any of the programs I’ve tried, but some have worked well enough for my needs. Let me know if you find a really good one.