If you’re like most people, you have a smart phone with more computing power than was used to go to the moon with you all the time. You probably play words with friends, or angry birds on it in between text messages and emails. I do, too. However, one thing I have learned is that the phone can be used to educate myself as well as entertain. Here are the top 5 educational apps I use all the time.
This app does exactly what its title suggests: it translates statements from one language to another. It has a wide variety of potential languages. It will also write the comments out in the second language, and, depending on the language, speak them aloud. This means if you are ever stuck in a foreign country without the ability to speak the language, you can get someone to read or hear what you want to say to him or her easily. In addition, if you are trying to learn a language, you can hear properly pronounced language.
This app allows you to download and listen to university lectures from a wide variety of schools on a large variety of topics. I have been using it to take the class Philosophy for Beginners. The topics are as in depth as an introductory class at the university level, or even possibly a bit more so. They also have high school topics such as algebra, and several foreign language options.
3. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a website which also has an app. The idea is that you can review or learn any topic from high school. While you probably graduated from high school years ago, do you really remember algebra? This app will remind you of all the math and science you once knew, and also includes social studies. The website has math lessons, but the app has science and history lessons you can watch for free. I have been reviewing 8th grade math, and it is amazing how much I have forgotten!
This app is free but requires a paid subscription. Fortunately, many libraries throughout the country pay the subscription for you. The app is specifically for learning foreign languages, and it has an amazing variety of languages from Irish to Hebrew to Latin. Personally, I think it is better than Rosetta Stone for one important reason: it offers explanations of grammatical points in English.
Duolingo is probably the best foreign-language-learning program I have found. The only problem with it is that the selection of languages is very limited. I have been using it to review Spanish grammar and vocabulary, and I love it. In addition to immediately teaching relevant phrases that you will actually use, if you use it on the phone instead of the computer, it has speaking lessons and will correct your pronunciation.