A common misconception we all have is that our smartphones and education are disproportional to each other. Whenever we think of smartphones (smartphone apps to be precise) we think of apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the most hated of them all, VIDEO GAMES.
I’m not gonna lie. I was guilty of this as well.
Then I did a little bit of digging in the play store. In my quest, I found many educational apps. So, I tried almost 10 of them and found that only a handful of them was actually what one can call “Educational”.
So, I was wondering maybe you people are also looking for something of this sort. Hence, I’ve compiled a list of 5 best educational apps for Android that are worth a shot.
A quick note: Please keep in mind that the following reviews are not in any specific order. I used each of them for more than few months before putting my experience on paper (Okay, on this website).
Top 5 Best Educational Apps for Android
The following apps I’m about to review are representative a general view of my thoughts. Please keep in mind they all have some differences. Some of them are catered towards teachers, some are for students. There’s no “Get One Get All” deal here.
However, I’ll mention which of them are educational apps for teacher and which ones are the best choices for the students.
So, without any further ado, let’s dive straight into the discussions.
EdX: Useful, Convenient,s and Easy to Use
Let’s get one thing right out of the way. The UI of EdX is just stupendously awesome. Just install the app yourself and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s clean, modern yet classic. More importantly, it does not get in your way.
EdX does a great job at following material design guidelines. Kudos to them for that.
Getting started with this app is plain and simple. Just register with an email or Facebook account and you’ll get a welcome screen that’ll give you a quick tour of the app. But this tour is kind of unnecessary in my opinion.
I’m not saying it’s bad. The app itself is so simple and intuitive that you don’t even need a tour to find things here. After signing up, just search for courses or go to the discover menu to find the trending or featured courses.
The best thing about EdX is that it doesn’t offer courses from professionals.
How’s that any good you ask?
Well, it actually does an even better job with the courses on offer. The courses they provide are literally from different colleges.
How cool is that?
Well, it’s not like you’ll get a Harvard degree by doing these courses. However, I believe it gives us a huge opportunity to learn or at the very least know what the top colleges are teaching there.
They also provide programming and different computer science courses from tech giants like IBM, Nvidia etc. If you are a tech nerd and into coding, programming, and app development, you are most definitely in for a treat.
They give you an option for self-paced learning (in some courses) as well. You can take things however you like. Take it slow or fast, it’s totally up to you.
With their latest update, they’ve added the option for offline courses.
All this is 100% free of cost.
So, you are getting premium quality online courses from renowned colleges and franchises for free. What more could you ask for?
This Android app is most definitely one of the best learning apps for students. If you are pursuing a higher degree, please do try this one out. You’ll not regret it.
Khan Academy: Great App for Students
I don’t think this one needs an introduction. If you’ve been doing some math lately or been digging YouTube for some quality educational content, chances are you already know who Salman Khan is (no, not the Bollywood star. The other Salman Khan).
I’m talking about the owner of the Android version of the famous YouTube channel Khan Academy. Yes, they have an app on Playstore as well.
The UI and UX of this app are great as you’d expect. It has a card based materialized look which is just incredible. Also, you don’t need sign in to see the contents.
However, you can sign in via email, Facebook or Google+ to create a profile. I do suggest you create one as this will help you in the long run.
Currently, they have a ginormous 10,000+ videos on different topics. Let that sink in for a moment.
Heck! Many of the top-tier YouTube channels don’t have that many tutorials.
Khan Academy covers a wide range of subjects when It comes to educational contents. From mathematics to history, economics, science. You name it. They have something for almost everyone.
One thing that I find amazing is the separate kids’ section in the app. They have a dedicated kindergarten section that includes basic math and geometry. It’s really refreshing to see that they have put out some thoughts for the kids as well.
Via this app, you can learn new things or brush up those rusty old memories of yours.
The reason behind the success and fame of Khan Academy is their business philosophy. They believe education should free for all. Money should never be a barrier towards education (much love to you guys at khan academy).
This ideology led them to a place where foundations/company like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google are supporting them immensely. Much love to Bill and other as well.
Khan Academy is a “Must-Try” education app for learners. Specially, if you are into mathematics.
Wolfram Alpha: Math is Love
Wolfram Alpha is another great app for learning. It’s originally known for solving tough mathematical problems with step by step guide. But the android version of this app covers more than a dozen other categories. I could find History and Geography in there among others.
I’ve got to tell you; the Math part is just too good. You can do linear algebra, Matrix operation, differentiation, Integration, partial derivatives etc. Just name your question and you’ll find the answer. What’s more amazing about this app is that it gives a complete walkthrough of the problem.
There are websites calling it the best educational app for the students of mathematics hands down! However, there are some drawbacks with this app over the web version.
For starters, it’s a paid app. I guess they have a different ideology than Khan Academy.
I get it. You need to generate revenue to keep this app running and relevant.
So, yeah! You can do whatever you want with your app.
But still, it feels corny to me when I see a paid app that is targeted for educational purposes (again, it’s totally up to them. I’m just saying, you know).
Another issue I had with this app is that it’s slow as hell.
While we at Androidista were running some integral calculations, it took me about a minute or two to get the solution whereas the same problem took me less than 5 seconds on the web version of Wolfram Alpha (FYI I rechecked my connection. There was no issue with the WIFI).
Another heads-up I would like to give you guys is that this app certainly has a stiff learning curve. So, give it a try. If you get frustrated take a pause. Don’t go all out and uninstall the app if you can’t figure out something at the first glance. Trust me you won’t regret it.
Udacity: Free Stuff with a Little Bit of Catch in It
Udacity is a competitive app that is available in the app store. They take things very seriously. This is the first app in my list that is targeted for both students and teachers. They provide courses with very in-depth and specific lessons.
Their Nano-Degree program is a gem! It works just like a boot camp. You complete a course and get a certificate as a proof.
What’s more amazing about Udacity is that they provide courses from tech giants like Google, Facebook etc. You get to learn directly from the engineers of Google and Facebook. Isn’t that just incredible?
However, there’s a catch.
While rest of the courses in this app are totally free of cost, the ones that offer a Nano degree are not (like the ones I mentioned above). They take a reasonable sum of money and then let you go through the tutorials and class notes.
Of course, these courses are of a higher standard than the rest and also catered towards a very niche demographics.
From what I gathered after using this app for more than 2 days, this app is generally targeted for computer science students or teachers. In many countries (I won’t name them) teachers follow the exact same course outline as the courses available in Udacity. That should be a clear implication of the quality of the courses.
Now you might be thinking, it can’t all be that good, right? There has to be some sort of caveat to all this goodness.
And I would say, correct you are (in Yoda’s voice)!
The current version of this app is super buggy. Random crashes, quizzes closing automatically, checkboxes in the quiz not working, and getting random errors while searching for courses are some of the main issues I faced.
The developers are working on fixing all this soon. Hopefully, by the next update, things will get better with the app. Nonetheless, this is a great app for learning.
Ready 4 GRE: GRE for all
This is the first app in the list that is tailored towards everyone. Even if you are not getting into the GRE exams, this app can still be of some help to you.
I’ve been using this app for more than a month now and I’ve come to like it. This is the only app in the list I’ve been using for more than a month and also most extensively.
When you are done with the signup process, you are redirected straight to the dashboard of the app. There you’ll find a huge flowchart describing how to proceed.
Every section is divided into two parts. Verbal and Quant. At the top of the toolbar will find your progress bar. This shows how much effort they’ve put into the app.
After completion of each section, you unlock the next section and your progress indicator updates.
The most useful feature of this app is the estimated score at the top. This shows people how they are doing and how much effort they need to put in to get better at the GRE game.
This app even tells you the schools you might land depending upon your current estimated score. This lets you know where you currently stand.
Oh! Did I forget to mention the fact that 4GRE also provides a scholarship program? A free app that allows you to apply for a scholarship. Things don’t get any better than this.
Here’s what I’d suggest you people to do: Follow the skill tree and try improving your skills accordingly. Trust me the results are amazing. I wasn’t doing very good at the start. But then I focused more on the skill tree and my current standing are pretty decent in my opinion.
Give it a shot. You’ll definitely like it.
Why Bother using These Apps?
There’s no denying that cell phones are pretty addictive.
We spent hours daily with our cell phones using social media apps and video games. What I would say (especially for kids) is to limit your usages of these apps.
Even Google wants you to stop using Instagram for too long (wink! wink!). Hence, they are providing the digital well-being in their latest version of Android.
So, why not spend the time while doing something productive?
Educational apps that are mentioned above are really fun to use and rewards you with points and XPs. Why not take them as a game and complete the skill trees as boss battles? Or an Instagram post That gets more likes?
If you take it as a game and treat the in-app profile as social media profile, you’ll definitely benefit from them. Also, some apps like 4GRE, allow you to compete with other people online (think of this as a multiplayer battle in an online game).
After all, as Nelson Mandela said –
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
After going through my experiences with all the aforementioned apps, I’ve come to the conclusion that smartphones and education do in fact go hand in hand (provided you have the tools for them).
As promised I’ll now mention my top two picks that I believe are the best educational apps for Android.
Winner: EdX (Just because of the number of quality courses they have and also being free)
1st Runner Up: Khan Academy (As I agree with their philosophy of education being free for all)
Don’t get me wrong, all the other apps are great as well. I just liked these two the most.
So, what are your thoughts on these 5 apps? Which one is your winner and why? Feel free to let your thoughts be known in the comment section below.