What are the Best Educational Apps?

There are so many apps in the Education category of the App Store, but trying to discover new apps can be time-consuming and unrewarding. The App Store has tried to offer different options for discovery but with the sheer number of education apps available it is easy to spend hours trawling through hundreds of unrated apps as you try to work out which ones are worth downloading.

Here we’ve tried to take the work out of discovering the best educational apps by compiling a list of the top apps for use in education:

Best Educational Apps 2012

Khan Academy
Average rating in App Store: 5/5
Cost: FREE

“Really informative, easy to understand and great for upcoming tests.”
“Superb. This is the best education app ever.”

Khan Academy educational app

The makers of this app say “Khan Academy allows you to learn almost anything for free.” There does seem to be a vast array of topics covered in the 3,000 plus videos on the app. You can learn maths, biology, chemistry, physics, finance, history…. Ideal for students, teachers or for adult education.

Features to check out:
  • You can download your videos to watch offline.
  • Track your progress.

London – A City Through Time
Average rating in App Store: 4.5/5
Cost: £9.99

“Worth buying an iPad for!”
“A must-have iPad app.”

London a City Through Time educational app

Part coffee table book, part guide, part map; London – A City Through Time demonstrates in full interactive glory 2,000 years of London’s history. So detailed that everyone will discover something new with this app.

Features to check out:
  • The history timelines.
  • Historical photographs of London.
  • Maps of the city.
  • Commentary.
  • 3D drawings of London’s great buildings.
  • Audio recordings.

Star Walk for iPad – interactive astronomy guide
Average rating in App Store: 4.5/5
Cost: £2.99

“THIS APP IS AWESOME... really cool and educational.”
“Best graphics and info you can get. Must have!!!”

Star Walk for iPad eucational app

Great for stargazers. You point your iPad at the sky and this educational app tells you what you are looking at. It labels the constellations, stars and satellites. Apple Design Award-winning graphics, loads of educational content including events and the best thing is that you don’t even need an internet connection.

Features to check out:
  • Night mode: ever wanted night vision? Now you can!
  • Satellite tracking.
  • Calendar of events – plan your stargazing in advance.
  • Searching for a particular star – this app will find it for you.
  • Connect to a big screen to view the night sky on a separate display.

Wordflex Touch Dictionary
Average rating in App Store: 5/5
Cost: £11.99

“This app itself is a reason to own an iPad.”
“One of those ‘wow’ apps…”

Wordflex Touch Dictionary educational app

Wordflex is for everyone who loves words. Explore up to 2 million language nodes in this dictionary/thesaurus combo. Developed in association with Oxford University Press, this app takes the idea of mind mapping to the next level. This is an interactive reference book that allows easy navigation through a tree-like structure for a fun, tactile exploration of language.

Features to check out:
  • Audio pronunciations of words.
  • Tree-based view for easy navigation between entries.
  • Flexible search.
  • Print out or share ‘word posters’ via email, Twitter, Facebook.

TapQuiz Maps World Edition
Average rating in App Store: 4.5/5
Cost: FREE

“Great fun. Loved playing this for a quick general knowledge update!”
“Super! Fantastic game and you learn really fast.”

This is a fun and interactive game to teach you the countries of the world. Questions appear on the map, and you can tap the correct answer. A statistics page keeps track of your score so you can see how far you’ve come. A fun way to learn geography!

Features to check out:
  • Discovery mode: a tool to help you memorise country names.
  • Tap and Type: try to fill out the map yourself with country names. Receive stars for correct answers.

Average rating in App Store: 4.5/5
Cost: FREE

“Everyone should download this app.”
“This is a truly amazing source of both information and inspirational speakers.”
“Worth the price of the iPad.”

TED educational app

Listen to talks by inspiring people, from the comfort of your sofa. This app covers a variety of topics including business, science, technology, education and music. This is a library of over 1,000 videos of the world’s most influential speakers. You can watch them even when offline. Now there’s no need to ever go to a conference again.

Features to check out:
  • Download talks to watch later.
  • Send the talks to your home entertainment system to watch them on the big screen.
  • Share favourites with your friends.

The Design Museum Collection for iPad

Average rating in App Store: 4.5/5
Cost: FREE

“A well-designed app with a wealth of examples for all students of design.”
“This is a must-have app for anyone interested in design.”

Design Museum Collection for iPad educational app

Make a visit to London’s Design Museum without leaving the house. London's Design Museum has taken 59 remarkable objects from their collection and explored them through video, photography, text and images. Icons such as the British telephone box, the Apple computer and the Kindle are looked at in detail.

Features to check out:
  • Video commentary from Deyan Sudjic, Design Museum Director.
  • Vertical and horizontal scrolling through the available pieces.

Revision App – The Ultimate Revision Tool

Average rating in App Store: 4/5
Cost: FREE

“Good selection of flashcards”

Revision App the ultimate revision tool educational app

The ultimate revision tool covering history, maths, English, business studies, chemistry, economics…. Suitable for GCSE, A-Level, university and college. This is a great educational app for revising while you’re travelling – no need to carry heavy books around.

Features to check out:
  • Over 1 million revision notes and flashcards.
  • Save your cards in your own folder.

Take your pick from this list of the best educational apps – many of the top apps are free. Educational resources have never been so much fun. Students love the interactive nature of apps and the engaging nature of video in their learning. BBC Active has a range of videos for use in education that covers all subjects from business and the arts to science and technology.