Ah, the 90s, when computers were only good for Word Perfect, Minesweeper, and whatever "edutainment" software the school had budgeted for this year. One of the standouts among some pretty decent educational games was Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, a series of puzzles centering around the titular tiny Smurf-like critters. If you have fond memories of that game, or later entries in the series, mosey on over to the Play Store. A new and updated version is now available for download.
You don't need an introduction to Fruit Ninja. You're probably playing it right now. It has attracted millions of players over the years, partly because swiping to cut things on a touchscreen is as intuitive as pressing A to jump.
So developer Halfbrick Studios has taken the same concept and adapted it for small people who are learning math for the first time. You don't just cut bananas, you cut the right amount of them. It's not enough to split a watermelon in half. You want to slice the one showing the correct answer.
Math problems at the top of the screen will inform you which way to swing your finger sword.
Through the Google Play for Education platform, Google has brought Android tablets to schools throughout parts of the US, along with the apps teachers require to put the hardware to use in their classrooms. Now the search giant is expanding the offering to the UK, including software that caters to the country's curriculum.
Treehouse is another one of those online education platforms people can use to get some learning done without having to set foot inside of a classroom. This particular company focuses on providing people with the knowledge needed to design their own apps and websites. To aid in its goal to reach a tech-savvy crowd, it has released an Android app into the Play Store that provides access to much of its content.
Treehouse offers over 1000 educational videos about topics ranging from creating software and designing sites to handling the business side of things. It tests knowledge through quizzes and provides space to code directly within the app.
Time flies. Summer is almost over and the new school year is upon us. While you may have spent your last months indulging in our 5 entertainment and boredom-curing apps, it's time to fire up your neurons again and use the video medium for more than gushing and awing at the latest cute kitties. Whether you're going back to school, university, or you graduated a long time ago but are still interested in learning new skills, the following selection of apps should provide you with enough grey matter-moulding content to last you years.
Tynker made waves back in March when the developers released the teaching app on the iPad. It introduces children (or anyone, I suppose) to the basic principles of coding and programming. Tynker was available on the web before that, teaching extremely basic programming with a puzzle-style visual interface and pre-made tools. The Android app is only available on tablets, which makes sense given the format, and it costs $4.99 with no in-app purchases.
Tynker won't teach your kids how to code C++ or Java overnight - it's more about learning to think and establish work patterns that roughly approximate programming to get kids interested.
Lynda.com likes to teach people things, and it prefers to do so using moving pictures. So like any video-centric Android app worth its salt, it's now introducing Chromecast support. This way viewers can take those course videos and toss them up onto a larger screen than the one resting on their laps.
It takes a certain amount of discipline to soldier through multiple course videos, so having the option to sit back and relax is a pretty big deal. That said, this isn't all the update has to offer. The app now lets users resume a video where they left off previously, and there are personalized course recommendations to point them towards new material.
When it comes time to learn a new language on a mobile device (what, you haven't?), Duolingo is the first that comes to mind. But let's say you've completed everything that app has to offer - what then? Lingua.ly has arrived for Android, and it's ready to help newcomers learn any of over twenty languages.
There are many Android developers out there who regularly crank out well-designed apps with thousands of downloads, but some of them are less obvious than others. The American Red Cross is one of those developers. Its apps aren't the most exciting things, but they're probably the only ones on your smartphone that could save your life - or, in this case, your kid's. The American Red Cross Swim app is a companion piece of software that wants to help guide you through the process of helping your kid learn how to swim, so they know how to stay afloat when the time comes to dive in.
Bjork's Biophilia part-album, part-app is an educational experience that teaches kids both about music and the natural sciences. That it helps prevent risky behavior by giving youth a chance to experience an acid trip without doing drugs is an added perk. At some point there appears to be a dis-embodied pelvis making love with the moon, suggesting that some type of abstract sexual education may have slipped in as well. Now all of this is available in the Play Store, two years after Biophilia's iOS debut.
These first impressions may be misleading, as the experience has already spread throughout cities across the world via the Biophilia Educational Program.