The idea, then, of encouraging them to spend more time on their iPhone and less time in the ‘real’ world may be met with a few raised eyebrows; but there so many excellent opportunities for creative stimulation and educational cultivation offered by apps that we’d be remiss not to give them a chance. Fear not: this isn’t a ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ scenario – far from it. Instead, by taking advantage of our top learning apps for secondary school children, you can turn your teenager’s tablet time into something productive, useful, and thoroughly engaging.
A truly innovative app series covering a variety of different plays – from Macbeth to Romeo and Juliet – this platform offers a ‘multimedia’ approach to the Bard. The price-tag of £14.99 might make parents balk at first, but the offering is very comprehensive, encompassing character profiles, scene descriptions and summaries, quote collections, and more. There are even highlighted words that users can click on to gain deeper understanding into the meaning, thematic significance and historical, social and cultural context of the relevant phrase.
Finally – and best of all – each play is brought to life by animations of each scene, which not only draw the user into the world of the play in an imaginative, gripping way, but also allow users to follow the text as it’s being spoken with ease (thanks to lines that are highlighted in red and flash up).
A well-considered, creative app that will help even the most disinterested student strive for Shakespearean success.
What better way to teach one of algebra’s most fundamental principles – the notion of balance – than by turning it into a game? Dragonbox Algebra cleverly does just that, by encouraging users to drag and drop objects onto either side of a diagram. Objects can then be tapped to disappear so that the dragon in the box, which resides on one side of the diagram, ‘grows’. As users become more confident and unlock more levels, they progress through the game, learning all the time that what happens on one side of an equation must also happen on the other.
The game structure is such that users will naturally want to keep going – it’s imaginative and fun – whilst feeling able to progress at their own pace. The traditional practice mode is a great feature, too, and allows students to practice what they’ve learned with actual equations.
An app that is acclaimed for its ability to restore focus – recently ranked among the top five productivity apps on Apple’s App Store in 85 countries – as well as having enormous benefits in terms of mindfulness, Forest is a unique platform that helps students improve concentration and stay away from their phone. Sorry, an app that encourages users to get off their phone? Yes, you heard us right.
This well-designed app, marketed by Shaokan Pi, allows users to grow a virtual forest – all they have to do is stay away from their phone during the designated times. To cultivate your coniferous kingdom, you simply set the timer, plant a seed, and step away so it can grow. Provided that you don’t fiddle with your phone until the time is up, your tree will continue to grow.
As an additional bonus, there’s a real-world benefit: the bigger your forest grows, the more likely you are to be able to earn virtual currency that can purchase real trees for planting (these trees are planted through the non-profit company, Trees for the Future, which is based in Maryland).
So, if you’re looking for a socially-responsible app that will boost a person’s productivity, improve focus and encourage them to take a well-needed break from staring at their phone screen, this thoughtful, unique platform could be the perfect solution.