It's almost August, and that means the beginning of a new school year is just around the corner. Maybe you're thrilled; more likely, though, all those lazy days of summer vacation have left you feeling like you don't know much about history, biology, or that foreign language you took. So we've assembled a motley collection of educational apps to give you a head start on the school year. Heck, even parents (who are, of course, already expert on all subjects) could probably find some interesting tidbits among these apps.
1. World Atlas HD
Download:World Atlas HD
If you think free maps on the Internet leave something to be desired, the National Geographic Society's World Atlas HD app might be the app for you. It lets you search high-resolution world maps; you choose whether to view them in classic style, with an antique look, or in satellite form. Consult details for specific countries, including land area, population, languages spoken, major religions, type of government, and natural resources. World Atlas HD is available for iPad.
This app is designed to provide easy access to Wikipedia from your smartphone or tablet. You can bookmark individual entries and sections within an entry, or perform a dictionary search within Wikipedia without leaving the page you're consulting. Wikipanion is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
3. Math Formulas — Reference Guide
Download:Math Formulas — Reference Guide
No more scrawling down mathematical formulas on little scraps of paper; this app remembers them all for you. Formulas are sorted by mathematical discipline (geometry, calculus, algebra and so on), and most are accompanied by examples of how they're used. This app is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
4. PocketCas Lite Free
Download:PocketCas Lite Free
The developers of this app promise that with its help, "you will be able to solve almost every mathematical problem you can imagine." We're drooling already. Essentially, the app turns your device into a sophisticated graphing calculator. You can solve complex equations using the embedded functions from calculus, algebra, linear algebra and applied mathematics. PocketCas Lite Free is available for iPhone and iPad.
This foreign language app is available for learners of more than a dozen languages, including Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. Its features include flash cards, quizzes, and audio clips of a native speaker pronouncing vocabulary words. The app's available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
6. Frog Dissection
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Frog dissection is a classic high school biology experience. To practice for the big day (or to allow parents to relive their own frog dissections without the smell of formaldehyde), check out this award-winning app. Besides virtually dissecting a frog using the proper tools, you can learn about different types of frogs and their life cycles. There's also an interactive quiz. This app is available for iPad.
As the name implies, this app contains the complete works of Shakespeare — 41 plays, 154 sonnets and six poems — all fully searchable for the words of your choice. There's also a glossary of Shakespearean terms, a section devoted to notable quotes, and a gallery of portraits of the Bard. The Shakespeare app is available for iPhone and iPad.
8. The Chemical Touch
Download: The Chemical Touch
The Chemical Touch app offers an interactive periodic table and detailed information on each element's properties, as well as more technical chemistry topics that we, quite frankly, don't totally understand. But we imagine it would be fascinating to budding chemists. The Chemical Touch is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
9. Skrambler X
A solid option for art history buffs is the Skrambler X game. The app helps you unscramble paintings by more than 30 famous artists including Degas, Rembrandt and Van Eyck. It's a good mental workout, and poring over the images provides a painless way to learn about each artist's signature subjects, colors and brushstrokes. Skrambler X is available for iPad.
10. Easel SAT Prep Lite
Download:Easel SAT Prep Lite
If you're studying for the SAT, this prep app could come in handy. It consists of a sample workbook with three sections, just like the real SAT. Each section has 25 questions which you can answer by scribbling on the blank space provided. If you find yourself stuck, a limited number of questions have a ShowMe feature that lets you watch a step-by-step demo of how to tackle that item. Easel SAT Prep Lite is available for iPad.
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