The new school year is upon us, which means it's time to go back to school and hit the books! Lucky for us, the iPhone and iPad are excellent devices, not only for study time but right in the classroom. From storing important files, to learning math and chemistry, to writing papers, to taking notes, and even staying safe, there are many apps in the App Store to help you go back to school and get your learning on. And iMore is here to show you the very A+ selections, the perfect 4.0s -- the very best apps for education.
Before we jump into the education-specific apps, we must bring up Dropbox for iPhone and iPad, the app that everyone should have and that many of the apps mentioned in this article will integrate with. Students these days have dozens of files that they have to save and reference throughout the semester, and Dropbox is the perfect app for keeping these files not only organized, but accessible from any device. A free Dropbox account offers 2 GB of storage which is more than enough for a student. Seriously, Dropbox is a must-have -- get it now.
iStudiez is an iPhone and iPad app that is perfect for keeping track of your class schedule, due dates, homework assignments, and more. As an important date approaches, iStudiez will send you notifications to remind you about the project or assignment that is due or when a class is going to start soon. iStudiez Pro will help you stay organized during the school year -- something that many students regularly struggle with.
The free version of iStudiez limits you to managing 1 semester, 3 courses, 5 classes per course, 7 assignments, 5 instructors, and 2 holiday periods.
Khan Academy is one of the best products of education and the internet, and with the Khan Academy app for the iPad, you will have free access to over 2700 videos on topics ranging from kindergarten, advanced science, humanities, history, and more. Even more, you can download the videos to watch offline, keep up with what the teach is saying with organized captions, and earn achievements as you learn.
With school comes lots of studying. One of the most common studying techniques is to use flashcards. With the free Flashcards+ app for iPhone and iPad, you can say goodbye to the stacks and stacks of flashcards that accumulate over the course of a semester and use electronic flashcards on your iPhone or iPad instead. The beauty of Flashcards+ is that you have your flash cards with you wherever you go, which means you'll likely squeeze in more mini study lessons throughout your day and end up with better grades as a result!
CaptureNotes 2 is the iPad note-taking app that is designed specifically for students. In addition to the ability to take handwritten notes (most likely with a stylus), CaptuerNotes 2 also lets you record audio (to, say, record the lecture) and take photos that can be directly added to your notes. You can also import PDF's and annotate them with your own handwriting or highlights. There are a lot of different note-taking and PDF-annotating apps out there, but CaptureNotes 2 is a great one for students because it lets you organize your work into custom notebooks and binders.
SparkNotes is one of the most popular study guides for literature, Shakespeare, poetry, philosophy, drama and short stories. With the free SparkNotes for iPhone app you can access 50 pre-installed study guides in your library and hundreds of study guides online. You can also check-in at the place you're studying and indicate what subject your studying which could then result in impromptu study sessions with other SparkNotes users studying the same subject at the same place at the same time.
With school, comes essays, and Pages is a great word processing app for iPhone and iPad to help you with those writing this essays. Even more, if you have Mac with OS X Mountain Lion, you can sync your work over iCloud -- start your essay on your iPad at school, make some changes with your iPhone while waiting for your drink at Starbucks, and finish up on your Mac at home!
Taking a Chemistry class? Then The Elements: A Visual Exploration for iPad is a must-have! This app not only provides you with The Periodic Table of Elements, but lets you experience it. The Elements is a living periodic table where every element is shown with a smoothly rotating sample that can be interacted with. The artwork and photography is phenomenal and contributes to making you want to learn about the elements. Seriously.
Are you taking a Biology class? The you probably want to check out Anatomy & Physiology REVEALED: Skeletal & Muscular for iPad. It will help you learn the skeletal and muscular systems of the human body and features a beautiful layered UI that is jam packed with over 5,000 anatomical structures, videos, and animations. You get to peel away layers of the human body to reveal all structures. You can also explore interactive slides to learn microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues, correlate dissected human anatomy with quality histology and radiologic images, and watch high quality videos and animations that demonstrate muscle actions, joint movements, and anatomical relationships, and the animations integrate physiologic function. When you're ready to test your knowledge, Anatomy & Physiology REVEALED will quiz your ability to identify anatomical structures.
If you're a student taking a math class, there's a good chance you could benefit from a graphing calculator. Unfortunately, such devices are very expensive, but the good news is that there are several app solutions for your iPhone and iPad -- the best being Quick Graph. It lets you graph multiple equations at the same time, change their color, trace along them, and more. Quick Graph supports both 2D and 3D graphing in rectangular and polar forms.
Wolfram Alpha is one of the biggest educational resources available on the web. It's most commonly known for it's usefulness for math students, but it also features a lot of helpful information in other sciences, statistics, history, culture, media, medicine, technology, linguistics, engineering and much more. The WolframAlpha app for iPhone and iPad provides a great interface for searching this huge pool of information. In particular, the keyboard includes common mathematical symbols that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible to type out otherwise.
Unfortunately, we live in an unsafe world and crimes on college campuses are not uncommon. iHelpPlus for iPhone is a personal alarm, panic button and ICE emergency contact information app that's filled with a lot of helpful tools to prioritize your safety, my favorite one being the delayed alarm. With the delayed alarm, you can set a custom alarm that will send a distress message to the contacts of your choice if it's not disable in time. For example, if you're taking a night class and it typically takes you 10 minutes to walk to your car, you can set an alarm that will alert your emergency contact in 15 minutes unless you turn it off by then. It's a minor inconvenience that could potentially save your life.
School and books go hand and in hand, and with iBooks for iPhone and iPad, you can carry more books than ever in your hand. If you're lucky, you may find some of your class textbooks in the new Textbook category of the iBookstore, but if not, there are plenty of educational books you can find to supplement the required materials of your courses. Most of the common literature that is required reading is also available in the iBookstore.
The free iTunes U app for iPhone and iPad gives you access to courses from universities and schools. These courses are completely free and even include assignments. iTunes U and the instructors provide course materials, including audio, video, books, documents & presentations, apps, and books. iTunes U includes over 500,000 free lectures, videos, books, and other resources on thousands of subjects from Algebra to Zoology.
These are just a few (yes, a few!) of our favorite apps to prepare for the new school year, but there are hundreds of other out there available in the App Store. Did we miss any of your favorites? If so, please let us know know which ones should be added to the list and why!
Rene Ritchie contributed photos to this article.