Back-to-school season is a great time to ensure you have an arsenal of tools going into the next school year. Staying organized and having all the necessary materials are key. Technology is also a big part of today’s educational environment, including essential mobile apps to help students solve problems, remember formulas, aid studying, and more. Check out these must-haves for any student’s smartphone or tablet:

Young Students

K12 Learning Apps

All these apps are designed for young students. Even if the student is too young to own a device of their own, you and your child can’t enjoy these educational apps together. You’ll find apps that time reading, practice counting and adding coins, and have stories that read aloud.

K12 Reading Apps for students

Sesame Street Apps

Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and the rest of your favorite characters are featured in a variety of apps that are both fun and educational!

Starfall Apps

Great apps for readers who are learning ABCs and 123s. These colorful apps are educational and will keep your young student engaged.

Older Students

Mathway

“Life is a Mathway! I want to learn math all night long!” I sincerely apologize to all Tom Cochrane fans. This is a great tool for understanding the knowledge path when solving answers. Type in any problem, then follow the steps to reach the solution. Another great function of this tool is the ability to sign in across different platforms to keep track of solutions.

Update: A reader pointed out that you can plug in an equation and receive a solution, but if you would like the knowledge path, the tool does require a subscription.

Periodic Table

A free app that allows you to interact with the Periodic Table. Learn about an element’s atomic number, symbol, and mass.  Also available online through our Activity Center.

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram is expanding its services into many areas, but is already famous for its simple question and answers. Simply type in a question, formula, or explanation and the program will return any information it has on your entry. Inputting a person’s name in the program will showcase his or her achievements, biography, and timeline. For math problems, it will return the answer as well as the steps it took to get the answer. Search terms related to science, historic events, and even music to see how deep this program can go.

iFormulas

Trying to remember the definition or breakdown of each formula can be difficult: Cosine, GCF, Pythagorean Theorem, multiplicative inverse. Yikes! Use this app as a quick reference guide whenever you have difficulty remembering the proper time to use a formula.

Varsity Tutors Mobile Applications

Students will find a number of mobile apps at this site where they can practice for specific tests. They are free and offer a chance for students to see how they might do on the actual exams.

Any Age

Dictionary

This app is much more than a quick reference for checking the spelling of a word. Use their widget and set it on a home screen to improve your vocabulary with their word of the day.

Dictionary App

Cram

I would have loved this app while I was in school. I also would have loved to have a mobile phone that had more than 12 buttons. There are many flash card apps available; the one thing that makes Cram special is the integration with its website and app. Creating the flash cards on a PC or Mac is very easy, and then all you need to do is log on to your mobile device to review. You can also browse by subject to see premade flash cards.

Alarm Clock Xtreme Free

For students (or adults) who have difficulty getting out of bed, this app will wake up your brain and your body will follow. It has several options for difficulty of questions and how many questions you want to be asked before you can turn off the alarm.

Wikipedia

Explore this people-powered encyclopedia’s vast articles and delve deep into any topic. Most entries to Wikipedia can be freely edited and updated, so you may not want to use Wikipedia as a source. However, most articles have annotations with links to primary sources, which can prove to be great resources.

There are a plethora of apps available, but these are a great start to ensure you are prepared for the upcoming school year. Be sure to tell us your favorite apps in the comments.

This article was updated August 2015

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