Although it’s not going to be possible to list all of the apps, I’m keeping an eye on the new ones appearing in the Windows Store, and have highlighted some of the key apps for teachers and students on this page. I’m also continuing to write blog posts about Windows 8 Education apps, and at the bottom of this page, you’ll find a link to posts on this blog that are about Windows 8 apps.
The first key education apps to install on Windows 8
Wikipedia – Link
It’s the usual great content from Wikipedia, but with a smart new interface, and especially useful semantic zoom
Physamajig – Link
A great teaching tool which really takes advantage of a touch screen
Mind8 – Link
Simple mind-mapping, which would really useful to help students prepare revision or for assignments
My favourite word game
Periodic Table– Link
This does exactly what it says in the name!
How Stuff Works– Link
A great app for curious minds, which always takes me off in a completely new direction every time I load it
A second wave of education apps for Windows 8
It’s a simple maths game – you’re shown two numbers along with a simple addition or subtraction sign, and the answer. All you need to do is to click Correct or Wrong. Mathrathon creates 60 random questions (and the most difficult I got was 143-87=22). Sounds simple? Well, turns out it’s a lot trickier than you imagine, and it’s actually turned into quite a competitive challenge amongst a group at the office.
As this is listed in Games, not in Education, it’s also a reminder to check that category too for great learning games.
SAS Flash Cards– Link
This is a flash card app with a great list of additional things that are good for teachers as well as students. Probably the best one is that you can create your own flash cards by uploading a spreadsheet. I could imagine that would make it much easier for a teacher to create flash cards to match their lesson plans. And the second handy addition is that, in Quiz mode, the results can be emailed – so that students could send their results back to a teacher, which would be great for assessment of/for learning.
QuickMath is a simple app for improving your calculation knowledge. It presents you with a calculation of two numbers from 0 to 99 which you have to multiply. After you submit the result the app shows if your answer was correct or wrong. To be honest, this turned out to be quite tricky for me to do, but made me think quite hard for the mental maths tricks I could use to get the answer more quickly.
Viewer for Khan Academy– Link
This is an independently developed video player for educational videos from Khan Academy, which was developed by Joel Martinez as a Coding4Fun Community Project.
NASA – Be A Martian– Link
As the team at NASA say “Space exploration is no longer limited to the intrepid few, but is open to us all as members of a spacefaring society. Be part of exploration and discovery in these times, and personally contribute to the expansion of human knowledge for all of us now, and as a legacy for those who follow.”
The app offers students ways to take part in discovery and learn about NASA’s Mars missions, and view Mars images and videos, and read the mission news. The app delivers the latest mission images and updates from Curiosity, allows students to ask NASA questions about Mars, and find out more about the people behind the mission.
Attendance – Link
Attendance is one of hopefully many apps that we’ll see that help teachers perform standard tasks – in this case, to take a class register. You may already have a system for this that integrates closely with your student management system, but find this useful for specific scenarios in TAFE or universities, or for school trips or sports activities (imagine if you put this onto a Windows 8 touch-based slate for a trip out of school, with students’ names, photos and mobile numbers).
It’s core features include:
- Take Attendance – Mark students as Present, Absent or Late
- Notes – For each class session, you can store a note for each student and the entire session
- Calendar – Switch between class sessions and create new ones using a calendar
- Messaging – Send an email message to all students in a class, all the students that are flagged in a class, or an individual student
- Student Details – See how a student is doing in each class, with their attendance information displayed in a calendar
- Random Student – Pick a student at random. Great for calling on student during class for questions and greater interactivity
- Group Students – Place students into groups, either automatically at random or manually. You can create multiple sets of groups that are saved by the applications, for example, one for each project
Windows 8 Education Apps for students
My Study Life– Link
My Study Life is a planner for students, teachers and lecturers. It is a combination of the Windows 8 app and the My Study Life website. It’s designed to make life easier by storing classes, tasks (assignments, homework, revision) and exams in the cloud, making study connected activities available online and offline (through the website online and the Windows 8 app). Having spent a little bit of time with it, it seems an incredibly powerful app, with some smart features. For example, two-week timetables can be tricky to setup in some software or conventional calendar software, but is a doddle in this. And, because it uses the Windows 8 live tiles, it means that students will see upcoming activities and assignments on their Windows 8 Start screen.
The list of features highlighted by the developers include:
Given the scope and professionalism of this app, I can’t believe this will stay as a free app for long!
CareerPath – Link
CareerPath hasn’t been designed specifically for students or education users, but as soon as I saw I could see how it would be incredibly useful in High School, TAFE or University. What it does it to allow you to explore career paths, based on a database of 30,748,234 datapoints about careers progression.
Students can search on a particular career choice, and position, and see how people have historically got into that role, and where they have gone on afterwards.
The really clever thing that I found is that by connecting it with my LinkedIn account, it would offer me suggestions of people who could provide coaching or mentoring for my next career step. As university students start to build their social connections (via Twitter, LinkedIn and Yammer) geared towards employment, then they’ll start to get more value from their existing and potential connections and from CareerPath. And then the final piece of the puzzle is that it helps you find job openings locally in specific career roles.
Windows 8 ebook Readers
Over the next couple of weeks I’m planning to spend a bit of time looking into the ebook software for Windows 8, and highlight those that have features that are especially useful for etextbooks, as opposed to just normal book reading. But until I’ve completed that, here’s a couple of ebook readers for Windows 8 that I think are useful:
Book Reader– Link
This is a reader for ePub files (one of the number of different ebook formats) that will read books that are not DRM protected. What that means is that you can’t use it to read digitally protected books, such as the ones you can buy from iTunes and Kindle. However, what this will allow you to do is to download free ePub format books from places like Project Gutenberg (which offers 40,000 free ebooks) and epubBooks.com.
Kindle Reader– Link
The Kindle app allows you to read your Kindle library on your Windows 8 slate or laptop. And because it uses the Kindle sync service, your library is automatically synced to your device, and you it automatically knows which book you’re currently reading, and which page you last got to. So it means you can read on one device, and pick up where you left off on your next one. I love this, as I have one of the old Kindle eReaders too, so I can read the same book on the train on my Windows 8 slate, and on the sofa at home with my Kindle. The first time I loaded it, I was amazed at just how many ebooks I’d bought, when it showed my whole library on the screen, which went on for pages and pages. (For the eagle eyed, yes I share my Kindle with my daughter)
Kno Reader – Link
Kno is a digital textbook reader which has been specifically designed for students and courses, rather than being a generic ebook reader like the Kindle and Book Reader apps I’d previously mentioned. The kind of things that Kno makes possible are:
- Automatic flashcard creation
- Smart Links, to interactive support materials, videos, interactive modules etc
- Shared study through social sharing – either student-student, or teacher-student
- Personal study journal
- Advanced search that allows you to search across books, courses, terms, notes etc
Windows 8 apps from Education Institutions
DePaul University – College of Computing and Digital Media– Link
The DePaul College of Computing and Digital Media Windows Store App enables students to keep up to date with CDM news & events, courses, professors, and computer lab availability. It contains information for searching for and contacting staff, finding computer labs and their availability, and information on each of the courses offered
Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship– Link
The Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship has created an app that acts as a shop front for their four member institutions, by making some of their content accessible to a wider audience. As well as a news feed, which comes from their existing official RSS feed on their website, there’s also information on their staff and faculty, events and recordings of lectures and talks. It’s the video section, enabled from their YouTube feed and favourites, that grabbed my attention, as one of the first set I saw was a series of talks from Hans Rosling (of TED talk fame), and that lost me a few hours as I listened to more of his wisdom.
Stanford University– Link
The Stanford University app is a well designed app, that looks very smooth, and contains tons of content, mainly in the form of recorded lectures and talks. They have a range of featured talks, with attention grabbing titles, including:
- Donald Knuth: All Questions Answered
- Good Boss, Bad Boss: A peek inside the minds of the Best (and Worst)
- Strategic Innovation: Design Thinking in Business
And then a series of topic-based sections:
- Computer Science and Security
- Engineering and Technology
- Project Management
- Risk Management
For each of these topics, there’s between five and 10 hours of content available.
Amity – Link
This is an app created by Amity University in India, and it’s a great one to look at if you think that your school/TAFE/university needs an app. It provides students with access to personalised information, such as their class schedule, class information, information from the student system (like attendance, assessment results) and university news. And it also contains standard information, such as contact info, an online directory, a news feed and noticeboard
And, as you can see above, it looks very cool too!