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10 Educational iPhone Apps For The Lifelong Learner

A wise man once said, “The more that you read on your iPhone, the more things you will know. The more that you learn on your iPhone, the more places you’ll go,” or something like that. Regardless, the iPhone has turned out to be an incredible tool for learning, not just for those still in school, but for everyone who loves to acquire new information and skills. Here are a few apps to help you continue learning, whether you’re studying for an exam or just looking to grow a little in your daily life:

Duolingo

Duolingo

Duolingo is a completely free language-learning app that builds language skills from basic vocabulary and phrases up to complicated grammatical structures and conversations about politics and spirituality in short, peppy lessons that make language-learning fun. While it would be tough to become completely fluent without practicing with actual language speakers, this is a great way to get you up to speed so you can start practicing conversationally, hit the ground running when visiting a foreign country, or refresh languishing language skills from college classes long forgotten.

Lessons available in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and English.

Fun, easy structure makes language learning as enticing as any time-killing game for your commute.

Add friends and ignite your competitive streak, comparing points and tracking progress.

App Cost: FREE

Free Books - Classics

Free Books – Ultimate Classics Library

For all those classics you love or all the ones you, uh, sort of skipped reading in college, there’s the Free Books app, offering an incredible range of public domain material. While you can’t read much in the way of modern things when you stay in the realm of public domain, with thousands of books to choose from, it’ll be a while before you miss it – especially at the low, low cost of free.

Use their ereader to access approximately 23,469 classic books, from Shakespeare to Marcus Aurelius, Jane Austen to Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, presidential inaugural addresses and beyond.

Create your own library by saving books available in app or by adding your own books via Dropbox.

Extra features include high-resolution covers, author pages, Night Mode reading, and reading statistics.

App Cost: FREE

TED

TED

At this point, everyone and their grandmother who uses Facebook knows about TED Talks, but have you tried their app? It offers more than 2,000 TED Talks, sorted by mood and topic; offered in video and, in some cases, audio; and downloadable to watch offline.

Access the entire TED Talks library, with over 2,000 videos on myriad topics.

Bookmark and download TED Talks to watch later or let the app build you a custom playlist.

Play on your iPhone or other device or send to your TV via AirPlay or Chromecast.

App Cost: FREE

Khan Academy

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is, in many ways, today’s gold standard in free online education. The app offers videos and explanations on everything from calculus to art history (but with a focus on STEM-centric work), starting around 3rd grade math and going all the way up to electrical engineering and beyond. Unfortunately, the iPhone edition of the app is still fairly limited (it offers articles, glossaries, videos and transcripts of those videos, and other similar materials), but it syncs with your online learning at khanacademy.org (which offers more interactive exercises) if you want to participate and, if not, is an excellent resource for learning the basics of how the world around us works.

Offers over 10,000 videos and explanations on a wide variety subjects in math, science, economics, history, and more.

Download content to continue learning offline.

App Cost: FREE

The Great Courses

The Great Courses

The Great Courses app deserves a mention because those who like it, like it a lot. While most of their full courses are significantly more expensive than the rest of the apps on this list (cost varies based on the selected course, or you can pay $19.99 per month for wider access, though that still doesn’t include all available courses), the quality of the courses is undeniably high. Their Plus service offers a one month free trial if you’re on the fence; even if you’re not looking to spend money, the 24 fascinating free lectures available on the app are all worth a listen.

12 free audio lectures and 12 free video lectures from The Great Courses’ most popular courses.

Stream and access course guidebooks for purchased courses.

Download lectures for offline learning.

App Cost: FREE

Yousician

Yousician

Yousician is an instrument instruction app for beginner and experienced musicians using piano, guitar, bass or the ukulele. Essentially, it accesses your microphone to listen to you play then gives real-time feedback and tracks your progress. It also gives you access to instruction to play a wide catalogue of songs (although their definition of “pop” music seems to be a bit broad) to practice your skills.

Get instant feedback on your progress practicing piano, guitar, bass or ukulele.

Take lessons in sight-reading, music theory, chords, strumming, fingerpicking, and other essential skills.

Access over 1,500 lessons and songs to choose from and hundreds of videos to help you learn an instrument for free.

Be spurred onward by challenges and fun gameplay experience.

App Cost: Free to get with possible in-app purchases

iTunes U

iTunes U

iTunes U, the Apple education app, is “the world’s largest collection of free education content” and certainly not one to be missed. Courses include video lectures, readings, slides and projects like a true university course and all available for free an in-app. With relationships with major institutions like Stanford, MIT, National Theatre, and NASA, the sheer quantity and variety of available materials is staggering and must have something for everyone. If anything, the only challenge with iTunes U is the sheer quantity of available materials – since it markets to educators as well and is used for actual coursework at universities, there are seemingly a hundred different Spanish courses on offer, for example – but that’s not the worst problem to have.

Easy access to free lectures, videos, readings, and more on thousands of subjects from Puppetry to Coding, sourced from institutions located all around the world.

Courses available from major cultural and educational institutions including Yale, Oxford, the Library of Congress, and so many more.

App Cost: FREE

Learnist

Learnist

Learnist is a social network for knowledge and learning. Its focus is perhaps more populist and fun-centric, with a Pinterest-esque vibe and Buzzfeed-style catchy headlines. Where iTunes U offers fully realized university courses, Learnist offers shorter bursts of information, with guides to being a better blogger and knitting patterns for spring. That said, it still offers fascinating and informative pieces, though some of the strongest content involves in-app purchasing. If you’re looking for a digestible, quick learning fix, this is the app for you.

Save and share informative pieces from within the app and from around the web.

Access articles and Learnboards on a plethora of topics, from avoiding Halloween candy to identifying wildflowers to understanding labor laws and more.

App Cost: Free to get with possible in-app purchases

Skillshare

Skillshare

Skillshare has established itself as the online class hub for the creative world, with a focus on subjects like design, photography, crafts, and business for the freelancer. Many of the classes are available for free, but more can be accessed either by paying for a class individually or signing up for their Premium service.

Apply what you learn in classes to projects that are shared with your classmates.

Access lessons from working creative professionals that are rated by those in the class so you can choose the best ones.

Learn hands-on skills in subjects not covered by most other similar apps.

App Cost: Free to get with possible in-app purchases

Star Walk 2

StarWalk 2

Though StarWalk 2 costs $2.99 to download, it is well worth the price of admission for anyone interested in the universe beyond our own planet. It’s a highly rated, top notch stargazing tool that helps you plan observations, find out what it is you’re looking at while stargazing, or learn more even when it’s cloudy with 3D models of a variety of celestial bodies.

Learn the exact position in the night sky of stars, planets, constellations, comets, meteor showers, and more, and find out when you can best see them from your area.

View 3D models of constellations, planets, nebulae, and beyond, and read articles on related myths and history.

Hold your phone up to the sky to map what you’re seeing and direct your stargazing experience.

App Cost: $2.99 with possible in-app purchases

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