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Ten great free education apps for the iPad

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection. There are now more than 200,000 education apps available to download on the app store.



Not everyone wants to pay for their apps, so we’re having a look at our favorite free ones currently available. We can’t pretend in any objective way that these apps are the ‘best’ free apps, but they’re all interesting and fun in their own ways.


1. iTunes U

An entire course in one app.
The free iTunes U app gives students access to all the materials for your course in a single place. Right in the app, they can play video or audio lectures. Read books and view presentations. See a list of all the assignments for the course and check them off as they’re completed. And when you send a message or create a new assignment, students receive a push notification with the new information.


2. Leafsnap
Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.


3. Exoplanet
The "Exoplanet App" is a visual database of all discovered extrasolar planets. It has been developed and is maintained by a professional astronomer. Financial support from the Royal Astronomical Society is greatly appreciated.

Main features:
* Database with physical parameters of every known exoplanet.
* Interactive visualisations and animations.
* Real images of all directly imaged exoplanets
* Interactive 3D plot shows the position of all exoplanets in our Milky Way. You can zoom into any planetary system. Or zoom out and see local galaxy clusters and the microwave background.
* Push notifications are sent out whenever a new planet is discovered.
* Interactive multi-touch correlation plots.
* Twitter integration (requires iOS 5).
* Native support for the new iPad's Retina display.
* Extensive background information on exoplanets and detection methods.
* Direct links to over 50.000 scientific publications



4. Merck PSE HD

One of the best free apps of 2010 is getting even better! The Merck periodic table of the elements app provides detailed information, state-of-the-art functions and an appealing presentation. It offers high-school and university students as well as teachers or professors the opportunity to learn more about the chemical elements - from classification to element features to their history of discovery. The powerful multi-lingual app renders complex contents intuitively comprehensible: the well-structured and concise arrangement of groups and periods, details for every element, intelligent controls, and numerous selection options provide quick access to needed information.


The periodic table of the elements is one of the most important references in chemistry. Here you will find data such as relative atomic mass, melting point and boiling point, density, appearance and additional properties for each individual element.


5. 3D Brain

Use your touch screen to rotate and zoom around 29 interactive structures. Discover how each brain region functions, what happens when it is injured, and how it is involved in mental illness. Each detailed structure comes with information on functions, disorders, brain damage, case studies, and links to modern research


Created by Vivid Apps and AXS Biomedical Animation Studio for the Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC) at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). The 3D brain is derived from the Genes to Cognition (G2C) Online website funded by the Dana Foundation and Hewlett Foundation. 


6. TED

Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world. 


TED's official app presents talks from some of the world's most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus and music legends. Find more than 1,100 TEDTalk videos (with more added each week) on the official TED app -- now for both iPad and iPhone.

  • On iPad:

The entire library is at your fingertips. Watch TEDTalks in high or low res formats based on your network connectivity. Play it on your device or send to your home entertainment system via AirPlay. Curate your own playlist. Watch them later, even when you can't be online. Listen to an on-demand playlist of TEDTalks audio. Sort views by recency or popularity. Find something by tags, themes, or related talks. Share favorites with your friends. Tell us how much time you have and let us guide you to a delightful playlist.

  • On iPhone and iPod touch:

The entire library is available for browsing and searching in both online and offline modes. Bookmark or download your favorite TEDTalk for playback anywhere, including AirPlay. Listen to an on-demand playlist of TEDTalks audio. Share favorite talks and playlists with your friends, and much more.




7. Mindsnacks

MindSnacks Spanish is a one-of-a-kind language learning game. It's the most enjoyable and exciting way to learn or refresh Spanish language skills! 


MindSnacks features six exciting games designed to build essential Spanish vocabulary, reading, writing, listening and conversation skills. 


Make your way through 50 levels of language content, playing games and completing fun challenges as you go. Every level features up to 25 Spanish words and phrases to learn, each including pictures and matching audio clips from a native Spanish speaker. The app also includes a unique learning algorithm that uses proven methods of memorization training to make sure you don't forget the material you learn as you progress through the app. 


Great for people just starting out with Spanish as well as beginner and intermediate learners! 


Features: 
• Six unique mini-games 
• 50 Spanish lessons designed by top-notch Ivy League instructors (Upgrade required for all 50 lessons)
• 1400+ words and phrases to master 
• 1400+ native Spanish-speaker audio clips 
• Growing library of images to serve as a visual learning aid 
• Personalized learning algorithms to maximize memorization and retention 
• 24 fun challenges to keep you motivated! 


Groupboard turns your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into a collaborative whiteboard, allowing you to draw and chat in real time with other people anywhere on the internet, even with users using a web browser. Use it for online tutoring, collaborative design, or just for fun!

Simple to use - simply start the app and then draw on the screen by dragging your finger. Use two fingers (pinch) to scroll and zoom. Click the Connect tab to connect with other people.

Features include the ability to change colors, shapes, line width, and upload photos which you can then draw on. Log in as administrator for the ability to ban users and delete pictures.

Use two fingers (pinch gesture) to zoom in or out and scroll.

You can set up your own free Groupboard which allows you to connect to 5 other people. 15- and 50-user Groupboards are also available, starting at $9.99/month. Groupboard Designer provides a more advanced whiteboard with features such as infinite whiteboard size and multiple pages, starting at $19.99/month. Once you have set up your own Groupboard, you can access it from a web browser by clicking on a link, or from an iPhone/iPod/iPad. You can also embed your Groupboard in your own web page if you wish.

FEATURES:
- Real-time multi-user: when other users are connected to the same Groupboard everyone will see what other users are drawing in real-time (no delay)
- Pinch (2 fingers) to scroll/zoom (infinite scroll/zoom when connected to Groupboard Designer)
- Shake to clear
- Upload photos from your phone gallery or take a photo with the camera and draw on top of it
- Upload images or pdf/doc/xls/ppt documents from Dropbox (document upload only available for Groupboard Designer boards)
- Save to the Groupboard server or your phone gallery
- Multiple tools/colors
- Fully compatible with Groupboard and Groupboard Designer (but note that some features, such as delete/move, can only be initiated from a browser and not from iPhone/iPad)
- Infinite whiteboard size and multiple pages when connected to Groupboard Designer
- Undo option when connected to Groupboard Designer (shake gesture)
- Optional eraser tool
- Print option on iPad
- Optimized for retina displays
- External display mirroring (VGA out) enabled by default when using an iOS 3.2+ device
- Log in as admin to ban users or delete pictures (use swipe gesture to delete a picture when logged in as admin)
- Connect to any hosted or enterprise (self-hosted) Groupboard
- Bookmarks of previously connected boards (in the Connect tab)
- Find boards using the 'who's on now' and 'top 100 boards' and search buttons in the Connect tab.
- Ability to launch the app from a url e.g. "groupboard://www.groupboard.com/1?name=bob&password=test&board_width=810&board_height=480" - replace 1 with your board id (name, password and board_width/height are optional). Note that you must already have the Groupboard app installed, and you cannot type this url directly into safari - you can only click on it.

Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders--and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. 

Key Features:
• Sync all of your notes across the computers and devices you use
• Create and edit text notes, to-dos and task lists 
• Save, sync and share files 
• Record voice and audio notes
• Search for text inside images
• Organize notes by notebooks and tags
• Email notes and save tweets to your Evernote account
• Connect Evernote to other apps and products you use
• Share notes with friends and colleagues via Facebook and Twitter
◦ Premium feature: take notebooks offline to access them anytime 
◦ Premium feature: allow others to edit your notebooks
◦ Premium feature: add a PIN lock to your Evernote app

Here are some ways to use Evernote for your personal and professional life:
• Research smarter: snap photos of whiteboards and books
• Take meeting and class notes, draft agendas and research notes
• Plan a trip: keep track of travel plans, plane tickets and passports
• Organize and save recipes; search by ingredients later
• Create a grocery list or task list and check things off as you go
• View web pages saved in Evernote on your desktop
• Capture ideas and inspiration on the go
• Access files and notes you create on your phone from your desktop
• Keep track of products and prices for comparison shopping purposes
• Keep finances in order: save receipts, bills and contracts
• Reduce paper clutter by taking snapshots of restaurant menus, business cards and labels
• Use Evernote as part of your GTD system to help you stay organized
• To get the most out of your Evernote experience, download it on all of the computers and phones that you use.

Evernote is available for: Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Web
Web clippers available for: Evernote for Web; Web Clippers for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer

Explore the surprising side of color with Color Uncovered, an interactive book that features fascinating illusions, articles, and videos developed by the Exploratorium.

How is Monet like a honeybee? What color is a whisper? Why is it so hard to find your car in a lamp-lit parking lot?

Color Uncovered features a wide spectrum of cool color-related topics to explore. Learn why friends shouldn’t let men buy bananas. Try your own color experiments on the iPad using simple items you have at home: a CD case, a drop of water, and a piece of paper. Discover how the iPad and other devices create color. Find out what causes afterimages—and more.

Ten great free education apps for the iPad Reviewed by Sartaj Husain on Monday, June 11, 2012 Rating: 5

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