Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Apps that make learning on the smartphone easy

Mobile apps have a wider reach, more content, and above all they are more affordable

Classroom-based education is the conventional mode of teaching and learning. Unfortunately, due to lack of infrastructure, teachers and books, majority of students suffers at times. The penetration of smartphones and the spurt in mobile apps designed for smartphones can help students in a big way. They can also help students who want a different perspective on a subject. Most of these apps are developed by or with the help of well-known educational institutions.

Byju’s-The Learning app

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store, Apple App store

Created by a Bangalore-based coaching centre Byju Classes, the app is designed for school students from 6th to 12th class and those taking Civil Service and Combined Aptitude Test (CAT) exams. All courses are offered through online videos. The style of presentation is a bit conventional but effective. The instructor occupies a small corner in the screen while the rest of the screen is used to show diagrams, figures and graphs on the subject. Once you are through these lectures, you can track your progress through a progress meter and even test your skills with free tests offered within the app. The systematic organisation and strong focus on Indian content makes up for the lack of visual element.

EdX

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store, Apple App store

EdX offers free online courses on a wide range of subjects created by some of the top universities in the world. All courses are video-based and they are shot more like documentaries with interviews and footage. This makes it a bit informal and fun to watch—the courses are free and cater to a wide range of subjects. The focus is more on information rather than preparing one for a course or exam. You can also read through what a course offers before starting it. This gives one a fair idea of what is in store. There is no search button and the courses are not arranged in categories, which makes looking for specific courses impossible.

Hello Class

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store

Hello Class helps students looking for answers to difficult questions. Just select your grade, subject and type in your problem in the chat box. In case it is written down somewhere else take a picture and upload it in the box. The app will find an instructor who can help you out over the chat. If you are looking for a tutor to help you with a particular subject, the app creators will get back to you over call. This would have been more helpful if there had been a list of private tutors with their qualifications. The subjects covered are pretty traditional and include those for which students require tuitions such as Physics, Chemistry, Maths.

Khan Academy

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store, Apple App store

Khan Academy is owned by non-profit organisation that earlier provided short lectures and educational content over YouTube. The app compiles thousands of videos and lectures under one roof. It provides content for school students as well as for competitive exams such as SAT, MCAT and IIT JEE. It also carries partner content provided by museums, colleges and institutions. You can also create a list of favourite videos or even download them for later use. In regular courses, the screen shows the subject while the voice over explains it. The style of teaching is very informal which adds a bit of fun element especially when you are accessing a tutorial involving numbers and theorems.

ePathshala

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store

Created by the Government of India, the app offers study material for students, teacher, parents and private educators. It houses ebooks available in English, Hindi and Urdu along with short videos. The ebooks are neatly arranged according to grade, subject and language. This makes searches a bit easier. The interface needs a little more improvement and the inventory more books as right now there aren’t many options for users except a few course books. The video library is more interesting as it covers varying subjects. The app also provides curriculums, learning outcomes, teaching instructions for parents and teachers.

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