These apps are useful for adult education and literacy students. We recommend that teachers thoroughly familiarize themselves with an app before recommending it to students. You may use this critical evaluation rubric to evaluate the content of the apps and keep a copy of each evaluation you in your records. This rubric can be used repeatedly.
- Phonics Genius (Free, IOS, audio component)
Over 6,000 words are grouped by phonics sounds. This app provides one of the best ways to rapidly learn how to speak, read, and recognize words through phonic awareness, and is specifically designed to help students recognize and distinguish words by sounds.
Not just for kids. Adults, both ESL and ABE students, will benefit.
- Sight Words (Free, IOS, audio component)
Sight Words, also known as the Dolch List, serve an integral part in learning how to read. The Dolch Word list contains 315 words that are broken down into appropriate age groups. This app is appropriate for kids, as well as beginner adult literacy learners.
- Fry Words by Innovative Mobile Apps (Free, IOS)
In 1996, Dr. Fry expanded on Dolch’s sight word lists and research, and published “Fry 1000 Instant Words.” In his research, Dr. Fry found the following results:
- 25 words make up approximately 1/3 of all items published.
- 100 words comprise approximately 1/2 of all of the words found in publications.
- 300 words make up approximately 65% of all written material.
This app has broken all 1,000 Fry words into unique sets of 10 words each.
This app has 500 words divided into five levels and then divided into groups of twenty-five words, based on frequency of use and difficulty in a flash card setting. Words can be marked to the Review list (use the star to mark and menu to clear list) The word is read out when the card is touched. For the second 500 Fry words download the ‘Fry Words 2’ app. An ad-free version is also available as a paid upgrade.
- Flashcards by Dictionary (Free, IOS and Android, includes an audio feature)
This app is free and offers vocabulary words to master. Learners can create their own word lists or choose from 500,000 lists.
- Chegg Flash Cards (Free, IOS)
Sight word list (Mobile app for iPad and iPhone) (1st-3rd grade level). The flashcards are fully customizable and learners can create their own lists. This app has a record and playback feature, allowing learners to learn to spell a word at their own pace. Users can look up the definition and enter it. They can also add a photo to help recall the words.
Difficulty level: medium to difficult
- Skill Builder Spelling – Build a word express (Free, IOS)
Users can practice spelling and learn letter sounds and names. The app has 2 modes learners can use to test their spelling in two ways:
- Classic: In this mode It shows you the current word but it disappears once you start typing which is very similar to the “look cover write check” approach used universally by many schools.
- Jumbled: In this mode It jumbles up the current word and you have to unjumble it!
- Build a Word – Easy Spelling, @ Reks (Free, IOS)
This app is designed for the very low level to intermediate level learner. Advanced learners can use it for review of word and letter sounds. Students learn to spell sight words, and long vowel and short vowel words
YouTube video demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJiuv-b3ibM
- Vocabulary Spelling City, (Free, Web, IOS, Android)
This free app includes eight spelling games and ten sample lists: Spelling TestMe and TeachMe, Sentence Unscramble, Word Unscramble, Audio Word Match, HangMouse, MissingLetter, and Alphabetize. The app will not provide free access to lists on the website, however.
Website: Provides access to lists on VocabularySpellingCity.com. Users can either upgrade to a Premium Membership or purchase a Mobile Pass.
- Word Wizard (IOS, $2.99)
A speak and spell app that lets students hear the sounds of the letters and words, and features text to speech capabilities. For ages 6-8, and available in English and other languages, this app is also suitable for adults. Optimized for iPhone 5.
Highly recommended by teachers. Although kids are targeted, the graphics are adult friendly.
- Fish Express Word Builder (Free, IOS)
This app offers immediate feedback and gives an option to create a list of spelling words (type in the new word and record your voice). It includes: built-In Phonics Lists with separate lists for word families; built-In Spelling Lists with separate lists for Long Vowels …, Dolch’s Word Lists (Primer, …); audio and/or visual prompt; professional narration or student’s narration; three modes: Learn, Practice and Test (quiz); and many other choices. There are accessibility options for the visually impaired and those struggling with fine motor skills.
- Bluster! developed by McGraw Hill (Free, IOS)
This word matching game develops vocabulary and word understanding for low level adult learners using rhyming words, prefixes and suffixes, and adjectives. The free app includes over 800 vocabulary words. Players choose a skill to practice and then try to make matches of three, with immediate feedback. Ten matches wins a round. Players can make in-app purchases for additional vocabulary.
- How To Say (Free, Android)
This is a pronunciation guide (talking dictionary). Enter a word ー and listen to its pronunciation!
- i-Prompt (Free, IOS, Android)
Type in the text in this teleprompter app and set the scrolling script at the desired speed (seven, for example). Students can practice reading the text as though they are in a press conference. This app is great for pacing and fluency practice.
i-Prompt Pro on Android URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ourapps4u.ipromptpro
- Wordventure (Three stories free, others are $.99, IOS)
Wordventure is for kids and adults alike. They can learn about the parts of speech and have a wonderful time doing it. Learners first choose a Wordventure story and pick out nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. They can then save their completed story and read it. The story changes each time the user picks different words for the parts of speech.
Video Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6kPnfeYoMg
- Sentence Builder ($5.99, IOS)
Sentence Builder is designed to help very low level students learn how to build grammatically correct sentences. Explicit attention is paid to the connector words that make up over 80% of the English language. Sentence Builder offers a fun environment for improving grammar – 100 distinct pictures help users to build sentences with 3 levels of play.
- SparkleFish (Free, IOS)
A story telling app that is educational, fun and silly. With SparkleFish you can record creative words in your own voice for playback inside surprising, ad-lib stories. If you enjoy Mad Libs, then you’ll really love SparkleFish. It’s fun for all ages, species, individuals, groups, etc: record your voice to complete each story; comes with 5 stories for free; save your recordings and listen to them later; buy “story packs” (each with 5 stories) for more fun; record the stories as many times as you’d like; and great for teachers, SLPs, and occupational therapists. This is a fun way to learn the parts of speech.
- Evernote (Free, IOS, Android, Web, with audio component)
This notetaking app can be downloaded on all mobile devices, laptops, and desktop computer and synced across all of them. Students can practice writing, spelling, taking images, using the audio feature to practice pronunciation, and other writing related activities that they encounter in the classroom or in their personal lives. Level: medium to advanced.
Video demo: http://evernote.com/video/?noredirect
This app, designed for all ages, allows users to practice simple basic multiplication facts or extend their ability to work out complex multiplication problems up to three digit numbers. Players can also control the number of digits used to generate the problems.
- Doubling and Halving ($.99, IOS)
This app will give an introduction to the Vedic Doubling and Halving Technique. Lessons include how to use Vedic Math Formula to double or halve any 2 , 3 and 4 digit number mentally.
Users practice mental calculations while having fun with this math-based puzzler. Players need to add up blocks on a field numbered from one to nine so that they equal a randomly chosen target number, usually between 11 and 15. For all ages. Difficulty level: easy once mastered.
Sumon Review by Gamezebo: http://www.gamezebo.com/2011/11/01/sumon-review/
- SAT Math Trainer (Free, IOS)
SAT Mathematics Trainer will greatly help you get ready for the SAT Math Exam by gradually bringing you to the required skills and speed. A must have trainer for SAT candidates. 10000+ questions in Algebra, Geometry and Probabilities are available for the most accurate training.
- Math Trainer (Free, Android)
Test your skills in addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Try how many math problems you can solve in 1 minute. Play the challenge mode: The game is never going to end, unless you answer three questions incorrectly. Practice the times tables. Many difficulty levels.
Easy, simple and intuitive, just write the mathematical expression on the screen then let MyScript technology perform its magic converting symbols and numbers to digital text and delivering the result in real time. The same experience as writing on paper with the advantages of a digital device (Scratch-outs, results in real time, …). Solve mathematical equations by hand without actually having to crunch the numbers yourself
- Beat the Computer ($1.99, IOS, McGraw Hill)
McGraw-Hill’s Beat the Computer facts practice game offers a quick and easy way to practice and reinforce basic multiplication facts (0–10). Players have 20 seconds to answer multiplication fact problems and beat the computer. Players score points for correctly finding the product. The amount of time left on the timer after each correct answer is added to the player’s score.
- Divisibility-Dash ($1.99, IOS, McGraw Hill)
The Divisibility Dash game by McGraw-Hill offers a quick and easy way to practice recognizing multiples of a number and applying divisibility tests. Players are presented with a target divisor and number globes in the playing area. They click the number globes to create a two-digit multiple of the divisor and eliminate the number globes. Players earn points for each correct multiple.
- Equivalent Fractions (Free, IOS, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
Create equivalent fractions by dividing and shading squares or circles, and match each fraction to its location on the number line. Check your work, and use the table feature to capture results and look for patterns. Got a particular value for which you’d like to make equivalent fractions? Use “Build Your Own” mode.
Portion Platter (Fractions) helps students better visualize fractions and percentages and equivalent relationships between them. The touch mechanic engages learners in a hands-on learning process, implementing kinesthetic learning. Two types of problems are presented at 4 different difficulty levels appropriate for grade levels 2-6.
- Math Terms (Free, IOS)
MathTerms is an illustrated glossary of mathematics terms in English and Spanish. The app includes almost 1,000 entries for middle- and high-school mathematical concepts. Millions of students have had access to this glossary, and its colorful, annotated illustrations
- Tap Quiz Maps World Edition (Free, IOS)
Tap Quiz Maps provides an easy and quick way to master geography. Learn the countries of the world through a fun and engaging game! Just tap the answer to each question on the map. Keep track of your progress through the statistics page so that you will always know where you can improve.
- US Citizenship 14 (Free, IOS)
Use this app to practice the USCIS Citizenship test or just test your knowledge on US History and Government. Features flash cards for all 100 pre-set USCIS questions. You can take a practice test and see if you can score well enough to pass the actual Interview Test. This app was created by its owner to help him study for and pass the citizenship test. It is updated each year.
- Civics Challenge ($.99, IOS)
Civics Challenge is a game that allows players to test their knowledge of the American government. The expert level contains questions about the founding fathers, the Presidents, and the Supreme Court. Single or multi-player options. No ads with purchased version.
- Congressional Moments (Free, IOS, Web-based, Indiana University)
Congressional Moments explores key legislation that still impacts our lives today, including child labor, civil rights, the SEC, the National Park Service, the Marshall Plan and women’s suffrage. Learn about the difference between primary and secondary sources by taking the interactive quiz.
Center on Congress, Congressional Moments Activities for app and web
Congressional Moments Audio series
News and Current Events
- iTunes (Free, Windows and OS X, syncs to iPhone (and Android, unofficially)
If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can sync your device to iTunes. Podcasts you’ve subscribed will be copied to your device. If you have an Android device, you can use a number of solutions such as Salling Media Sync to push iTunes content on to your handset.
- GED Test from Quizworld. (Android, May 2014)
General Educational Development (GED) tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills. The “GED” acronym is frequently misused to mean “general education degree” or “general education diploma,” GED Test application also has many flashcards for you. Practice them everyday to improve your vocabulary.
- Regional Adult Ed – GED® (Free, Android)
This application is designed to encourage adult education students to use technology as the 2014 version of the GED test will be computer based and require technology skills as well as basic skills and knowledge.
- Selection of iPad Apps for GED Students and Instructors (Most are free, IOS)
APluggedIn VA IT REadiness Cohort selected a number of their favorite iPad Apps for GED Students and Instructors. This PDF document lists game, calculator, and math apps. Most are free.
Dictionary, Thesaurus, and translator
- Dictionary.com (Free, IOS, Android, Web)
This handy reference includes a dictionary, thesaurus, translator, and audio component.
URL for IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id364740856?mt=8 Other
URL for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dictionary
- Learner’s Dictionary by Merriam Webster (Free, IOS, Android, Web)
In addition to all the definitions from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the app offers voice search, synonyms, antonyms, example sentences, Word of the Day, and more. Premium versions offer no ads.
Website URL: http://www.learnersdictionary.com/
- Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus (Free, Android)
This is a Comprehensive Dictionary and Thesaurus that includes: precise definitions of over 140,000 words with more than 250,000 links and 1.4 million words; synonyms, antonyms, similar and related words; hypernyms (more generic words), hyponyms (subordinate words) and meronyms (part names); and examples that illustrate how words are used and show typical constructions and collocations.
The Oxford Picture Dictionary app provides instant access, anytime and anywhere, to the bestselling picture dictionary. Use the app alone or paired with the print dictionary to provide the perfect vocabulary solution for your students. With over 4,000 terms + bilingual audio in English and Spanish, the app provides the vocabulary essential for effective communication in English. Developed specifically for English language learners, the OPD app is designed to enrich, extend and reinforce vocabulary learning.
With iTranslate you can translate words, phrases and text in over 80 languages. The app is tablet ready and optimized for use on your big screen tablet. Send a translated text via Email, post it on Twitter, save it to your favorite list or simply copy it.
YouTube video demo on a mobile device: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxgoUIfhVSk