As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the globe, and schools in almost 200 countries worldwide close down, many parents are becoming teachers to their children.
Besides a lack of teaching expertise, plus remote work requirements, assuming this new role has been a challenge for some parents.
Yet, teaching their children’s school curriculum via edtech platforms isn’t a task that parents shouldn’t face alone.
As well as taking the pressure off parents, mixing traditional learning practices with technology such as educational apps is also proven to benefit a child’s progress at school in the long run.
For example, a 2017 digital study trends survey carried out by learning science company McGraw-Hill revealed that 60% of students surveyed believe that digital learning technology helped improve their grades.
For this reason, we’ve put together a list of the best learning apps to ease the pressure of homeschooling, as well as encouraging a mixed, interactive approach to education for students.
Although most major schooling exams in countries such as the UK have been cancelled this year, for students who will now take their exams online — or simply want to consolidate their knowledge — the BBC Bitesize revision app is a helpful revision tool for 14 to 15 year-olds.
The free app is available to download on Android and iOS devices and provides revision flashcards for Maths, English, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Combined Science, Geography, History and Physical Education. The flashcards use text, infographics and some of them video.
As the reality of homeschooling sets in for students and parents, the BBC Bitesize app is also launching daily lessons in Maths, English and other core subjects for students aged 14 and 15, which will begin Monday, April 20 at 9am.
These will be accompanied by a range of videos, podcasts, interactive games, practice tests and articles, as well as lessons for other ages, available on the BBC Bitesize website. Resources on the website are aimed at three learning demographics, from primary (age 3 to 11), secondary (11 to 16) and age 16+.
For older learners who want to stimulate their brains beyond the curriculum, the TED app has over 3,000 TED talks that users can access for free, available in over 20 different languages.
TED talks are short, powerful presentations for speakers wishing to showcase their ideas on any given topic in a time period of 18 minutes or less. Topics include new or surprising ideas, and compelling new arguments that challenge beliefs or perspectives.
Unlike other learning apps, which provide students with access to tools that will help them directly with specific subjects or revision for exams, TED talks can broaden their general knowledge and curiosity in a way that is complementary to their studies.
The app allows students to explore talks based on their mood or topics they want to learn more about, organized into curated playlists.
For those wanting to learn a new language while listening to talks, the TED app has a dual subtitle function that users can activate.
US-based non-profit education institution Khan Academy produces video lessons for teachers, parents and students on subjects including Mathematics, Sciences and Humanities.
The Academy’s free-to-download education app offers 10,000 downloadable video lessons which are subtitled, making them easier to follow.
It also allows students to track their progress and effort by awarding ‘energy points,’ or credits, which can then build up to badges. For those preparing for tests, the app offers over 40,000 interactive practice questions to help consolidate their knowledge.
Teachers can also set homework assignments for their classes using the app, in the form of videos, articles or exercises, which students can complete and submit via the platform itself.
For younger learners, there’s also Khan Academy Kids, which provides educational games, activities, books and songs for toddlers, preschoolers and children up to the age of 6.
The Khan Academy Kids apps is designed to help children with their reading, writing, mathematics and social-emotional development.
While students are confined to their houses during quarantine, what better time for them to focus on learning a new language?
The self-proclaimed ‘world’s best way to learn a language’ comes in the form of the DuoLingo app, which is free to download and encourages a lesson-by-lesson approach to learning over 30 languages.
Averaging around five minutes, each lesson is made up of interactive games that encourage users to practice new words and expand their vocabulary by speaking and listening. The app recommends learners complete one lesson per day.
The education app also allows users to track their progress and keep up-to-date with their language learning goals.
Students can either use the app to complement their school studies, or take learning into their own hands, given that 34 hours on the app are equivalent to a semester of university-level language study, the app claims.
During the month of March, user statistics for DuoLingo doubled, the app reported.
The Bottom Line
Whether they serve as a means of taking the pressure of parents who are now faced with the new task of homeschooling, or for students to compliment their own studies, the best education apps are there to be downloaded, used and learnt from.
Although it seems as though the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to change education as we know it forever, these learning apps are working to make sure that no students’ knowledge is compromised in the process.
As well as proving their product’s utility under these exceptional circumstances, these businesses app pr efforts are surely already bearing fruits of worth.