Educational Apps for Distance Learners

Barry Lenson

there is an app for that online college courseIf you’re a distance learner with a smartphone, you just got smarter. Here are some cool new apps that can make you a better student.

Bing – Microsoft’s attempt to beat Google in the “know anything anywhere” wars, Bing is ultra-useful for finding info on just about anything – word definitions, biographies, or the formula for carbolic acid.

Blackboard Mobile Learn – This cool app works as an interface between you and your school. You can access lessons and message blackboards, track test dates, and more. At present, it’s only available on the Sprint network.

Concise Oxford American Dictionary – Yes, it has definitions of more than 180,000 words. But if you have Bing and Google chugging on your mobile, why pay about $20 to have this too?

Crimson Oak Academy GMAT Prep – A mobile tool that helps prepare you for the GMAT exam by letting you answer practice questions on the go. If you’ve got other standardized tests coming up, look for apps for them too.

Google Mobile App – Of course you knew about this one. But wouldn’t we be dumb if we failed to mention it? Voice recognition makes it an ultra-cool way to do one-handed research on the fly, or find the definition of words.

Guitar Trainer – People who have bought this app report that it is actually not possible to learn to play the guitar by pushing buttons on a phone.  You can read their reviews online.

Kaplan GRE Exam Vocabulary Flashcards and Reference – Intended as a vocab-builder for the GRE, it’s a good tool for anyone who wants to build a bigger, stronger vocabulary.

Public Library Apps – If your local library doesn’t have its own app, chances are that it will soon. The Washington DC Public Library has one, for example – and you can use it to search the catalog, locate reference books, and place a hold on books you want to borrow.  So walk up to the desk and ask a librarian, “Where’s my app at?”

Vimukti Student Buddy – A handy app that lets students enter their class schedules, track homework deadlines, exam dates, and more.

Wikipedia App – How about having one-click access anywhere to every Wikipedia entry? It could be the only encyclopedia you will ever need. At present, this app is not available for every mobile service or phone. But don’t forget, any phone with broadband can access Wikipedia at You just lose the one-click convenience of a desktop app.

So, how do you get `em?

Wish we had one answer for that question. The short answer is, go to the app storefront for your mobile device to see whether these apps are available for your phone, via your service provider.

But be sure to check back often. Apps are being birthed faster than rabbits in the pumpkin patch – and you wouldn’t want to miss any, would you?

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