New Educational Apps of the Month

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At the end of each month, we review some of our favorite educational apps that have been released or updated over the last 30 days. (Read all of our Educational Apps series.) Below you’ll find a mixture of iOS, Android, and Web-based apps.

  • MOTION MATH ZOOM We've covered the educational apps built by Motion Math before here on MindShift. The startup's first app is a fun, interactive game that teaches fractions. The company's latest app is called Motion Math Zoom (iTunes) and continues to teach the concept of the number line, but this time addressing how decimals and place values work. (Free, iOS)
  • HISTORYPIN. HistoryPin had its official launch earlier this summer, but August brought about the release of its iPhone app. The site and the app let you view the history of a particular location, by taking historical photos and pinning them, as the name suggests, to Google Maps. You can also contribute their own photos -- both present-day and family heritage photos -- to the site. (Free, Web/iOS/Android)
  • CODECADEMY. Want to learn how to program? A newly launched site called Codecademy can help. The free site offers browser-based instruction in JavaScript. The site is incredibly easy to use. In fact, in lieu of an initial sign-up, the site prompts you to complete a task, one that starts the first lessons on using the command line. As you proceed with the lessons -- there are currently only eight of them -- you can earn points and badges. The startup says it plans to expand to offer more lessons and more content in the coming months. (Free, Web)
  • WINKEN, BLINKEN, AND NOD. Based on the well-known poem by 19th-century writer Eugene Fields, the Winken, Blinken and Nod app (iTunes) provides wonderful animations to go along with the nursery rhyme about the fishing journey into the sky. The interesting feature here is the app's use of voice recognition.  The words of the poem light up as the app reacts to someone reading the story aloud, encouraging early readers to read along, not just interact with the touchscreen, with the story. ($1.99, iOS)
  • HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON. More and more children's books are making their way to a digital format, and one of the best-loved books, Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, now joins them. Available for iOS (iTunes), the Harold and the Purple Crayon app lets readers control that magical purple crayon. The app allows readers to simply read the book, have it read aloud to them, or interactive with a variety of animations. ($6.99, iOS)
  • KIBIN. Editing services are a dime-a-dozen (although priced a lot higher than a dime). But the recently launched startup Kibin is doing something different. Rather than hiring copy editors, projects and papers submitted to the site are proofread by community members. You get points for reading and editing others' work, which you can then use to get your own work edited. If you don't have time to edit others' work, you can pay for the service as well. The service is currently aimed at students, and while the readers don't fix the problems they find, they will leave comments and suggested edits for you. (Free, Web)
  • THE KIDS SHOULD SEE THIS. There's a ton of great content on the Web, but it's not always easy to find. The Kids Should See This provides exactly what it sounds like -- a curated site with recommended sites, videos and the like that kids should see. Content on the site is collected by Rion Nakaya and her three-year-old co-curator. (Free, Web)
  • SIFTEO. Technically, it's not an app, but the Sifteo cubes (which we wrote about last year) are now available for pre-order. The cubes were featured in a popular TED Talk, in which co-founder David Merrill explained the startup's idea of physical play. The cubes are small and white, with 128 x 128 LCD screens on one side. The cubes also contain accelerometers and NFC (near field communications) sensors, so they can sense when they're being tilted and when they're near one another. Sifteo will offer a number of games -- strategy, spatial, math, logic, for example -- when the games ship this fall. ($149)

Did we miss any apps that you'd like to recommend? Leave us a note in the comments!