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Great New Apps for Music, Middle School, Math, And More

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Continuing our monthly Educational Apps series, here are some of the new iOS, Android, and Web-based educational apps that caught our eye this month:


The Wormworld Saga is an online graphic novel about Jonas Berg, a young boy who enters an alternative fantasy world through a magical painting. Author and artist Dan Lieske held a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the graphic novel's creation, and the response was overwhelming -- almost doubling Lieske's original funding request and enabling him to focus fulltime on the project. The Wormworld Saga has been available on the Web for a while, but it entered the iTunes store (link) this month with an iPad app that's perfect for its vision of a continuous-scrolling story. (iOS, free with in-app purchases for additional chapters)


Bret Victor has collected his ideas about making math more meaningful to learners and designed Kill Math around the idea. "We are no longer constrained by pencil and paper," he writes. "The symbolic shuffle should no longer be taken for granted as the fundamental mechanism for understanding quantity and change. Math needs a new interface." In thinking what this new interface might entail, Kill Math offers a number of projects and ideas, including a Scrubbing Calculator and an interactive essay about using visualizations. (Web, free)



Scribblenauts isn't a new game, but it's new to iPhone and iPad this month. Scribblenauts was originally created for Nintendo DS and received a lot of praise for its open-ended gaming. The game is rather unique insofar as it lets players create almost any item they can think of in order to help the main character, Maxwell, complete the various challenges. link (iOS, $4.99)


Still in private beta, Instinct offers a Web-based tool for learning how to play the guitar. The Web site shows you how to play a piece of music -- with visual instructions on fingering, strings and the fretboard, you follow along on your own instrument, and the app uses your computer's microphone to help give you instant feedback. (Web, beta)


Remember the argument when the iPad was first released that it was just a tool for consumption and not creation? Here's more proof that that argument was wrong: Codify. The new app lets you write software and build games and simulations on your iPad. The app uses the Lua programming language and takes advantage of the tablet's multitouch screen to help you easily edit your code. link (iOS, $7.99)


The popular series Middle School Confidential has released an app, bringing a book about character-building and self-confidence to iOS and to the Nook Color (link). As with other titles in the series, the book provides advice for common middle school issues, made accessible via its graphic novel format. ($2.99, iOS and Nook)


MindNode allows users to organize their ideas via mindmaps (link). The app allows users to brainstorm, plan, and research. There are also Mac versions of the app should you want to share the files between your mobile device and laptop, but the touchscreen of the iPhone or iPad are well-suited for pulling out and scrolling to different "nodes." (iOS, $9.99)


The location-based platform Geoloqi added an incredibly cool new feature this month to its mobile app (link): a Wikipedia layer. You can now turn on a feature with the app so that you get push notifications, based on content from Wikipedia articles, when you're in certain areas. This isn't just information of the "across the street is a good restaurant" sort, but rather historical and contextual information for the places you visit. (iOS, free)


VoiceThread is a popular Web-based tool that allows you to build collaborative presentations with text, images, videos, and yes, voice. The company has just released an iPhone app that makes it easier to snap photos for VoiceThreads with your camera, to narrate or annotate slides, and to share them with others. (link) (iOS, free with in-app purchases)