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26 Mar, Sunday
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Montreal Families

Teens recommend educational apps

Many parents may worry that their children are wasting time surfing the Internet and playing games online, but there are loads of educational and useful apps for teens who have smartphones and tablets.

Sure it’s possible to spend hours browsing Tumblr, playing World of Warcraft or watching Jenna Marbles videos, but there is no shortage of great Android and iOS apps for the average teen that parents will love, too. Here are a few of the ones we enjoy. Most are connected to schoolwork, but some are just good fun to help pass the time.

MyScript Calculator (Free)

Anyone in advanced high school math knows how ridiculously expensive scientific calculators can be. There are many scientific calculator apps, ranging in quality from utterly useless to absolutely brilliant, but this one has a twist. Instead of punching in numbers using the provided keys, you write out – using your finger or Stylus pen – your equation in the blank space provided. Despite the complications sometimes associated with this type of program, this app is actually quite good at recognizing what you’re writing.

Kindle (Free)

We’ve all heard of the Kindle, the electronic reader that can hold thousands of books. The Kindle app allows you to bypass the e-reader altogether and enjoy content directly on your smartphone or tablet. You’ll need an Amazon account that will allow you to download any e-book you’ve bought straight to the app on your device.

iStudiez Pro ($2.99, Lite version is free, not available on Android)

This agenda app is one of the best ones out there and one of the easiest ways to get organized. IStudiez Pro isn’t free, but the Lite version is, though you’re limited in the number of semesters and courses you can schedule. The app allows you to program classes (as well as when and how regularly you have them) and add assignments that need to be done according to their due dates, even assigning them a priority. iStudiez is also available on the Mac Store for your MacBook. ($9.99)

Instatube (Free on Android, $1.99 on iOS)

Download content from YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion – like songs or the latest episodes of your favourite TV shows – and store them on your device. You can then play the videos anywhere without having to worry about data usage or Wi-Fi. Also, unlike similar apps, there is no limit to how many items you can download.

Bescherelle: L’Art de conjuguer ($4.99)

Conjugating all those French verbs can be tricky, regardless of whether the language is your mother tongue or one you’ve just started to learn. Not only are there multiple forms possible, there are exceptions to many rules that make French conjugation even more complicated. The Bescherelle app puts every verb and tense right at your fingertips – so much easier than flipping through countless pages.

Wattpad (Free)

This social network allows anyone to write, read, share and get feedback on stories, poems and other pieces of writing. Wattpad is available online (at wattpad.com) and on Android and iOS. It is great for people who enjoy writing but may be too self-conscious to share their work with friends or family. Writers have the option of using a pen name and users critique each other’s work. It should be noted that some stories contain explicit content, but there are pieces of writing for every age group and interest. With the app, any stories you download to your reading list can be read later without an Internet connection.

Onavo Extend (Free)

Your parents will love this free app that helps your devices use up to five times less data – by allowing users to send and receive photos and other files at reduced sizes – whether on a cellphone plan or your family’s Wi-Fi.  The app also allows you to triple what you can get from a data-roaming plan while travelling. Show your folks what a responsible kid you are by saving money on the family’s cell phone bills. Onavo has another free app called Onavo Protect, which safeguards your infor­mation and passwords from unsecure mobile websites.


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