2014 was a prolific year for the App Store with over 500,000 new apps over the last calendar year. Now, it’s time to take a look back at all of the apps released in 2014, and pick the best ones. We have broken down the top apps into individual categories as we lead up to the top 10 apps of the year overall. Our rankings are based on a three person panel focusing on iOS uniqueness, overall enjoyment, and complete experience. Now, we present the best education apps of 2014.
Molecules by Theodore Gray ($13.99, Universal) [Review]: Whether you’re a Chemistry major, or bored by the mere mention of the word, you can enjoy what’s included in Molecules by Theodore Gray. The first thing you notice is how inviting the set-up is to get readers engaged in the material. There’s a friendly writing style with most pages of text accented by interactive items whether it’s a powder on a plate, everyday object, or chemical reaction. There are photos, and videos throughout, which play right in line with the text to spin around 3D renderings of objects while reading why that multimedia is included. Molecules by Theodore Gray isn’s just a straight textbook fashioned into app form, and instead is more of an explanatory tour of molecules that highlights what the author believes is interesting. That shift in focus engages the reader on a new level as it brings molecules to life beyond just chemical compositions, formulas, and electron disposition.
Star Walk 2 ($2.99, Universal) [Review]: A sequel, which provides the same star gazing style, but redesigned in every way. The most noticeable changes revolve around the graphic design to depict the sky complete with high resolution artwork, 3D low poly constellations, and atmospheric effects. Not only is there a new look, but there’s a new interface as well which is updated to today’s standards to emphasize minimalism. The entire screen is filled with a depiction of the sky unless you call up one of the menus to dive into the deep information of the stars. The neatest feature is the location tracking, and gyroscope integration to precisely locate your device, and show the exact sky that you’re looking at as you spin around 360 degrees.
My Incredible Body ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: The app emphasizes just how incredible, and fortunate so many of us are. It’s a kid’s anatomy app that offers ornately crafted 3D models of the body that cover the brain, digestion, lungs, skeleton, kidneys, senses, muscles, and heart. Rather than a verbose textbook, the app is designed with interactivity in mind allowing you to pinch, and swipe to zoom, and rotate the medical accurate 3D anatomy models.
Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life ($4.99, Universal) [Review]: Brian Cox is back at it, and instead of offering an exploration of the cosmos, Wonders of Life focuses on life here at home. Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life features over 80 in-depth articles that cover Monarch butterfly migration, fresh water caverns of the Yucatan, sensory analysis of the Red Kangaroo, and so much more. The content is what makes Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life noteworthy, but it’s the interface that makes it stand out. The app is designed so well for iOS to build a seamless experience as you move between menus, text, videos, and photos. There are high production values to everything included whether it’s the knowledge portrayed in the articles, the over two hours of on location HD footage, more than 1000 high resolution images, or the interactive 3D models.
Think Like Churchill ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: The app puts you in Churchill’s shoes challenging you with the same decisions to see how your thoughts align with his. Each of the five scenarios is presented in a graphic novel style with thrilling story telling aspects presented scene by scene leading up to the eventual decision. Part of the app is a historical offering that explains the thought processes of Churchill in trying situations in both personal, and professional capacities. Another part of the app is a psychological analysis of decision making, and leadership style. The ultimate highlight of Think Like Churchill is the blending of the two aspects to create an engaging trip through historically accurate scenarios. There’s a definite learning experience, and yet it’s presented like an interactive storybook with some brain game style exercises.