Twelve apps for education


Apps are increasingly being used in the secondary classroom. Justin Smith highlights 12 curriculum-aligned apps for key stages 3 and 4.

With recent research reporting that almost 70 per cent of secondary and primary schools in the UK now use tablets for learning (according to a study commissioned by Tablets for Schools), it is no wonder that more attention is being paid to the digital content used on those tablets.

It is easy to spend hours scrolling the internet in a quest to find good-quality educational apps. In a bid to help, below are 12 of the best curriculum-aligned apps for key stages 3 and 4.

Shapes – 3D Geometry Learning

  • Key stage 3 maths
  • Platform: iOS
  • Best for: Visualisation

This app helps students to learn and visualise different types of 3D solids including prisms, pyramids, Platonic solids and solids of revolution. The student can also rotate the prism, highlight the vertices and edges of a prism, or colour select elements. Excellent for visual learners.

English Reading Comprehension

  • Key stage 3 English
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Reading accurately and fluently

This app consists of a number of mini-tests, which provide children with opportunities to practise reading and comprehension skills. Each mini-test is designed to be completed in five minutes with three levels of difficulty and results that can be stored for teacher review.

World History

  • Key stage 3 history
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Overview of AQA, OCR, Edexcel topics

This app chronologically presents historical topics and events from the earliest civilisations to the present. After initial download no internet connection is needed, making this app great for use as a historical encyclopaedia. World History works well for use in research lessons.

Scratch 2 Games

  • Key stage 3 computing
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: The design, use and application of key computer algorithms.

Scratch 2 Games includes three tutorials to help students organically create games. Children can build “retro” games through tutorials that assist with computer programming skills and the development of appropriate data structures.

Geography Champion

  • Key stage 3 geography
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Extending local knowledge/spatial awareness

This app is excellent for understanding geographical similarities between places through the study of human and physical geography. The app has eight rounds of questions to test students’ knowledge and works well for quick fire “pop quiz” activities.


  • Key stage 3 science
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Visualising physical forces and processes

SimplePhysics allows students to input numerical data and plot physical process into realistic “test” simulations. Students are challenged to design and test a complex structure, which adds real-life integration to their studies. Add a competition element with class leader boards.

GCSE Maths Complete

  • Key stage 4 maths
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best For: GCSE maths revision

This app is great for revising the groundwork of all maths GCSE topics. The app covers all the main exam boards and collates basic concepts in one place. Statistics, geometry, algebra, probability and ratio questions are all included in a number of activities that can be used for in-class or at home revision.

Ecclesfield School GCSE ICT

  • Key stage 4 computing
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: GCSE computing revision

Created by students, for students, you can use this app for GCSE ICT revision in either a topic-by-topic breakdown or through the use of an interactive quiz. Topics include spreadsheets, ICT and society, graphics, programming languages and computer system components. Students can get feedback on questions and review answers.

Equate Formula Solver

  • Key stage 4 maths, physics and chemistry
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Understanding and interpreting algebraic notation

This app is a well-executed student tool that allows students to work through algebraic formulas in maths, physics and chemistry contexts. Tests come in two stages of difficulty with teacher and peer-led options. The app provides feedback on tricky questions and collates information for future learning.

GCSE History

  • Key stage 4 history
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: GCSE history revision

A comprehensive app that covers the key areas of the key stage 4 syllabus, making it a great app to use for revision. Students can use the “quiz-maker” to answer questions in a topic-by-topic format, while reflecting on incorrect answers through a useful feedback tool.

Geomaster Plus

  • Key stage 4 geography
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Locational and cartographic skills

Geomaster Plus covers all areas of locational knowledge. The app includes 18 games with more than 40 difficulty levels, allowing students to test their knowledge through the process of gaming.

Biology – Plant Morphology

  • Key stage 4 biology
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • Best for: Revising plant and animal cells and plant reproduction

Plant Morphology is a detailed and easy-to-navigate app that highlights plant structure through interactive illustrations. Students can learn by labelling key parts of the plant, with leaves, fruit and flowers available to view in the form of a detailed diagram.

  • Justin Smith is the founder of the website, which lists a range of teacher-reviewed and tested apps that are aligned with learning outcomes and the national curriculum.

Photo: iStock


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