Stay Curious with Learning Apps

There’s always more to learn and explore. See how easy and fun mobile learning apps can help you learn new skills and keep your mind sharp. Here are some top picks from adult educators:

  • SLIDE Numbers Brain Training
    This mathematics game from Fractal Games helps you keep your addition and multiplication skills sharp. Once I got the hang of it I found it addicting! The game helps train your mind’s swiftness, and your logic and analytical skills as you try to reach the target number by sliding your pointer across the numbers and mathematical functions. It’s available for Android  and Apple devices and you can also play it on the computer.
  • Building a Strong Vocabulary
    The Building a Strong Vocabulary app was developed by ProLiteracy’s publishing division, New Readers Press, as a companion to its three-book Building a Strong Vocabulary series. The app is free and can be used on its own. The app quizzes you on the meaning of vocabulary words in three main categories – life skills, work readiness and academic preparation. Each category has 10 or more quizzes of 12 questions each. I found the app easy to use and these quizzes would be great for English language learners, someone preparing for a test or anyone who wants to brush up on their vocabulary skills.
  • Draw Something
    The classic game of Hangman has been used for years for fun but it also helps build spelling and vocabulary skills. Now you can play a similar game using the Draw Something app by Zynga. Play against an opponent or use the solo play feature to challenge your comprehension, vocabulary and spelling of English language words. No serious drawing skills are required – stick figures are fine or just use the “guess something” feature to guess what other people have drawn. I found myself really having to think about how some of those words were spelled as I made my guesses!
  • Lyriko
    I must confess Lyriko was my favorite of these apps. This app makes language learning fun by combining it with music and game play. You can use it to learn English, Spanish or Japanese. There are four modes of play – 1) you just listen to the song while seeing the translation, 2) you select pictures that correspond to the words of the song as you listen, 3) you try to pick out incorrect words as you listen, and 4) you supply words that are missing from the translation. All of these games were fun and the songs were very catchy. Lyriko is a good compliment to comprehensive language learning programs like Mango, which you can use free with your library card. The team that created Lyriko is also one of the finalists for the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE.
  • Quizlet
    Flashcards have long been a standby for helping people learn all sorts of things. Quizlet brings the flashcard concept into today’s world with their app and website. You can create your own study set of virtual flashcards and quiz yourself on terms, map locations, parts of the body – whatever you want to learn. Quizlet lets you upload your own pictures and graphics for your cards, and you can also create diagrams where you label the parts of an image. What I found really neat is that you can browse through all of the study sets other users have created and made public. As I was browsing some of the topics that interested me were the countries of southeast Asia and musical terms. While flipping through these study sets, I discovered there were different ways to use the flashcard sets. My favorite was the match game where you try to match the correct terms to a group of objects. You can play this again and again and try to beat your own time or those of other people. Quizlet is a great tool for challenging your brain to memorize terms. It would also be great for language learners – including those learning English – to help them remember what things are called. You can use Quizlet on a computer or as an app.


Some of my many roles at the Library include: Tax Form guru, Collectibles collection promoter, Inspirational fiction evangelist, Adult Literacy promoter, Book Group in a Bag cheerleader, So Many Books book discussion group leader, Reader's Advisor and many more.