Think Smart: 10 Educational Apps and Services to Complement Remote Learning

Elana Kutscher‏
Think Smart: Top Hacks to Prepare Your Kids for Going Back to School

As a result of lockdown restrictions, millions of children, teens, and college students are no longer able to learn in the traditional classroom environment. Zoom and other remote learning platforms have become staples of everyday life, while teachers are pulling off the seemingly-impossible and teaching kids from outside the classroom. At the same time that Zoom learning is in full swing, many parents want to give their kids a little something extra. An extra edge to keep their minds sharp and to keep their development on track.

Fortunately, parents have many options to choose from. There is a wide array of online services and apps that focus on different areas of learning: math, coding, reading, and languages...to name a few. There are also apps that offer educational games, tools, and even school supplies. 

What’s great about these options is that they get kids of all ages excited about learning. From elementary school to college, students can use these tools to broaden their horizons and enhance their innate talents. While kids may not have a choice about the Zoom classes they attend, they do have a choice about which online services and apps they use.  

Another benefit of educational apps is that they offer greater flexibility than the remote learning provided by schools, which typically takes place at a certain time. With apps, students get to decide when they learn and at what pace. 

As parents, you can encourage your children to make independent choices and learn from their decisions. In this way, they will get both a scholastic and real-life education. 

Top Online Services and Apps for Kids’ Learning

Attending all of your regular classes on Zoom isn’t the most exciting prospect for most kids. Some might prefer going to the dentist, if you get the idea. On the other hand, completing goals, missions, and games on the app of their choosing is much more appealing. But what’s out there?

Here are the top 10 online services and apps that will complement your child’s mandatory remote learning. Quite possibly, they will reignite within them a love of learning. 

For Elementary School Kids:

If you can get your child excited about learning while they’re still young, congratulate yourself. Since it’s not easy, there are lots of tools to help you out.

1. Math Apps

If you’ve heard that math is critical for your child’s continued education, you’ve heard correct. Math is important on so many levels. It helps us develop analytical skills, explain how things work, and promotes problem-solving. Math is what made Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates billionaires. It can also get us far in everyday life: it’s the basis for telling time, using measurements when baking, and figuring out how much money you’ll save when something is 75% off. In short, math is so important that it’s no surprise that parents seek math apps to help sharpen their children’s intellect. 

2. Reading Apps for Kids

Reading is important for children in so many ways. It builds their vocabulary, expands their imagination, and can even help them make sense of the world around them. With so many benefits of reading, it’s no wonder that parents choose to encourage it among their children. 

During a time when kids are at home, encouraging them to read can have long-lasting benefits. Perhaps that’s why there is a plethora of reading apps for kids available. The worthwhile ones focus on a specific age group and offer inspiration as well as engaging reading materials. 

3. Educational Apps and Games for Kids

Apps and games are a great way to keep kids engrossed in learning activities, and the good news is that there are apps and games designed for all ages. From as young as age 2 all the way through age 18, parents can choose from a high-quality selection of educational apps. Most apps focus on one area, like math, geography, science, reading, music, foreign languages, even life skills. Parents and kids can decide together which area to focus on, and then continue in that one area or explore new ones. 

4. Coding Apps for Kids

Learning coding at a young age can give your child the tools to succeed at a later age. Coding is an incredibly valuable tool that goes beyond school — it can help kids get ahead in life. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and so many more got their starts in coding, so it’s no wonder that parents want to encourage it among children who are so inclined. There are plenty of coding tools available for kids as young as 4 years old, including several free options.

For Middle School-High School Children:

In middle school, kids already have a sense of independence. They know what they like and what they don’t like. However, they’re not so independent that they won’t listen to their parents’ recommendations. If you feel like your middle schooler or high schooler can benefit from any of the tools below, feel free to gently encourage them.

5. Language Learning Apps

Learning a foreign language can literally expand your brain. In fact, it’s been shown to improve problem-solving skills, critical thinking and listening skills, memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. For teens, it can also be the gateway to a different culture. In the book Eat Pray Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Italy through its language. Likewise, teens who open themselves up to new languages can expand their horizons and learn about different cultures. It's no wonder that there are a variety of language-learning apps, some of which are free or charge a minimal monthly fee. 

6. School Supply Stores

Just because kids are learning from home doesn’t mean they don’t need school supplies. Having a fresh and full stock of school supplies can make it easier for your child to stay motivated. On a practical level, they need notebooks, folders, pens, and pencils to take notes and stay organized. Plus, what kid doesn't love buying new school supplies? Today, you don’t need to venture out of the house to get school supplies. You can order online from any number of reputable school supply stores

7. Homeschool Curriculum Programs

Since remote learning shows no signs of going away, some parents feel that their children would be better off with a homeschool program. At the same time, most parents don’t know where to start when it comes to curriculum. Homeschool curriculum programs are designed for these parents (and kids). Many of these programs are accredited, some are personalized, and all allow you to choose the grade and the level. You set the pace, you set the goals. Many children thrive under home school programs, the key is choosing the right curriculum to suit your child.

For College Students: 

Students at the college level are able to fully take responsibility for their education. They know that if they don’t learn the material, they won’t succeed. So even though learning remotely is hard, they are determined to make it happen. Fortunately, they have many tools to help them. 

8. Study Tools Apps

In addition to attendance, college classes have a variety of requirements. These include research, writing papers, studying for exams, meeting deadlines, staying organized, and more. Even for college students, it can be hard to juggle everything, which is why there are a variety of apps that offer different study tools. Whether they need to take notes, stay organized, get help with research and writing, there is a study tool app that can help.

9. Online Learning Platform Sites

If most of your college classes are being taught online, some might argue that you might as well sign up for an online learning platform, like a university. Online universities, in fact, might be better at remote learning, since that’s what they were set up to do originally. Colleges that had to make the switch from in-class to Zoom learning might lack the sophistication and the tools that online learning platforms have. On these platforms, students can get degrees, certifications, or just take courses for the fun of it at a variety of online learning sites. 

10. Brain Game Apps

Studying for college exams and writing papers demands a lot of work, but these activities can be draining. Many students need some downtime after expending so much effort, and they often turn to television or social media. While these activities may be relaxing, they’re not exactly enhancing your neural activity. On the other hand, brain games are a way to relax and improve your brain functions at the same time. Brain games apps include games that can improve memory, agility, focus, problem-solving, and reflexes. And the best part? They’re fun!

Encourage a Love of Learning

With remote learning, kids don’t have a choice of what classes they listen to. The curriculum is set by the school. And attending Zoom classes is often much harder than attending regular classes. The very least we can do for our kids is give them a chance to learn in a way that excites them. To lose the love of learning, at any age, is a shame. Encouraging it is the best gift we can give to our children.

Elana Kutscher‏
Elana is a creature of the digital age, and has been working in social media marketing and content for the better part of the past decade. She has experience with software and online platforms from multiple projects with high tech firms.