5 Educational Game Apps for Secondary Learners
The ‘millennium’ generation are the most technology savvy in the UK, according to new Ofcom research. The teenagers of today turn to tablets for everyday use more than any other mobile device, with the benefits of wireless broadband and digital communication combining to make tablets a staple for much of the UK’s teenage population. Over 44% of households now own a tablet (Ofcom), a figure doubled from last year’s survey. But what are teens using their tablets for?
Between 70% and 85% of teenagers say that games come top of the list (YouGov), with just under half using those games to help with learning outside of school. But which games have the best learning outcomes, whilst still being entertaining enough to keep a teenager’s attention?
We’ve located 5 of the best to help you or your teenager make the right decision!
Subject Area: Geometry
Age: Year 7-11
This app is a puzzle game that works on basic principles of Geometry. Students have to create rectangles using a combination of smaller shapes without repeating or overlapping in order to build a ‘Pento tower’, which challenges spatial reasoning skills. This tower can then be viewed in 3D, which adds a real sense of satisfaction to the game. Pentomino puzzles have been around for years to help improve analytical skills, with this app including a ‘Tetris’ style of play, which definitely appeals to a teen audience. This app recently received a 5* review at the Educational App Store.
- Geometry knowledge
- Cognitive development
- Communication skills
- Analytical skills
Subject Area: Spanish
Age: Year 7-11
Mind Snacks is an increasingly popular app provider amongst secondary learners, as their rich, engaging games and striking visuals draw users in without them realising that they’re revising at the same time. Learn Spanish is an app that boasts over 40 hours of content designed to be much more engaging than traditional flashcards, as users play games with the aim to expand their Spanish vocabulary. Spoken audio and video clips assist the student’s learning with additional quests and challenges used to further stimulate proficient players. Each game focuses on a specific aspect of the language, so users can tailor their learning experience.
- Spanish Vocabulary Expansion
- Pronunciation Guide
- Memorisation techniques
Subject Area: Biology
Age: Year 8-10
Frog Dissection is termed an ‘ethical’ Science app, used to help teach dissection in school or at home. Students can digitally ‘dissect’ the frog themselves using real life procedures, after which the organs and tissues are exposed for further study. This app also has information on the anatomical properties of amphibians and how they differ from humans, as well as a detailed description of the organs.
- Accurate lab simulation experience
- Content validation of curriculum matter
- Comprehensive anatomical information
- Classification and lifecycle knowledge
Subject Area: Programming
This app is a design based game built around the construction of machines, where the player takes on the role of Reactor Engineer working for the fictional SpaceChem – a leading chemical synthesiser for frontier colonies. The learning outcome stems from the programming puzzles each user is challenged to complete. These use the periodic table as a basis for its challenges, with a steep learning curve developing as each level progress. There are a huge amount of puzzles, however with little to do with chemistry or space and more to do with programming style logic, using limited resources and space in an efficient way.
- Problem solving
- Analytical thinking
Platforms: Apple, Android, Windows
Age: Year 7-11
DragonBox Algebra is an ‘inexpensive algebra tutor’ designed to help students earn better grades and gain confidence in algebra and mathematics. This app is great for visual learners, as it works on the principle of objects and the relationship between objects. The graphics of this app are bright and engaging, with the birth and growth of a dragon used to map the user’s progress through each level. A focus on minimal instruction and interactive play form the fundamental concept behind this app, with a key feature being the cognitive approach to learning evident in the app, informed by experts of cognitive science.
- Introduction of algebraic rules
- Increased knowledge of parentheses, positive and negative signs, addition of fractions, collection of like terms, factorisation and substitution
- Revision stimulation
Platforms: Apple & Android