iPad Apps for High School Students

Resources for helping your student make the most of their iPad.

Karey Brown, Instructional Technology Specialist, Denton ISD

Contact:  kbrown7@dentonisd.org     or 940-369-1610



Let’s face it: iCloud is not the most reliable cloud service, and is certainly not the most practical service if you don’t run OS X at school or at home.Dropbox has been a big player in the cloud storage game for quite some time now, and for good reason.

Using Dropbox, you are able to access your files from any device that has the app installed, or any computer that has internet access. Best part? You can put any type of file you’d like in your Dropbox folder, whether it’s a picture, a PDF, or even an EPS file. Oh yeah—it’s free, too.

Price: Free, extra storage is available at a yearly cost
Developer: Dropbox


Evernote is the student’s catch all. You’re able to store notes, files, photos, and whatever your heart desires to be synced across all your devices. You can even create todo lists and voice memos so you won’t forget things you need to do.

Price: Free
Developer: Evernote

Google Drive

Google Drive is an awesome cloud service, as it updates in real time and gives everyone 15GB of space for free.

What makes it amazing for students is it serves as a place to create and edit Google Docs. It’s perfect for collaborating, as cloud storage allows anyone in the group to work on it from any device at any time, making the group project much easier to coordinate.

Price: Free
Developer: Google, Inc.


Every student has books, and iBooks has books for every student. This app really does take a load off of your back — figuratively and physically.

iBooks has everything you’ll probably have to read in English class, and even has tons of interactive textbooks for other subjects. You are able to annotate just as you would in a physical book. Plus, many of the textbook offerings have additional content, such as videos and quizzes, to aid your learning.

Price: Free
Developer: Apple


If you ever need to make a presentation, Keynotehas you covered. The app provides the templates, so all you need to do is add the information. You’ll have a professional looking presentation in no time.

Price: $9.99 (free with newer iPads)
Developer: Apple

Office Online:  Powerpoint

Free Office Powerpoint app for the Ipad

Price: FREE  

Developer:  Microsoft


Notability is the perfect PDF annotator and note-taking app for students. It comes packed with tools, like highlighters, type, pens, and shapes, in order to make your notes beautiful and make PDF annotation very easy.

The in-app filing system also makes it very easy to organize your notes for each class, so you need not worry about losing the notes you are being tested on the next day.

Notability works with Dropbox, so you can have your files saved in the cloud as well.

Price: $4.99
Developer: Ginger Labs


Whether you use it for taking notes or writing a paper, Pages is a great word processor for the iPad. Being one of the more full-featured word processors for iOS, Pages comes complete with templates that are great for school projects — as well as all the settings that fall in line with standards for papers.

Price: $9.99 (free on newer iPads)
Developer: Apple


If you prefer to take notes by hand, Penultimate is your fit as it’s the closest you’ll get to the feel of a pen and a notebook on the iPad.

You can sort out your studies in notebooks, which are then synced to your Evernote account for easy access anywhere.

Price: Free
Developer: Evernote


WolframAlpha is the ultimate resource for students. The app serves as a database that can bring you virtually anything you wish: the derivative of a function, the location of a satellite at a certain time, unemployment rates in cities across the globe, genealogy — anything. It’s by far one of the most powerful tools a student can have, and a bargain at the price of $1.99.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Wolfram Alpha LLC

myHomework Student Planner

myHomework is one of the best free planner apps there is on the market. Once you add all of your class information, the app is extremely easy to use and keep organized. Adding assignments is easy, and the app has an option for homework, tests, projects, and anything else you may think of.

By signing up for a myHomework account, you’re able to get reminders pushed right to your iPad. If your school uses Teachers.io, all of your homework can be automatically pushed to the app, too. Best yet, it’s all wrapped up into one pretty package.

Price: Free
Developer: Rodrigo Neri


30/30 is the ultimate time management tool. This app allows you to break down all the tasks you need to do into a set amount of time: 30 minutes to do your history homework, 20 minutes for math, etc. These timers help you get cracking on your work so it’ll actually get done.

Price: Free
Developer: Binary Hammer

Study Tools and ResourcesEvernote Peek

If you have a Smart Cover, this one is for you.Evernote Peek makes clever use of the Smart Cover’s technology to create an effective study system. When you flip up your Smart Cover, Peeksends you a flashcard. The answer is revealed by flipping up the cover even further.

Price: Free
Developer: Evernote

iTunes U

iTunes U is Apple’s education center. Featuring a large library of video and audio podcasts as well as books and documents created by teachers and professors across the globe, you are sure to find something that will help you review or learn something new. iTunes U also features a note taking ability to take an extra step out of your studies and bring everything into one place.

Price: Free
Developer: Apple

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers one of the biggest resources to any student. With over 3,500 videos on any topic you can imagine, you will never have to scramble to find someone who can help you figure out a difficult topic ever again.

Subtitles with time breakdowns streamline your learning process as you are able to easily skip over the things you already know. You can even download videos straight from the app to watch offline. And yes, all of this is for free.

Price: Free
Developer: Khan Academy


With tons of source-fed eBooks, videos, podcasts, and more, Learnist is the place where you can learn how to do just about anything. Information posted in Learnist tends to be a little bit off-beat, but still brings about the point and is perfect if you’re looking to add a little bit of flair to a research paper or report.

Price: Free
Developer: Grockit

QCards for Quizlet or Quizlet

Many students find flashcards to be an effective way to study. Quizlet offers an amazing outlet to create online flashcards, but unfortunately they have yet to develop an iPad app.

Luckily, there is QCards for Quizlet, which allows you to access all of your flashcard sets from the service. The app updates the sets itself as you edit them, keeping all of your notecards intact whenever you may need them.

Price: Free
Developer: Red 8 Ventures


Molecules is a simple application that shows you 3D models of any molecule. All you have to do is search the molecule you’d like to see, and you will be able to see both the ball and stick model and the space-filling visualization of the chemical.

Price: Free
Developer: Sunset Lake Software

3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool

3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool allows you to get up close and personal with the very formations of life on Earth. The 3D models will teach you everything you need to know about cells and their parts. Plus, you can stain cells in-app just as you would in the lab.

Price: Free
Developer: Invitrogen Corporation

MyScript Calculator

MyScript Calculator is not your ordinary calculator. In fact, it is much more powerful, as it is driven by your handwriting. Because of this, it is perfect for complicated functions and problems that you wouldn’t know how to enter in a normal calculator. Log 12 base 5? You bet MyScript Calculator can solve it.

Price: Free
Developer: Vision Objects


If you’re a stats student, Numbers is for you. The third app in Apple’s iWork series makes it easy for you to compile all of your data and use it for various calculations that may be done in-app. And yes, you can also make your findings pretty.

Price: $9.99 (free for newer iPads)
Developer: Apple

Online Office - Microsoft Excel

Using Excel is easy on your iPad; just download the free app

Price:  Free

Developer:  Microsoft

EnglishDictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus

Since vocabulary is such a large part of English studies, Dictionary should be a staple app for all students. This app will help broaden your vocabulary not only with its dictionary functionality, but its thesaurus functionality and “Word of the Day” feature.

Price: Free
Developer: Dictionary.com, LLC

SAT Vocab — MindSnacks

While SAT vocabulary words are very important to know, learning them becomes mundane. But MindSnacks’ SAT Vocab app fixes this by teaching you words and their meanings through nine interactive mini games.

The games don’t solely teach you definitions, either. Usage, synonyms, context, spelling, and other things are all taught so you’re actually able to use the word properly and effectively.

Price: Free
Developer: MindSnacks

Shakespeare in Bits

Even the mention of Shakespeare makes some students’ stomachs drop. But Shakespeare in Bitsby Mindconnex Learning is here to change that.

The app makes the Shakespeare experience much easier by breaking the plays down line-by-line and offering more modern definitions or interpretations of difficult words. The plot of the plays are dissected by scene, and each of the characters are analyzed in-app. Combined with fun animations and audio recordings, Shakespeare should be a breeze.

Price: Free, with various Shakespeare plays available to purchase for $14.99
Developer: Mindconnex Learning Ltd.

Social Studies

Atlas by Collins

Atlas by Collins offers students a wealth of information through a series of beautiful maps.

Through nine different, detailed globes, including economic, development, and political globes, it is easy for students to get a grasp on the state of the world in lands far away and unknown to them.

Price: Free, with various maps available for purchase for $0.99
Developer: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd


An integral part to success in social studies is staying up to date with current events. Luckily,Flipboard makes reading the news fun and simple. Its interactivity and intuitive layout make it easy for any student not only to absorb main headlines, but the world around them. You are also able to read things that interest you, as it is easy to bookmark your favorite sites in Flipboard.

Price: Free
Developer: Flipboard Inc.

Smithsonian Channel

Being one of the most highly acclaimed history institutions, Smithsonian is sure to have amazing content in their app on every area of history.

Smithsonian Channel comes packed with hundreds of quality videos on history, culture, and more to suit every social studies student’s needs.

Price: Free
Developer: Smithsonian Networks


Although the United States has only been around for less than 300 years, it has quite the rich history.US-History helps unpack the complexity of America’s years from colonization up until the new millenium.

Being highly interactive, US-History uses slideshows with maps, quizzes, and audio recordings in order to tell the stories of people and events that have helped shaped the country as it is known today.

Even if you don’t live in America and don’t study U.S. History, this app may still be helpful as the world was involved in many of the same affairs as the U.S.

Price: Free
Developer: Sequens

World History Test Prep

This application is for the studiers of World History.World History Test Prep covers topics from early history, such as Ancient Rome and Greece, to topics as recent as the Cold War.

World History Test Prep is extremely helpful to students as it helps them remember the material covered through flashcards that have both text and audio. There are also multiple choice quizzes that truly gauge how well you know the material.

Price: $4.99
Developer: Pearson Education, Inc.


Google Translate

Google Translate is a must-have for the student studying a foreign language. Although it is not the most reliable of translators, it does the job well, especially if you’re in the situation where you just need to know how to say a word for a composition or are having trouble understanding a key word in a text.

Google Translate is able to translate into dozens of languages and even offers audio pronunciations for many of them. That being said, Google Translate may be your only reliable tool if you study a more obscure language in school, so it definitely should grace your iPad.

Price: Free
Developer: Google, Inc.


If you take a foreign language at school, theMindSnacks series has you covered. Really though: they offer apps that help you learn Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, and German, with many more to come.

Not only does the MindSnacks suite teach vocab, but also spelling and grammar in the respective language. Plus, the apps make learning a new language fun by teaching through a series of different mini games, which I have found very effective when learning a language.

Price: Free
Developer: MindSnacks


Adobe Voice: Everyone has a story that matters.Pitch an idea. Explain a concept. Inspire action.

SlideIdea: Make you're presentations come to life; embed quizzes, polls, etc

CrowdFlik -is the mobile video app that synchronizes multiple video streams at events so that viewers can easily create custom videos using the best scenes and angles. Just think of how we could record science experiments?

Koma Koma:  Free Stop animation app; easy to use, only four commands

Fun and Social

Students have to have some fun, too. Here are a few apps that can help make your down time, and even your study time, more enjoyable.


GroupMe provides a simple and easy way to create group chats with all of your friends, whether they have the app or not. You’re able to share pictures, attach locations if you’re out in public, and even split costs of items via the app.

Price: Free
Developer: Mindless Dribble Inc.


If you’re in need of tunes, Songza has you covered. With countless expertly made playlists that feature virtually every artist in your library, this app does not leave you disappointed.

Songza features playlists tailored for any occasion and for any taste in music. Nice, low key indie tunes for studying? Check. Pop hits for when you’re hanging out with friends? Check. If you want it,Songza‘s concierge has it.

Price: Free
Developer: Songza Media, Inc.


TED talks are world-renown, and for good reason. Every year, hundreds of people speak in places around the globe about ideas that inspire them—ideas that may make the world a better place.

TED talks have the power to suck you in for hours, and there are even speakers that are in high school. Although these talks are educational, they are done in such a captivating way that you actually want to watch and learn.

The best part? Procrastinating by watching TED talks brings a lot less guilt than procrastinating in other ways.

Price: Free
Developer: TED Conferences


Who doesn’t like YouTube? The video service has offered millions of videos for people of all interests since 2005, whether you like sports or humor or fashion or anything in between.

Plus, it’s the type of site you can find yourself shamelessly spending hours watching the latest viral video of, say, dogs speaking English or babies sliding oddly along a tile floor that everyone is talking about.

YouTube also offers a wealth of really awesome education channels, such as CrashCourse andMinutePhysics.

Price: Free
Developer: Google, Inc.

Yes, school can get stressful and crazy, but there is no need to get too worried with the wealth of education apps available right at your fingertips.

The App Store is home to all of the apps mentioned above as well as thousands of more resource apps that can only help your studies. Wanna share your favorite apps not listed above? Go ahead, add your choices in the comments section below!

Resources for finding Free Apps:  

Free iOS Apps

Did you know? Apple requires their developers to offer their apps for Free or For Sale at least once a year. Cool huh? The kicker: they do not have to notify us when the apps are free or on sale. So with that in mind, here are a few websites and apps to help you find those Free apps!

These sources provide timely information on app price reductions:

  • AppShopper.com and the AppShopper app provide many search options. I like thePopular Price Changes in Education page. You can limit that page to just iPhone or iPad apps. Education isn't the only app category with great apps for students, so you it might be worth checking out Popular Price Changes in All Categories. AppShopper is nice enough to provide web feeds for these price reduction lists.
  • Twitter users frequently share apps they have found on sale. Even if you don't have a Twitter account, you can search Twitter for #edapp free to see if there are any current deals.
  • iTunes lists Top Free Apps in Education (and top free apps for all other categories). Apps that are on sale often climb to the top of the Top Free Apps lists as users grab them before the price reverts back to paid.
  • FreeAppAlert tracks paid iPhone apps that just became free. You can get their alertsvia email if you'd like. Similarly there's Free App a Day, but it focuses mainly on games.

Resources for finding Free Apps

Apps Gone Free

I Like Free Apps


Free AppTracker

* If you are a member of TCEA and join their iPads in the Classroom community page, Lori Gracey provides a list of free apps daily. Membership is $40/year *

Current list of TCEA recommended iPad apps by category

The Hunt for the best Apps:

The iTunes store is full of apps, but if you have ever spent anytime searching through it, it can be confusing and frustrating.

This article explains the best way to muddle through the iTunes store.

Of course, you can always Google, but i prefer to use https://fnd.io/. You can sort by apps, categories, podcasts and more. Try it!

And last but not least, try Edshelf.com

ipad apps recommendations by student goals

Need additional suggestions or resources, or just have a few questions?

Contact me!  

Karey Brown , Instructional Technology Specialist- Denton ISD


Follow me:  @kareybrown88