Droid Apps for Education

This past weekend, after months of research and waiting, I bought myself a new cell phone--though "cell phone" is really quite the understatement. This is really a handheld playground that happens to also be a phone. I have been with Verizon since I first owned a cell phone and was debating between their Droid Incredible, or switching to AT&T and getting the iPhone.

I have a phenomenal old plan with Verizon and their reception in my area is far superior to AT&Ts, but I couldn't help but drool over the iPhone. However, after much research and talking to people who have owned both phones, I decided to stick with my carrier and get the Droid.

Boy, am I happy! So far, this phone is amazing. It's extremely user friendly and there are tons of great free apps online. Two of my favorites that have educational uses are Google Skymaps and Trippo Mondo by Cellictica.

Google Skymaps allows you to use your phone to identify stars, constellations, and planets in the sky. Wondering what the bright light in the sky is? Just launch this app, hold your phone up toward the object, and Google Skymaps will show you what you're looking at! Two nights ago, my fiancĂ© and I were wondering about a bright "star", held up the phone, and voila! We learned we were looking at Jupiter and Uranus, nearly aligned and shining bright. How cool is that? If you teach science or take your class to science camp, this would be a really neat tool.

The other tool, Trippo Mondo, is a translator. To be honest, it's the first one I saw and the only I've tried, but I'm pretty impressed with this free app as well. You can speak a sentence or two, or type one in, and it will translate it into a different language of your choice. It will provide both a written translation, as well as a spoken one for many languages. 

It seems to work pretty well. I tested it out for Polish, and although the translation was a bit rough, you could still understand the message. It seemed to be a bit better for French and Spanish. This would be great for communicating short messages with parents and students who do not speak English well. Alas, this app doesn't seem to work to well translating from other languages into English (at least not when you speak in the other language), but at least you could use it to voice your thoughts. I intend to research some of the other translation apps out there to see if they do better in this regard.

I can't wait to see what other great apps I can find! If you know of any good ones, please let me know!


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