Under the fragile surface of your smartphone lurks what appears to be virtually all of the world’s information, both past and present. This is, in a word, incredible. It’s also, to put it another way, overwhelming. Selecting to use that unrestricted access to learn a thing or two is simple; deciding where to begin is not. To help you get started on your search for knowledge without making a significant financial or time commitment, we’ve compiled a selection of applications that will undoubtedly make you feel wiser, no matter what area you’re interested in. So are you ready to get smarter?
Today in History
This free software breaks down the problematic but commendable aim of “wanting to learn more about history” into daily manageable chunks that include events, births, deaths, holidays, and more from a range of historical periods and locales. You may explore by category—for example, technology, entertainment, science, and sports—or click on the “events” page to see a timeline of significant events from the past. Eye-catching pictures accompany the articles, and you may choose notifications to appear either once a day or several times a day. It not only helps you fill in the gaps in your history knowledge, but it’s also a daily reminder of how far we’ve come on the globe and this app is also great fodder for water-cooler conversation when you are tired of talking about the weather
TED Talks have become an increasingly popular method to learn about topics that you might not have thought to look into on your own in recent years. However, you may not have time to view a TED video every time one comes on your Facebook feed. The TED app is an excellent way to stay up to date on the latest and greatest TED videos on your own time—you can check what’s trending, receive tailored suggestions, download videos for offline watching, and save content to your watch list. There’s also a “Surprise Me!” function that will propose a video unrelated to your interests. It is like stumbling on to a great piece of art. Ted talks have been the perfect mix of knowledge and entertainment for me. If you are someone who loves listening to podcasts, then the app even has a feature where you can listen to just the talk without video. Another cool feature of this app is that you can switch on dual subtitles which means you can watch the ted talk with 2 subtitles of different languages, this is great if you are trying to learn a new language!
Most people stop learning after 20-25 years of age because they have either completed their basic education or they are stuck at a job where you pretty much have to do the same thing everyday. But this can cause your brain to work slower, like your body your brain needs some exercise too, so even if you are not studying in college right now, it is a great idea to keep learning new skills in your field to have a better standing in your field of work, Eduonix has some really good courses covering a wide array of categories. Best part is you can learn in your own time, it could be while travelling, or for the more practical courses it could be during weekends where you will need to sit down and work on it. They also have a new concept of e-degrees on various technical subjects which take you from being an absolute beginner to an expert and these certificates will actually count when you are applying for your dream job. So what better way to enrich your brain than courses? They have a lot of freebies along with a lot of discounted courses as well, just choose your subject of choice and get started!
Even if you can identify a Picasso artwork from a crowd, how in-depth is your understanding of art? DailyArt teaches art enthusiasts and novices alike by presenting one painting from a collection of over 2000 works each day, replete with all of its basic facts and history and some intriguing behind-the-scenes insights about the artwork and creator. You may go through previous days’ posts, read more than 700 artist biographies, learn about more than 500 institutions, and even save artworks to your personal favourites list. It’s a low-cost method to cultivate an interest in art, whether you already have one or not. Even if you are not someone who is interested in art, looking at the beautiful and random art pieces can sometimes give us the perspective we need in life. And I think we all will agree that there is a small artist within all of us, and if we try to dig just a little deeper, through apps like this, we can bring a little more innate creativity in our life.
It might feel hard to remain on top of what’s going on in a world where you can fall entirely behind at times by failing to check a specific app for a few hours. Flipboard makes it simple by collecting both news and social media in one convenient location. You choose which news sources and subjects will show in your feed; after that, all you have to do is scroll through the material, and Flipboard will update your feed depending on what you engage with and recommend more topics you might be interested in adding. There’s also a “Daily Edition” feature, a daily collection of the top stories from each category. This app is amazing for you if you are that person in the group who has no idea what people are talking about when there’s a random discussion about what’s been happening around. Sometimes it is good to know what goes around in the world, if not for yourself maybe just to be confident in social settings. Sometimes news can get a bit dark and may get you low, if you are highly empathetic as a person, so you can filter out certain categories which you do not want to hear from.
Lumosity starts with a 10-minute “Fit Test,” which consists of three games that assesses your cognitive aptitude in areas such as memory, attention span and grasping power. It then utilises your results to create a tailored brain-training programme with proven activities to enhance your results. While information-based applications help you load your head with fresh material, Lumosity makes you feel as if you’re genuinely extending your brain’s boundaries in ways that will make your life simpler. For example, if you state that you want to focus on losing fewer things and remembering people’s names, Lumosity will recommend a game that will help you improve in those parts of your brain. And, since you undoubtedly have a few minutes to spend every day while waiting for the bus or the water to boil, why not give your brain a workout? This is a really cool app and will act as a brain refresher, so instead of numbing down your brain with mindless scrolling on social channels, try this for a change.
This application, described as “addictive” by TIME and Fast Company, is worth the $3 one-time fee for its dictionary alone, containing definitions, valuable comments about how the term is typically used, and example phrases taken from actual news stories. Aside from the dictionary, the app includes an algorithm-based vocabulary learning system where you play games to gain points and collect accomplishment badges. There are also over 50,000-word lists to pick from, covering anything from GRE prep to terms from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is a vast app, but if you are stumbling around regularly you will start to notice a difference in the way you speak, new words will start seeming common to you.
NASA is famous right now, with the recent 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the ever-present desire for a Mars visit (not to mention all the space-related movies, both Star Wars and elsewhere). Their app is a beautiful way to keep you awed and in the know. It features a tracker for the International Space Station (ISS). It will even give you notifications when the ISS is visible from your location, in addition to more than 17,000 pictures, 360-degree movies, launch updates, and breaking news items. Now we understand that this one may not be a mass-favorite, but if you are a science enthusiast then this is a great way to escape from your mundane routine and realize that much bigger things are happening on the earth right now!
Do you enjoy reading non-fiction and a lot of self-improvement stuff but absolutely do not have the time for it? This is the perfect app for you. What this app basically does is, it boils down articles and sometimes even books, to small pointers, so you save a ton of time and get the main information fed into your system! You start by choosing the topics of your interest, and then they will give you recommendations on what you should read everyday, plus the feed will be filled with interesting articles! This app again is a great substitute or a remedy to your mindless scrolling habits.
The National Geographic GeoBee Challenge
The National Geographic GeoBee app description begins as, “This is a tough game, so it’s not for beginners…but bear in mind that the National Geographic GeoBee is intended for students in grades 4-8.” “Do you think you’re smarter than a fourth-grader?” Though you’re unlikely to compete in an elementary school geography bee anytime soon (or ever), this software will let you figure out how you’d perform as a competitor—and, of course, provide you with the opportunity to enhance your knowledge of global geography. You’ll never feel lost while rereading foreign news headlines after a few rounds of answering multiple-choice quizzes and finding locations on an interactive map. This app is specific to Geography but nonetheless a great way to expand your brain and revisit some school memories in a smart way.
Would you purchase it if someone bottled that exquisite sensation of understanding what’s going on in the world and offered it to you for $3 a month? That’s very much what TheSkimm has done. The app feeds you must-know, impartial news items that will take you little more than five minutes to read every weekday morning. Aside from the daily digest, you may listen to audio programmes covering significant events, read longer pieces that explain complicated issues like immigration and Brexit, and even get book, movie, and food suggestions. Not only does TheSkimm make you feel as if you understand everything, but it also does an excellent job of explaining how and why global news is significant to you. This is purely a general knowledge app in terms of recent happenings, but in a way it gives you a much deeper insight to things than just another news app.
The iNaturalist app will tell you what type of flowers you smell when you pause to sniff them. Take a snapshot of any plant or animal in your neighbourhood, and iNaturalist will identify the species based on crowdsourced image data. With over 400,000 users, there’s a high chance iNaturalist already has enough photos of your mystery creature to offer you an explanation—but if not, you can also talk with experienced scientists and naturalists within the app who may know the solution.
And, of course, it works in both directions: Your contributed pictures will aid future interested observers in identifying flora and animals, and you can even explore the map to discover which species have been documented near you. Now you may think, who on earth has the time to stop and look at a flower (forget opening an app to see what it is named.) Well, that is the whole point of the app. As we grow older, we lose the curiosity we had as a child, and we get stuck doing the same things every single day. How else will we learn new things in life, if we are not going to school or college anymore. So maybe for a month you can make it a goal to discover the flora and fauna around you and learn more about it and see how it feels!
So there you go! It is now time to get smarter, even though we have listed 12 apps here, don’t get overwhelmed and try to use them all at once or even a couple of them at once. The best way to go about this will be to just choose 1 app, try it for a week or two and see how much of a difference it is bringing into your daily life. And then try another. I’m hoping you are going to have lots of fun with these apps. Happy Learning!
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