Top Educational iPad Apps for High School

by Lily Carroll, Demand Media

An iPad is a pricey gadget but not necessarily an entirely extravagant purchase. The App Store offers much more than "Angry Birds" and Instagram. Its stock includes educational tools for just about every high school subject and standardized exam. By providing access to no- and low-cost alternatives to other academic expenses such as graphing calculators, textbooks and tutors, iPads have the potential to save families money. At their best, educational apps empower students to customize their study methods so that every learning style has a path to academic achievement.


The University of Michigan recommends AppWriter for students with forms of dyslexia. Mobile technologies have developed highly sophisticated voice-recognition programs. The iPad is no exception, and AppWriter makes use of the product's built-in voice recognition to enable students to write papers and record notes by speaking aloud. It costs one-eighth the price of other dictational software, but boasts equivalent accuracy. This is especially impressive in light of the fact that, unlike a program such as Dragon Dictate, it requires no lengthy customization period.

Flashcards Deluxe

Some flashcard applications are so concerned with what makes software special that they overlook basic advantages of traditional flashcards. This results in applications incapable of something as basic as formatting text differently between card sides. Flashcards Deluxe retains the best of paper with plenty of bells and whistles. It comes with a built-in timer and scorekeeper. Cards can ask multiple-choice questions and accept drawings as answers. If necessary, make cards with as many as five sides and embed images in them. Perhaps best of all, you can download card sets from Quizlet. The sets, made and shared by other students, help with all subjects, as well as AP exams, the SAT and the ACT.

Graphing Calculator HD

Appcylon's graphing calculator performs 33 mathematical functions. This $2 application serves a high school student's purposes as well as any three-figure Texas Instruments product. The App Store now sells an iPad version, which has a larger, more readable keyboard that makes for greater typing accuracy. The iPad screen also makes for superior graph display, supporting colors and full-screen mode. Save your work by taking a screen capture, emailing the graph to yourself or both. If you use some functions especially frequently, customize the keyboard to make them more accessible. However, you should still familiarize yourself with traditional calculators so that, if your teacher forbids electronics on exam day, you are comfortable with a borrowed device.


The iPad's complimentary ebook reader is another major money saver. Many of the classics studied in high school are in the public domain, and therefore available for download at no cost. Unlike a book provided by your English teacher, you do not have to return your copy at the semester's end. You are free to highlight and annotate as you wish, and you do not have to deal with any damage done by previous readers. You may prefer to pay for a specific edition so that you have the same page numbers or explanatory notes as your classmates, but it is worthwhile to buy the electronic version. It saves you room in your locker and backpack weight. Plus, iBooks lets you look up words without leaving the app or losing your page.

About the Author

Lily Carroll works for a non-profit children's literacy organization. She has worked as a college composition instructor and ESL tutor. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Mills College in Oakland.

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