With fall slowly approaching, a return to normal office schedules is imminent for many, and with it comes wait times for transportation, meetings, appointments, and more. Gaming, reading, scrolling through social media, or just idling around are common ways to do it, but if you need more mental stimulation, why not give your brain a boost with short lessons on subjects that interest you? Here’s a guide to finding Android and iOS apps that turn your smartphone into a traveling pocket tutor.
learn a language
Web-based academic courses and music lessons have boomed in recent years, especially as distance learning has become part of the pandemic. Apple and Google have their own free translation apps, but some people find online language lessons useful. No one wants to hear you practice your French pronunciation on the train to work, but some language education apps offer free or inexpensive tutorials on vocabulary and grammar that you can do quietly or while wearing headphones. offers.
Babbel, Duolingo, Memrise, Rosetta Stone and others offer short-term lessons in a variety of languages. Each app requires a user account that must be set up for the lesson to track progress. Both Duolingo and Memrise have free plans in addition to paid options, and tend to be more gamified with videos and touchscreen exercises. Please note that Duolingo recently suffered a user data breach. Babbel and Rosetta Stone focuses on conversational skills and asks for a subscription to continue learning. Prices vary, but expect to pay less than $100 per year for full access.
explore global culture
If you want to pretend you’re not stuck in a bus seat for 45 minutes each way, you can virtually visit the world’s greatest museums through apps like Bloomberg Connects and the Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS. Both apps are free.
Bloomberg Connect has more than 200 guides to date, including videos and collection highlights from museums and other cultural institutions around the world. These portable museum tours combine video with text and images and can be downloaded for those times when you don’t have internet access.
Google Arts & Culture includes content from over 3,000 cultural sites, landmarks and sights around the world. It also includes travel guides to the world’s major cities, science and history exhibits, and culture-based games.
TED Talks have become something of a pop culture digression (“Thank you for listening to my TED Talk”), but thousands of free lectures on topics in technology, science, design and culture are available for Android. Available for free on the official TED app. iOS. Sign up for a free user account to download talks and watch them offline.
You can also learn the basics of computer coding on your mobile device. Google recently discontinued his free Grasshopper app for teaching the basics, but you can still find plenty of tutorials and guides on your phone to learn the basics of coding.
The basic plan offered by Sololearn includes free short coding lessons in several computer languages. The Pro plan includes an interactive demo and more features and is billed annually at $70.
The non-profit Khan Academy offers educational courses for adults in computer programming, animation and other topics. The company offers a mobile app and YouTube videos, but some content is viewed in mobile browsers.
NASA has a full-featured multimedia app showcasing space missions, and has created several other free educational mobile apps and games dedicated to aeronautics, the solar system, and more. Links to the software can be found by searching the app store or on the NASA website.
Let’s do mental training
If you want a little break from learning to show off, already The app store has no shortage of mobile trivia apps, such as Knowledge Trainer, which tests 6,000 questions on a variety of subjects. The ad-free premium version costs $6 per year.
For even more mental stimulation, ‘brain training’ apps like Elevate and Peak, which aim to build cognitive skills through games and stimulating exercises, offer another place to focus your attention. To do. Free tiers are also available, and annual subscriptions for both apps are under $40.
Some days may be better suited for microlearning, but on days with transportation or meeting delays, you can set aside at least a little extra learning time.