The number of apps available in the Windows Store made a huge jump on Windows 8's release day. While that is great in terms of choice when it comes to the store, it also makes it more difficult to find the best apps in each store category. While you could simply enter a search term you are interested in on the store front to find all apps related to that term, you sometimes may want to browse and discover new apps in the store.
This guide is about the education category in the store, and the best apps offered in it. Please note that best is a subjective term and not necessarily something that everyone reading the article can agree on. While I may find an app that teaches Japanese Kanji excellent, others may not like it at all as they are not interested in the subject.
The article will be regularly updated with new apps so that it always up to date in this regard. Feel free to comment about the apps listed here or apps that you have discovered in the eduction category that you think should be on the list.
To check out the apps simply enter their names on the store front. You should automatically see them listed in the store when you do that.
1. Programming Tutorials
This app makes available a collection of programming tutorials - in video format - covering various programming languages including C#, C++, HTML5, PHP or Windows 8 Apps. The front lists the latest tutorials that have been added indicating that new contents will be added regularly to the app.
Each tutorial consists of a playlist that you can navigate through and videos for each chapter that is covered by it. This works best if you have a second monitor or computer at hand since you can't do anything but watch the video on the monitor the app is running on.
2. Programming tutorials for game devs
This application requires programming experience to get started. It displays a number of subjects, DirectX 11 tutorials, OpenGL 4.0 tutorials or Network Programming Tutorials among others, on the left that you can select. The right then displays a number of tutorials walking you through various topics. The contents are displayed in textual form with a few images and charts thrown in to the mix.
It is again recommended to have a second computer monitor or PC at your disposal as you can only use the app effectively in full screen. You can snap the app to the left or right side of the screen though if you prefer that.
3. Phonetics - A student's handbook
Phonetics can be very helpful when you are trying to learn a new language. You have probably seen the phonetic spelling of words in dictionaries which help you pronounce words correctly even if you have never heard them before.
The application gives you an introduction to phonetics, from the original meaning of the word and the areas of study to the phonetic alphabet, terminology and how we speak.
4. Speed Reading
If you want to read faster, speed reading is what helps you achieve that goal. The application offers information about the theory behind speed reading, exercises to train your eyes and an option to record your speed reading progress.
While the app makes available all of that, it does not include a sample text or options to load custom text to read. To monitor your progress, it asks you to use a stopwatch and a book or paper instead. It would have been nice if you could use the app to read text on the computer.
5. Sorting Algorithms
A tiny app that walks you through the theory behind eight popular sorting algorithms including Quicksort, Bucket Sort, Bubble Sort or Heapsort. While you should not expect a full mathematical analysis of each sorting algorithm, you will receive about a page of text for each that explains the basic concept and a comparison with other sorting algorithms.
6. Sky Map
Space. The Final Frontier. If you are interested in constellations and astronomy, then this app is for you. While not as sophisticated as Stellarium or Microsoft's Worldwide Telescope, it lets you explore stars and constellations. The app displays more than 13000 stars.
7. Learn Windows 8
This app helps you get accustomed to the new Windows 8 operating system. Especially handy for new users who never came into contact with Windows 8 before. It explains common concepts like the start screen, closing applications, turning off the PC, using apps, or using the built-in search.
Each lesson includes text and (moving) images so that it is dead easy to follow and understand what is being explained.
8. Kanji Book
This helps you learn and draw Japanese Kanji. You can write or draw text to use the program to search for results. If you draw a Latin character for instance and search for results, you get corresponding Kanji characters and signs on the results page and vice versa.
9. NASA Be a Martian
This app is for everyone who is interested in the exploration of the planet Mars. It features a history of Mars missions, updates on Curiosity's journey, the latest images, animations, information about new discoveries and detailed information about Mars.
10. English Club
English Club offers two English learning modules, Business Terms and Advanced English, and a selection of English word games like Word Search or Hangman.
It is necessary to download most language modules first before you can use them, only the first lesson is included by default, most likely to keep the size of the initial app download low.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.