iPhone educational apps (part 2)

After many hours of waiting with a bricked iPhone (like many others), I was able to get the 2.0 software loaded and download some apps. I’ll give you some of my initial impressions.

  • Molecules: Molecules seems like it could be a nice app to have available in a class where you want students to get a good idea of the structure of the molecule you are discussing. However, I think there is educational value and potential projects in creating more molecules to view. My version only has three molecules. It may be worth approaching some faculty in Biology and Chemistry about creating more molecules for the app.
  • Bookshelf: I did not spring for Bookshelf but there are a number of apps that allow the iPhone to function as an e-reader. Anything that allows people to read wherever they happen to be seems like a good thing.
  • QuickVoice: QuickVoice is another app that could have value in the classroom. It will allow students to record a class session for later review and it will allow faculty members to record lectures to be distributed as a podcast.
  • Mandelbrot: Mandelbrot is an app that allows one to explore the Mandelbrot set. It would seem to have limited educational value as it doesn’t really provide a lot of mathematical information to the user, but again it would allow students to interact with the set as the class discussed it.

My favorite apps right now are Shazam, Remote, VNC, Urbanspoon, LocalPicks, and BoxOffice. I think the apps that are the most interesting are the ones that make use of the GPS features of the phone. If I discover oher educational apps or if we develop any, I’ll make sure to post about them.


  1. Thanks for the mention of Molecules. One of my goals is to refine the program to be useful for education at the high school and college levels, as well as for scientific researchers. Drawing new structures is not in my plans for the near term, but I will be adding capabilities for downloading molecules more easily from a variety of online sources. Currently, you can supplement the molecules that come with the program by tapping on the “Download new molecules” option and entering the four-character Protein Data Bank code for the new molecule you’d like to grab. Like I said, this will be made a lot easier in the near future.

    With the large number of compatible devices (iPod Touch and iPhone) in the hands of students this fall, I can see teachers using this to grab the attention of students and show them how cool biology and chemistry can be. A 3-D representation of DNA that the students can directly manipulate is far more involving than a static image in a book or on a screen.

  2. Brad,

    I am happy to have an app like Molecules available. It is something I can show faculty to get them excited about the possible uses of the iPhone/iPod Touch. I mentioned having students create more molecules because we are always looking for educational projects for students and there could be a benefit to having to code the molecule for the app. Students may gain a better understanding of the structure of the molecule and that is certainly something we as educators would like students to do.

  3. thanks for that nice information