As Android phones and tablets become more powerful and more ubiquitous, people are using them for everything from reading to note-taking, to watching videos. And given the recent expansion in the types of available apps, people are also using them as learning devices — courseware, tutorials, and how-to apps are making their way to Android!
Since everyone is gearing up for the new year and working hard to start with New Year’s resolutions, there’s a great chance you’ll be looking at your Android device for tools to help accomplish your 2013 goals. Today, I’m going to cover several apps that bring educational videos to your Android phone or tablet, in hopes you’ll find one that will help you learn whatever new skill you wish to master.
I decided to start strong, and in order to do that, I can’t help but start with the official TED Talks app. In recent years, TED has become the authority on learning awesome, interesting, and useful things.
With their app, you can quickly and easily browse or search talks, see related topics, and even bookmark and download interesting talks. Browsing is as easy as swiping left and right, and the videos update in real time. The app is done so well that is in and of itself worthy of a TED talk!
The Khan Academy is another great place to go to learn about a great array of topics, all for free. While there is no official app yet, there are several out there created by 3rd party developers. I’ll take a look at two, starting with KhAndroid.
This is an incredibly clean looking app that gives you access to the hundreds of videos available on the Khan Academy’s website and viewable on YouTube. Just press a video to launch the YouTube app and watch. While it is lacking some topics and search, it’s a good start to bringing the solid mobile presence that the Khan Academy is currently lacking.
Khan Academy Player is another popular Android app that gives access to the Khan Academy video library. While it’s very similar to KhAndroid as far as interface and functionality goes — almost exactly the same, actually — there are a couple of differences. The biggest one worth mentioning is that this app gives you the option to either stream the videos from YouTube or download them to your device, where as KhAndroid only offers the former.
If you’ll be going someplace with unreliable connectivity, this app might be the better option to stock up on videos for the road, plane, or train.
Mobento is a beautifully designed app that lets you view, bookmark, and download videos from a vast array of topics. Right on the home screen, you’ll see the most recent videos with title, date posted, category, and duration. You can also search, browse categories, look at your account, or view the most popular videos, all from a clean and easy to navigate interface.
The best part? Mobento has a very thorough transcript archive included in its search. If a lecturer says it in the video, you can search and locate it!
video2brain might be the prettiest app of the lot, providing a clean dashboard when you first boot up the app, as well as a screen listing all of the video courses. While you do have to register/buy a course to view all of the videos in it, you can watch a few of the videos for free. Any of the courses you register for/buy will show up in the “My Courses” area.
The main focus of video2brain’s content seems to be technological right now, but that may change as they continue to grow.
While the first few apps I mentioned were geared towards a broad learning crowd with many topics to choose from, these last few will focus on a specific or niche area.
As you might be able to guess, Guitar Lessons HD Videos offers dozens of videos teaching you how to play the guitar. While the name might need some work, the app is pretty great. The videos are offered in several different languages, and really let you set your own learning pace. They also don’t assume any prior knowledge. If your New Year’s resolution is to pick up a guitar, this might be the app for you.
I’m particularly interested in this app as I’d like to learn Sign Language. With ASL Dictionary, you’re given a list of alphabetized terms and pressing on one will show you a video of how to sign it. You can also search and view by category. Every video you download is automatically cached for fast viewing later.
While this app does have a lot of good features and a ton of potential, it leaves a lot to be desired, with a mediocre-looking interface and videos being optimized only for phones.
Whether you’re looking to learn new science facts, how to program or how to play the guitar, these apps should be of great use to you on your Android device. Of course, this list is neither complete nor exhaustive by any means. So if you have any other educational videos you’d like to recommend, let us know in the comments.