How times have changed when it comes to phones in the classroom! Undoubtedly, having the world in a handset comes with a limitless amount of distractions, but when used with the right apps, it’s quite incredible how studious you can now be with a smartphone.

With an overwhelming amount of educational apps flooding the market, it is near impossible to go through them all. But recently we managed to have a play with a few and sought to find a magnificent 7 apps we would readily recommend to students to assist them in their academic journey.

So in no particular order, after hours of play, these were some apps that we found particularly useful.            


What use is using a phone to study, if you are constantly distracted by Instagram, Facebook, Amazon and TikTok? Well with Forest, you can use a playful productivity app to help your attention span to branch out. Basically, you keep your screen on the Forest app, and to help encourage half an hour spells of not using your phone, a seed gradually grows into a bigger tree over 30 mins, but only if you do not leave the page. The overall aim is to reward thirty minute spells of focus with a tree, and to earn enough trees so that they can become a forest. A simple, but super effective and playful way to help combat procrastination and distraction on your phone. If you wish, the app comes with natural sounds, so you can turn on your earphones, block out any background noise and work as you listen to the tranquil sounds of rainfall falling in the jungle. 

And if the incentive of being more present and productive wasn’t enough, Forest team partners with a real-tree-planting organisation, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on Earth. So when a user spends virtual coins they earn in Forest on planting real trees, Forest team donates to their partner and creates planting orders.

This app is perfect for those who need a bit of support in keeping off their phone, and when used alongside aeroplane mode, your phone is now fully set up to help you focus. And what a beautiful message:

‘Whenever you want to focus plant a tree’


Has your mind mapping ever felt too old skool? Restricted within the limited space on a page in an exercise book or a whiteboard? Well with SimpleMind you can create epic mind maps with a wider array of different tools, to make your mind maps more expansive and dynamic. And it’s so simple to use. Label a diagram and then tap on a number of different formatting tools to help organize anything from project work, revision notes, to essay planning.  

This app is great for those who want to do away with paper and want to plan big. There is the basic free edition, or a pro edition which has more features for pdf sharing and using images.


I don’t know about you, but back in the day by the third week of any school term my homework diary already looked like a graffitied wall, with reems of its pages having fallen out. If you too, need a modern, digitalized, homework diary, to help you manage your homework better, then this app is super efficient and simple to use to help prioritize deadlines, track assignments, projects, tests, receive due date reminders and more. You can download a free version or pay 5 pounds per year for more advanced features, such as file sharing, and to go ad free.


There’s a lot to be said for simply copying off the board, as writing notes down can be an important part of retaining information. But what if your handwriting is not always legible or more to the point, you want to file your teacher’s board work more effectively? With Microsoft Lens, you photo the board and can edit, store, and manage any information presented in class in a much more manageable way, which is so much better than simply taking a photo of the board at the end of class. With Lens you have all of the simple benefits of using a camera, as well as all of the benefits of annotating, filing, amending, and saving into different formats.

Microsoft Lens brings note taking into the 21st century.    

Oxford English Dictionary

Possibly the oldest app in the book, but not to be missed, the Oxford English Dictionary app is well worth the £18.49 a year for its full subscription. Audio pronunciations, offline usage, and 100% ad-free. 

The Oxford English Dictionary App is same cost as a new hardback dictionary but with all of the modern trimmings.  


At SBC we truly believe in learning as a community and that everyone has valuable knowledge they can share. When preparing for an exam a fantastic way to consolidate your learning is by teaching what you’ve learned. Many people use YouTube to make mini tutorials, which if you are making them can get lost in the digital ether, and as a result you might not receive that many likes or followers, but with Learnie you very much belong to a smaller online community and can interact with more people. You can find mini tutorials connected to a subject that you’re studying, or more usefully, share your newly acquired subject knowledge with a mini tutorial of your own.     

In essence, Learnie is a smaller version of TikTok tailored towards learning, and though at first glance isn’t brimming with videos, could definitely be an app to look out for in the future.  

Khan Academy

With over 500,000 educational apps available online, so many you can find have not been updated, can’t be used without a teacher, or you now have to pay for. Khan Academy is unique, in that it has remained a non-profit whose mission is “to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Their app is free and offers lessons for students from Primary School all the way up through to Higher Education, and what makes this app particularly stand out is that it has a whole section on Life Skills, which has videos and exercises from everything from Entrepreneurships, Careers to Personal finance.

The short videos are fresh and engaging, come with transcripts, and are often interactive with quizzes and questions to complete.    

Overall, it’s rare to find such a dynamic educational app in which you could feasibly continue to download onto your handset throughout your entire life.   

We hope that you too manage to play with some of the apps above and find ones which suit your needs, at whichever stage of your educational journey you ‘appen’ to be at….  


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