For most people, science classes were a memorable part of their education, but the reasons for this differ from person to person. Some individuals found the talk of nuclei and cell structures to be some of the most engaging and relevant information they had ever encountered. Others simply appreciated it as a good background to some of their most engrossing and creative daydreams.
Both camps could, in general, agree on one point, however — science is better seen than read. Obviously, practical considerations prevent the classroom dissection of a whale, or the physical inspection of lava. Modern technology can provide the next best thing, though, in the form of interactive on-screen experiences.
A shining light in this field has been an iPad app, named, quite simply, The Elements, which provides detailed descriptions, interactive 360º imagery and high quality videos of the periodic table’s constituent parts. Now, it has arrived in the OSX App Store, priced at $19.99. Given that a major part of the original iOS app’s appeal was the ability to “touch” elements on a display, can the desktop environment really provide the same, insightful experience?
At school the only subjects to truly capture my attention were the sciences. I was always utterly enamoured with space, the not so final-final frontier. Today, many years later, I realise that space is far from a singular topic, but, rather, a subject in a constant state of flux further sub-divided into many schools of thought far beyond my level of comprehension. Such a vast topic can be understandably daunting—especially for young students—but everybody has to start somewhere; somewhere like the solar system.
Solar Walk utilises a fully-explorable 3D model of the solar system to make the subject interactive and informative helping to encourage seedling scientific minds. By introducing new found lovers of space to the fundamental make-up of our celestial home it can help build a solid platform of knowledge that can be used to undertake a deeper, more complex interest in the cosmos. Join me after the break to find out how Solar Walk stacks up!
With the recent release of iBooks Author from Apple, I started to think more about using Apple products as learning tools. The iBooks Author announcement and accompanying video certainly generate some excitement at the possibilities using the iPad in classrooms and that is great, but I became curious as to what type of applications were currently available in the Mac App Store.
I began exploring and trolling for educational applications. We’ve done roundups on educational tools, such as note taking aids and other utilities of that nature, so I wanted to focus more on applications that directly help you to learn something. This wasn’t an easy task as they proved to be quite difficult to find. Here’s a list of fifty to get you started.
They got us to the moon using a sliderule and computers with only a tiny fraction of the processing power available in your iPhone. They were math and science geeks, and I salute them. Mac OS X is home to some truly great software that can help you get your job done, as well as educate and inspire the next generation of geeks who will take us deeper into the stars.
Many of these apps are complimentary, but each stands alone and can be used separately with fantastic results. If you’re into astronomy, chemistry, algebra, calculus, or physics then there’s something for you. In no particular order, here are seven different Mac apps specifically for the math or science geek in each of us.