Mobile Computing

The 5 Most Popular Educational Apps of 2014

These are five top-rated apps from Common Sense Graphite's "Best Ed Tech of 2014" list. For complete reviews, and for each app’s "Learning Rating," visit the Graphite website.

Hooked on PhonicsHooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition
Grades: PreK-1
Price: $49.99
Concepts: Phonics, memorization, letter or word recognition
Catchy songs, funny videos, and interactive games keep kids engaged while they learn how to build words with Hooked on Phonics. The app’s research-based curriculum and step-by-step approach allows students to work at their own pace. Teachers appreciate the mix of phonics and sight words, and kids enjoy the variety of delivery — songs, games, and books — and the predictability of how each step advances. Read the full Graphite review.


Grades: Pre-K through 5
Price: Free
Concepts: Digital creation, using and applying technology
TinyTap is both a tool for creating interactive games and books, and a vast library of games and content. The beauty of the app is its versatility: Teachers can find precreated content in their library or make their own content that is specific to the needs of their students. Students can become creators too, making their own interactive games and books. Read the full Graphite review.

Grades: 1 through 12
Price: Request a quote
Concepts: Reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary
LightSail is an e-reading “literacy platform” that helps teachers support their students’ independent reading. Students can use LightSail to check out texts from their school’s digital library and read the books directly on their devices. Teachers can use LightSail to monitor their students’ reading in real time and in great detail. Real-time opportunities for assessment and feedback make monitoring and encouraging student reading convenient and inviting. Read the full Graphite review.


Shadow PuppetShadow Puppet Edu
Grades: 2 through 5
Price: Free
Concepts: Storytelling, presenting, multiple forms of expression
Creating high-quality, versatile presentations is intuitive and engaging with Shadow Puppet Edu. Students can create video slideshows with their own narration, text and images. For teachers, the app comes preloaded with about 30 project ideas, including a family heritage map, an art portfolio, a history recap, a new report, digital storytelling, a science experiment recap, a persuasive ad and more. Read the full Graphite review.


Twelve a DozenTwelve a Dozen
Grades: 4 through 8
Price: $4.99
Concepts: Addition, division, multiplication
Twelve a Dozen is a rare gem that offers the opportunity for kids to truly learn through gameplay. Instead of specific, targeted practice or drill-style worksheets, kids get a highly engaging, meaningful learning experience. Even kids who are above the skill of addition in the first level will be absorbed by the puzzle-like challenges and arcade-style gameplay. Read the full Graphite review.

About the Author

Common Sense Education helps educators find the best edtech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Go to Common Sense Education for free resources including full reviews of digital tools, ready-made lesson plans, videos, webinars, and more.