The 10 Best back-to-school apps

From virtual sketchbooks to alarm clocks, check out these smart ways to get the pupils in your house learning...

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The Independent Tech

1. Course notes

£2.49, (iPad)

This app is like having your own secretary, something that most GCSE students could probably do with. It keeps all your notes and organises them by subject, so you can quickly review lessons.

2. Mathboard

£2.99, (iPad)

Mathboard's fun chalk and blackboard may look playful but the app has a range of addition and multiplication tests to challenge the most nimble brains. There's also a section to review the answers.

3. The Elements: A Visual Exploration

£4.99, (iPad)

The Periodic Table never looked so cool. Theodore Gray's Elements has gone all interactive. As well as presenting facts and figures, it has lots of tween-friendly pictures.

4. Flash Cards

£2.49, (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7)

Flash Cards helps you create memory cards. Use text and images to memorise a variety of topics. Sets of cards can be exchanged via DropBox to build a database.

5. Visual Anatomy

£1.49, (iPad, iPhone, Android)

This app is an interactive version of Gray's Anatomy, so it's perfect for getting your little ones interested in biology and physiology. It's really engaging so, with luck, they won't even notice they are learning.

6. Evernote

Free, (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry)

The app is available on all smartphones as well as browsers. It enables you to capture notes, photos, lists and records, which you can then search through at the end.

7. Colors!

£2.99, (Nintendo 3DS, iPhone)

Nurture your little Tracey or Damien (and tolerate American spelling) with an app that promotes their artistic side without ruining your rug. Then you can replay their efforts, stroke by stroke.

8. Lola's Alphabet Train

£1.80, (DSi, 3DS) £2.49 (iPhone)

Good at easing little children back to school. Players follow Lola as she gives presents to friends. You help her by identifying letters to spell out each gift. For the 3-5s or 5-7s.

9. Wolfram Alpha

£1.49, (iPhone, iPad)

Like having an encyclopaedia in your pocket. It piques intellectual curiosity and provides a reference guide. It's split into sections and has information on everything from the weather to astrophysics.

10. Wakeful

Free, (iPhone, Blackberry, Android)

Let Wakeful get your tricky teens out of bed. There is the loud sound of course, but also lots of information on everything from the day's weather to the news headlines.