From time to time I get roped into investing way too much time into mindless video games. I’ve played all the “stories”, I’ve matched all of the candies and most of the Disney characters and as of late I have been working on a repetitive stress injury by way of rapidly (as well as vapidly) clicking the mouse.

Typically after one of these binges, I try to find a way to occupy my time that is a bit more productive. I delete the offending game and then shift gears to reading more or spending time in games that are educational. Recently I went through just about every damn education app on Android and settled on a daily routine involving just three.

1. Elevate

Elevate is hands down, my favorite education app. The look and feel is clean and modern. The way it tracks your progress is straight forward and easy to understand. Some of the games even explain where you fucked up so you can learn from it.

Recently they added some new training activities to help you improve in the different areas. For the most part, the Elevate games focus on reading, listening and retention. The free tier allows you to play 3 different games each day. You can also set a weekly goal and setup a push alert to remind you to play.

2. Lumosity

I like Lumosity but there are some things that I hate. Fortunately, the things that I hate don’t outweigh the variety of games and ease of use. What I like? I like that that Lumosity focuses more on problem solving. It’s a great complement to Elevate’s language-centric approach.

What I don’t like? The stupid LPI score. I don’t mind that it’s arbitrary and all of that, I mind that there’s no way to tell if you’re improving. Some milestones along the way like Elevate would be nice.

The free tier also allows you to play 3 games per day. There are no reminder alerts and the weekly goal is fixed to 7 days a week.

3. Duolingo

If you know me, you know I am horribad at Spanish. Took it for 4 years in high school only to graduate with 2 credits. Yes, it was that bad. I figured that after a 16 year break that things may have changed a bit.

Duolingo is a 100% free education app for learning a language. You can set daily goals and instead of just playing random games every day, you work through a more guided curriculum.

That games range from matching words to entering in the translation (both ways) to transcribing what is being said. Since I have been using it, they have added a new game type but I am unsure of how regularly they add new stuff.

Conclusion

I went through quite a few apps some of which were about as horrible as my Spanish. These three apps are completely polished and because of that have become part of my daily routine.

Would I pay for the apps with a premium tier? Honestly, I don’t see me paying for more than one education and I am not convinced that either Elevate or Lumosity is well rounded enough at this point. I’d pay for Duolingo in an instant though, it does it’s job very well. If I had to speculate, I will probably buy Elevate eventually as they offer a lifetime option instead of paying monthly or yearly. Just makes sense to me.

YMMV but I do feel as if I am a bit more on my game since I started playing these games a few months back. My vocabulary as improved and my ability to think through problems has sped up. The bonus is that all of the typing on Duolingo has improved my texting abilities.

Sadly, Elevate and Lumosity don’t have friends lists but Duolingo does! Stop everything you are doing and friend me, I’m joshtronic.

What are your favorite education apps? Comment below!