Mobile apps are becoming a popular way to access information. These applications are downloaded to devices such as smartphones and slablets (tablet sized devices such as the Apple iPad). Many free and low cost nonfiction resources are available for these devices.

The Chemical Touch by Christopher Fennell is an app for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad that explores the properties of elements, the standard amino acids, and the nucleobases. The periodic table and chemical information companion provide a wealth of easy-to-access information (see below left).

Chemical TouchDino

In Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History Collections, users can explore hundreds of images of dinosaurs and learn facts about each (see above right). In Cosmic Discoveries, users can explore nearly a 1000 astronomic images and information.

Mobile devices are increasingly becoming part of a museum experience. For instance, the American Museum of Natural History has an app called AMNH Explorer that can be used to chart a course through the museum. It provides a personal tour for visitors.

Zoo WhoSome apps are designed for use on websites. For instance, readers of the Vampire Academy series can learn more about the series on a Facebook App.

Reference Materials

From dictionaries to encyclopedia, many reference materials are available as apps. For instance, Math Ref provides reference materials in the area of math. The Convert app is helpful as a unit calculator.

Many of these applications come from authoritative sources such as World Atlas HD from National Geographic Society. Websites are also turning their resources into apps. For instance has a dictionary available.

Reference materials are popular apps. For instance, Zoo Who? An Animal Encyclopedia provides information including text, audio, and video related to 600 animals (see image on left).

Field guides are available for outdoor activities. MyNature Tree Guide helps with tree identification. Cliff Notes are also available.

Digital Collections

Many museums are sharing their collections as apps. For instance the Love Art app provides access to the National Gallery, London (see below left). The Lourve Museum is also available. Fans of Vincent Van Gogh can download a unique app containing both artwork and writings of the famous artist (see below right).


Packing for MarsNonfiction Reading

In addition to resources specifically designed as apps, young adult readers will also find many quality nonfiction books available in electronic formats. Mary Roach is the author of many popular science books for teens and adults. Packing for Mars is available in the print format, but also in the iBook, Kindle, and Nook format. Readers can also enjoy it as an audio CD or MP3 Audio.


As you explore informational materials on mobile devices, think about how they will be used.

Reading. Some information resources are presented in an e-book type format. For instance, Achievers Writing Center is an app that has been called the "ultimate essay writing handbook" for high school and college students. This ebook contains 45 chapters of writing instructions and resources. The digital transcriptions for many primary sources documents are available through apps. For instance We The People provides the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Shakespeare Pro contains the complete works of Shakespeare with a concordance search to find specific words and phrases (see below left). As you evaluate resources think about the screen size and the ability to change font sizes and easily scroll through and search for information.


Media Enhancements. While some apps simply present text information, others include a full range of features including images, audio, video, glossaries, and quizzes. For instance, Mitosis by Standard Nine walks users through the process of mitosis incorporating a wide range of features (see above center). The Brain Tutor 3D provides rotatable 3D models of the human brain along with text information.

The Yoga Stretch app provides customized yoga sessions and information with music.

Internet Enhancements. As you select resources, consider whether the app is stand-alone or requires Internet access. For instance, 3D Sun provides information about the sun. With an Internet connection, it also provides news about solar activity (see above right).

Some tools such as AllTheCountries Pro provide detailed information about each country, but also provide links for additional text and images with links to Wikipedia, Google, Flickr and more.

readWatch a video showing iPad iMagineering from Penguin Books.


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