Common Sense


Great Windows Apps for Learning

Whether you're looking for Windows apps for your phone, laptop, or desktop these apps will steer you and your students in the right direction. We've curated our top-rated Windows apps for STEM, ELA, and Social Studies as well as more general purpose apps that cross a variety of subjects or build creative and critical thinking skills. There's everything from innovative games to essential instructional tools, and tools for every grade level.

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Windows Apps for All Classrooms

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

High-quality animated videos engage young kids in a variety of topics

Bottom line: Great videos, though kids' learning should be enhanced with interactive elements to encourage deeper, more active learning.

Common Core Standards

Complete Common Core State Standards in convenient, searchable, free resource

Bottom line: Love 'em or hate 'em, this resource puts them at your fingertips.

Khan Academy

Missions boost learning with balance of focus, freedom to explore

Bottom line: A solid resource for Common Core math instruction as well as foundational knowledge in a number of other subjects.


Interactive slideshow tool engages students, promotes collaboration

Bottom line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and offers both teacher- and student-paced learning.

BrainPOP Featured Movie

Incredibly engaging cartoons on a wide range of topics draw kids in

Bottom line: These short videos are undeniably valuable as a teaching tool for elementary and middle school kids.


Classic logic puzzler gets a beautiful new look

Bottom line: Promote powerful thinking skills, resilience, and decision making through purely fun gameplay that will keep students begging for more.

World of Goo

Stellar physics builder with wiggly, animated goo balls

Bottom line: A fascinating fantasy world and constant puzzle challenge pull kids into learning about building structures and geometry.


Manage classes, content, and communication with social LMS platform

Bottom line: This free platform allows for teacher-monitored classroom communication but lacks excitement.


Impressive organizational tool has limitless uses

Bottom line: This free information-management tool can help kids become tech-savvy and learn to better organize their digital lives.

Microsoft OneNote

Note-taking giant built for flexible, collaborative work

Bottom line: A powerful (and free) tool for thinking and organization that's making smart strides in the education space.

Microsoft Sway

Cool scroll effects, flexible features boost visual storytelling tool

Bottom line: A great tool for design and presentation, if great visuals and easy sharing trump having the active viewing features present in other tools.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

Bottom line: Gives students easy access to professional tools for creating digital art.


Explore the world's nuts and bolts in this fab interactive info hub

Bottom line: Interesting, well-researched articles make this free resource a gem.


Share files with Microsoft’s free but limited cloud storage tool

Bottom line: For those in the MS ecosystem, it's great; it's even a solid choice for those in more, shall we say, indecisive schools mixing iPads and MS computers. However, others will likely prefer more full-featured competitors.

Windows Apps for ELA and Social Studies Classrooms

Stack the Countries

A whole world of facts, maps, and fun waiting to be stacked

Bottom line: Kids learn about the world through easy-to-use flashcards and exciting stacking games.

iTooch 6th Grade Language Arts

Quality lessons, challenging quizzes help kids learn core concepts

Bottom line: This solid companion to the ELA classroom offers brief lessons and quizzes to reinforce key concepts and skills.

Scribblenauts Remix

Vocab-building word puzzles inspire creative problem-solving

Bottom line: Wide-open problem solving builds creativity, vocabulary, and spelling skills, but controls can be tricky.

The New York Times

Easy access to news, but most content is available only to subscribers

Bottom line: Provides an easy-to-use news resource, but only section front pages are accessible without a subscription.

NPR News

Top-notch digital content takes students beyond the airwaves

Bottom line: Provides an easy, fun, and effective way to engage students with radio.

Windows Apps for STEM Classrooms

Motion Math: Hungry Fish

Six games build mental math skills and promote fact fluency

Bottom line: Excellent tool to improve mental math, memorization, speed and acuity.


Super STEM resource with highly accessible content

Bottom line: Making STEM content accessible to kids with different learning styles, CK-12 could be the key to mastery for some students.


Impressive, interactive 3D models augment classroom learning

Bottom line: While some models are lower resolution and less appealing, Lifeliqe is still a no-brainer for supplying mostly clear, professional 3D models for deep investigation.

Next Generation Science Standards

Free resource puts Next Generation Science Standards at your fingertips

Bottom line: Super-handy resource makes science standards easy to access anytime, anywhere.

Kodu Game Lab

Open-ended game design and programming tool for visual thinkers

Bottom line: The 3D game-making environment and fun, visual logic will definitely grab some students, but others will need support the game just doesn't provide.

DragonBox Algebra 5+

Mesmerizing step-by-step puzzler sets the foundation for algebra

Bottom line: This innovative game-changer teaches algebra, changes the way kids learn it, and even changes how they feel about it.

iTooch 6th Grade Math

Comprehensive practice tool covers a wide range of skills

Bottom line: Plenty of exercises help kids boost their math skills in a fun and engaging way.

NOVA Elements

Info-packed science resource great for teaching the elements

Bottom line: NOVA Elements is an awesome tool that can be used to build knowledge and understanding while keeping students engaged in the learning process.

Sky Map

Encourage planetary appreciation with fab free app

Bottom line: A sharp pocket-planetarium tool that can help foster students’ curiosity about the universe.

DragonBox Algebra 12+

Super fun, cutting-edge approach to learning and practicing algebra

Bottom line: Kids build a strong foundation for algebra by learning the underlying concepts for solving equations with this extremely fun and educational math tool.


Create, share, and modify math models and simulations

Bottom line: Free open-source software that lets teachers build or adapt learning experiences to meet their kids' needs.

The PocketLab

Gather and analyze live data anywhere

Bottom line: A science sensor that pairs with your device to gather and analyze data is perfect for inquiry-based learning.

Cogent Education

Think like a scientist: Solve biology case studies

Bottom line: Practice problem-solving skills and learn biology through interactive case studies.

Arloon Chemistry

Build, name, explore 3-D chemical models with augmented-reality tool

Bottom line: A cool way to help kids learn the names and structures of compounds using interactive 3-D technology.

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