Facebook might not be the ideal place to educate yourself compared to a college classroom, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to fit in some time for cerebral stimulation between catching up on status updates. There are a handful of great educational applications, ranging from the practical to the whimsical, that can help expand your intellectual horizons in your spare time. While they don’t all fit into the category of academia, these apps will definitely get your mind’s motor running.
Why not start your quest for a more mentally active Facebook experience with a quick IQ test? These two applications are a fun way to gauge your logic and problem-solving skills, two factors of a high IQ. The first IQ test is standard, and the Advanced Level is designed for anyone who scored over 100 on the original. If your score is not as high as you would like on these tests, don’t worry: after some time doing mental laps with the other applications on this list, you’ll likely find yourself more mentally fit. Although, do be careful, as you can only take each of these tests once.
Interested in brushing up on your philosophy? This is possibly the most robust philosophy app out there, so it’s a great place to start for philosophy buffs and newbies alike. The greatest minds in recorded human history are featured, including bibliographical information, famous quotes, a list of publications, images and more. After browsing this massive repository of knowledge, you can choose your favorite philosopher to display on your profile, or “throw” a philosopher at a friend to spark a discussion. And if you want to dig a little deeper, there is an active community that engages in philosophical discussions, polls, and debate. Learn about the origins of liberalism by browsing John Locke’s page, go way back to Plato for a foundational perspective of reality as forms and shadows, or try to wrap your mind around Einstein’s theories of relativity.
Looking for something a little more concrete than the sometimes abstract philosophies of the human condition? The Language Exchange app connects speakers of a variety of languages with one another to share their verbal knowledge. If you’ve ever wanted to learn another language but didn’t know where to start, this app can help. It enables you to find a language partner and build your skills using a real, native speaker as a mentor. The catch is, you have to reciprocate: you and your partner will take turns being the student and the teacher, exchanging knowledge for your mutual learning. In the end, you will likely need other resources to fully grasp a language, but the large number of participants and vibrant community on this app means that you’ll get plenty of practice, and you will likely learn much faster than if you were on your own.
In the age of soundbites and 30 second YouTube clips, it can be difficult to find the time or the motivation to sit down with a good book and read. But with a Facebook app that keeps track of what you’re reading, the makers of Goodreads Books are hoping you’ll be reinvigorated. The premise of the app is simple: let your friends know what you’re reading, share some thoughts on your favorite books, and get recommendations for your next literary selection. With over 150,000 monthly active users, you’ll have thousands of book reviews from Goodreads users at your fingertips, and by sharing your favorites with your friends and family, there’s always the possibility of starting an impromptu book club or discussion.
Professional development is just as much a part of our lifelong learning as philosophy and literature. Veechi is a service that focuses on specific methods of improving your mind and how you present yourself to the world. The app, designed for college or university students, offers a professional resume critique, job board, and job hunting tips, as well as an entire section dedicated to browsing, rating, and signing up for classes based on the educational information you provide. They have even compiled information about instructors, including the grades they have given out, popularity, course requirements, and more. This is a great practical tool for exploring your school, and your post-education prospects.
These are just some of the apps that can broaden your mind and lead to a lifetime of learning, on- and off-line. If you’re looking for a break from the sometimes overwhelming status updates, news feeds, and link sharing going on on your Facebook wall, take a breather with some productive, educational applications. You’ll thank yourself.