Many experts say that creativity is not necessarily something you have or don’t have, but that can be nurtured and developed. If you are searching for ways to feed your creativity, then take a look at these online tools. From tools that help you organize, plan, and brainstorm to tools that inspire through writing prompts and creative photos to tools that work to develop the creative mind, you will find plenty of inspiration in this list.
Brainstorming and Mind Maps
Sometimes getting good ideas is just a matter of finding them lurking just beyond your current thoughts. Use these tools to seek out ideas and get them organized so they are working for you.
- Idea Lottery. Scroll down and plug in "elements" of your challenge, then see what ideas are generated from which you can start brainstorming creative ways to complete your challenge.
- Jump Start. Working similarly to the Idea Lottery (and provided by the same people), enter a "How can I?" question, then get a list of adjectives that can help start the brainstorming process.
- Google Sets. Generate a list based on your keyword and choose from a short list of 15 or less words and a long list.
- Kayuda. Record and organize your thoughts with Kayuda.
- FreeMind. This mind-mapping tool can help organize your research or help you brainstorm.
- WiseMapping. Create mind maps with this free tool that also allows sharing if you are collaborating with others.
- yWriter5. Writers or anyone working on large written projects can organize large sections of their work with this tool.
- bubble.us. This tool creates bubbles to connect your ideas in order to help you with brainstorming.
- Mindomo. Use this mind mapping tool to organize your thoughts and start your project with a clear plan.
- VUE. Designed specifically for those in teaching and research, this tool helps keep your work and thoughts organized.
- View Your Mind. Create and edit mind maps with this tool that helps you see your thoughts.
- Cmap Tools. Another tool specifically for research, this one helps create concept maps.
- Mapul. This tool helps you easily create organic-looking mind maps to organize your thoughts boost creativity.
- Gliffy. Create flowcharts to help organize your ideas as well as map out the steps to complete your projects.
Organization and Productivity
Staying organized and increasing your productivity gives you more time for being creative. These tools will feed your creativity by making life easier.
- 43 Things. Publish your lists to this community to keep yourself accountable and browse through other’s lists to find creative ideas.
- Ta-da Lists. This simple online to-do list is easy to use and a great way to record ideas as well as tasks.
- Toodledo. Keep a to-do list here where you can also take advantage of such features as setting priorities, analyzing dates, and creating time estimates for scheduling.
- bitBomb. This tool allows you to set up reminders in a calendar format that come to your mobile phone as text messages so you will never forget to do something again.
- Stickies. Jot down your creative thoughts or post reminders for yourself with these virtual sticky notes on your computer that can be iconified when you don’t need them.
- Thinkature. Use this tool to organize your thoughts and research or collaborate with others as you prepare your project.
- ProBoards. Easily create an online discussion board to facilitate collaboration and group brainstorming sessions.
- ThinkFold. Create interactive, real-time outlines for collaborative groups with this tool that makes working together a breeze.
- 30 Boxes. Stay organized with this online calendar that features a simple design and is easy to use.
- Jotlet. Another online calendar, this one allows you to share with friends, family, or coworkers.
- TreePad Lite. A great way to stay organized, this personal database provides a place for you to keep notes, emails, texts, links, and more in a simple format.
Note-Taking and Journaling
Whether you want to put your notes down before you forget them, you journal your thoughts in notebooks, or you need a place to write down all the elements of your project, the following tools will ensure you have everything together and accessible.
- Evernote. No matter where your inspiration comes from, use this tool to take a photo with your phone, type in text, or clip information from the Internet so you never lose a creative thought again.
- Google Notebook. Use Google search capabilities, Google Bookmarks, a rich-text editor, labels, and more in this tool that will help to keep your notes or journal your thoughts.
- Zoho Notebook. Use this tool to integrate audio, video, html, URLs, files, and much more into your notes.
- UberNote. Email or IM notes and bookmarks with this tool that also works with your mobile phone.
- Tinderbox. Store and organize your notes with this tool, which also allow you to post notes to your blog.
- Qipit. Take a photo of any document with your phone, then use this tool to convert it to a PDF file.
- Jott. Use Jott for the ultimate in voice message note-taking. Call to leave yourself a note or add an appointment to your calendar.
- WebAsyst Notes. Create notes, organize them in folders, and share with others with this tool.
- Luminotes. This note-taking tool allows you to create notes, link them together, and stay organized in an easy-to-use format.
- Notefish. As you run across inspiration on the Internet, save content on Notefish notes, which can be organized and shared.
- Wridea. Write down your creative ideas, then edit, categorize, and share them.
- FruitNotes. Call from your phone and leaving voice notes, uploading photos and videos, and share your ideas online with others with this tool.
- Net Notes. For Firefox users, this add-on allows you to save notes about websites into your bookmarks.
- Writeboard. Create online text documents with this tool that allows you to share your content if you are collaborating with others.
- Springnote. This tool allows you to take notes on your own or work with others to create a collaborative notebook for group projects.
Color Palette Creation
If you are inspired by color or work with color, these tools will help you find new and creative ways to use colors together.
- COLOURlovers. Not only can you compare color palettes, but find out about color trends, read color articles, and more.
- The Browser-Safe Web Palette. Use these tools to create colors that will look great no matter which browser your readers are using.
- kuler. This tool is versatile and fun. Find colors by images, emotions, colors you select, or by browsing popular combinations.
- Color Palette Generator. Enter the URL for any website to get the colors used in it.
- Colorcombos. Get the latest color combinations, search the archives, or select random combinations to find colors to fit any need.
Use these tools to make the most creative images you can, then share them with the world.
- Gimp. If you can’t afford Photoshop, try this tool that includes layers, channels, paths, and plenty of painting tools.
- Picnik. This powerhouse of a photo editing tool lets you get creative and is totally free.
- Splashup. Modeled after Photoshop, this free tool allows you to edit and manage your photos.
- Picasa. Organize, edit, and share your photos online with this super easy and versatile photo editor.
- Flickr. Edit photos and share with others or browse through the amazing number of photos available for anyone to enjoy.
- Flash Slide Show Maker. Create Flash slide shows quickly and easily with this free software.
If you like looking at photos for inspiration, then check out these places on the Internet that will stimulate your creativity.
- Smugmug. This site has some absolutely gorgeous photos that are well worth browsing for help finding your creativity.
- elements. Click on the Explore button to generate inspirational photos. Sign up for free to rate, follow, and see favorites.
- SXC. Find free stock photographs at this site that can either serve as inspiration or you can incorporate into your creative endeavors.
- morgueFile. These stock photographs are free to use and free to browse through for great ideas.
- One Photo a Day. Get a new photo every day on this site, or browse through the past days to see inspirational photos.
- 365 Pictures Prompts. Visit this site each day for a new photo contributed from independent photographers to feed your creativity.
- The Photographer’s Life. Enter contests or just browse through the inspirational photos here. Be sure to visit the Hall of Fame for some of the best.
- Every Photo Tells a Story. Check out the images posted here every day for a wide range of photos and pictures.
- Fotosearch. While these photos aren’t free to use, there are plenty to browse through for inspiration or ideas for your own creations.
Story Builders and Writing Prompts
Sitting in front of a blank page is not very creative. If you find yourself there, use these prompts to get your creativity flowing.
- Imagination Prompt Generator. Spend some time writing with each of these prompts (they recommend 10 minutes). Feel free to use several or skip to one that inspires you.
- Big Huge Thesaurus. Look up synonyms, antonyms, and rhymes, then get blog post ideas and story plot ideas at this site.
- Visual Thesaurus. Look up a word and get synonyms mapped out for you. This is a great way to explore words with varying connotations or to become inspired by related words.
- Creative Writing Prompts. Get over 300 writing prompts that range from writing about physical objects to specific memories to creating a poem with a group of random words.
- Writer’s Digest – Writing Prompts. With pages and pages of writing prompts available here, you won’t run out of great triggers to get your creative writing going.
- WritingFix: The Daily Prompt Generator. This interactive writing prompt generator offers almost 550 questions to jumpstart your writing.
- McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Thirteen Writing Prompts. These writing prompts range from scenarios set up for you to ending sentences of a short story.
- Writing Prompts. Click the button to get a random selection of writing prompts here.
- About.com Creative Writing Prompts. This page lists several links to ideas and writing prompt generators.
- Writing Prompt Generator. Select from one of the three buttons to have prompts generated that are sure to spark your creativity.
- Portrait of Words: Writing Challenge Photo Prompts. Each month, writers are invited to view a set of photographs and are challenged to create a story around them.
Finding What’s Popular on the Internet
Sometimes creativity is born from what is new and popular in the world around you. Check out these tools that will help you discover what everyone is talking about online.
- StumbleUpon. Sign up and indicate your interests, then when you hit the StumbleUpon button, you can discover all sorts of cool websites and other sources of inspiration tailored to your preferences.
- Delicious. This popular site lets you see what is popular with others as well as bookmark those items that catch your interest.
- Reddit. Users vote on sites that go up and down in popularity. Find out what is coming or going out of style here.
- Digg. Not only can you see how users are voting on items here, but you can also read comments about them.
Various Creativity Triggers
From checking out inspirational websites to creativity exercises to coming up with fun slogans, these tools will help trigger your creativity when it’s waning.
- Creativity Portal. Find ideas for arts and crafts, creative living, writing, and prompts–or if all else fails, get creativity coaching.
- EyeWire Creativity Cards. Print out these cards and use them to spark your creativity when you are feeling less inspired.
- Favorite Website Awards. The websites showcased here are sure to offer inspiration and appreciation for other’s creativity.
- An Exercise. Try out this exercise from the book, The Creative Brain, that gets your imagination and creativity flowing.
- Learn to be MORE Creative NOW!. Get exercises to start the creative process as well as four lessons at this website.
- Creativity Pool. Add ideas for inventions that should be made or search for ideas that others have contributed here.
- CREAX. Use this amazing website as a tool to spark your creativity with its links to 841 websites handpicked by the CREAX team and thought to be the best in creativity and innovation.
- Creative Aerobics. Select online activities from this list that will help you explore topics or concepts, break mindsets, find alternate problem-solving techniques, and much more.
- Web Lab. Check out the projects going on at this site that all share a goal of bringing new perspectives to important social issues.
- Mindstreaming. This community shares ideas on how to bring about world peace. Find some creative ideas here that may spark your own creativity.
- Instructables. This website is full of fun projects you can create yourself. Browse through these projects to get your creative juices flowing.
- Sketchcast. Create your own sketches you can share or spend some time looking at sketches drawn and posted by others.
- Sloganizer. Use this tool to create slogans based on keywords or use the slogans generated as a trigger for brainstorming your own.
- Good Things Should Never End. The fun, interactive graphics on this website are meant solely for entertainment purposes and will likely feed your creativity as you play along the way.
There’s one surefire way to make sure you keep your brain working in top shape and help keep it working creatively, and that’s by keeping it stimulated every day. Play some of these online puzzles and games that are just right for feeding the creative brain.
- Thinks.com Jigsaw Puzzles. Get a great selection of jigsaw puzzles you can solve online.
- LA Times Daily Crossword. Play the daily puzzle or archived puzzles and select from one of two solving modes–one highlights wrong answers and the other doesn’t.
- Classic New York Times Crossword Puzzle. You can play one of these notoriously difficult puzzles every day for free or pay for a membership to have access to more options.
- WebCrosswords.com. Using a format similar to the LA Times puzzles, these puzzles provide even more crossword fun.
- Online Sudoku. Get your Sudoku fix online with this game that allows you to choose difficulty, save, reload, get hints, and check how you are doing.
- Free Online Word Search Puzzles. Solve word search puzzles from one of several categories.
- Logic Puzzles. Solve these free timed, logic puzzles that provide an easy-to-use solving grid.
- word games. Choose from one of eight different types of word games including Cryptoquote, Storyman, and Codeword that are sure to keep your brain in shape.
- The Letterbox Game. This game requires you make as many three and four-letter words as possible and is a great way to start thinking outside the box.
- Tetris. This classic game will help with quick, logical thinking and is just really fun.
- Free Online Mahjong Games. Find an enormous number of mahjong games here ranging from games for the casual player to the Mahjong master.
COLLEGE DEGREE FINDER
Twitter is a wonderful social tool, but did you know that it’s also a goldmine of information? You can use Twitter to get the latest scoop on current events as well as topical interests. Read on, and you’ll learn about 50 tools that will help you use Twitter to get the information you seek.
If you’re interested in local happenings, these tools will help you find out what’s going on nearby.
- Nearby Tweets: Check out Nearby Tweets to seek out local Twitter users.
- Atlas: Use Atlas to see tweets on a map.
- GeoFollow: Using the GeoFollow directory, you’ll be able to find users in specific areas.
- CityTweets: See real time Twitter activity for cities on CityTweets.
- Twittervision: Check out Twittervision for real-time geographic tweets.
- TwitterLocal: On TwitterLocal, you can find tweets in a designated location.
- Localtweeps: Check out Localtweeps to find Twitter users near you.
Using these tools, you can find Twitter users and tweets that directly relate to the topic you’re interested in.
- Twubble: Twubble highlights Twitter users who have specific interests.
- Twellow: Twellow’s Twitter directory offers a Twitter yellow pages.
- TweetChannel: Create Twitter channels to monitor through TweetChannel.
- Twits Like Me: Twits Like Me will allow you to find related users.
- WeFollow: Check out WeFollow to find users based on interest.
- Twitter Packs: Twitter Packs offers an organized listing of Twitter users in a variety of different categories.
Set up alerts with any of these services to find out when a Twitter user discusses something you’d like to hear about.
- TweetScan: TweetScan will help you research on Twitter, getting updates for your selected keywords.
- Monitter: Keep an eye on keywords, and find out geographic areas as well.
- TweetBeep: Use TweetBeep to get updated on keywords and phrases.
- Twilert: Twilert emails you every time someone tweets with your keywords.
These Twitter tools will make it easy to zero in on the information you’re looking for.
- TweetGrid: TweetGrid is a search dashboard that will make your Twitter searches streamlined.
- Twendz: Use this real time Twitter search engine with keywords and word clouds.
- twitority: twitority is a great tool for searching Twitter users that have authority.
- Flaptor Twitter Search: Mine the Twitter web using this simple search tool.
- Tweetzi: Check out Tweetzi to use an advanced Twitter search engine.
- Twups: With this news aggregator, you can follow subjects that are important to you.
- twAnswers: If you’re seeking out information, you can ask a question and have it answered by Twitter through twAnswers.
- TwiST: Get super efficient searches through TwiST.
- JustSignal: Use Just Signal to only get the information you’re looking for, and none of the noise.
Follow what’s hot and developing on Twitter with the help of these tools.
- Twitscoop: On Twitscoop, you can learn what’s hot on Twitter, and search to see what’s going on.
- Twitt(url)y: Sort URLs by how frequently they are mentioned in Tweets using Twitt(url)y.
- Twazzup: Use Twazzup to get a quick and handy look at what’s popular on Twitter right now.
- Retweetradar: See the tag clouds and trends on retweets through retweetradar.
- Hashtags.org: Keep an eye on Twitter hashtags, and even subscribe to a hashtag using RSS.
- Twitlinks: You’ll see links from the most popular tech Twitter users through this tool.
- Twitter Search: Through Twitter Search, you’ll be able to learn about trends and search the latest tweets.
- Twist: Find aggregated data about what’s going on in Twitter from Twist.
- Twemes: Stay on top of Twitter memes with Twemes.
- twopopular: Twopopular offers a way to track hashtags and keywords on Twitter.
- MicroBlogBuzz: Learn about the most popular links on Twitter and similar services.
- ReTweetist: You’ll learn about the most popular retweets from ReTweetist.
- TweetVolume: You can find out how often keywords are used on Twitter with TweetVolume.
Twitter isn’t just a research tool: it’s a great way to share information as well. You can use these tools to get the word out.
- TwitPic: TwitPic is a wildly popular way to share photos on Twitter.
- LiveTwitting: If you’re at an event or conference, you can share your notes through LiveTwitting.
- Twiggit: Use Twiggit to let your followers know what articles you’re supporting on Digg.
- TweeTube: With TweeTube, you can share captured videos on Twitter.
- QuoteURL: Through QuoteURL, you’ll be able to reference multiple tweets at one time.
Make use of these tools to tame the firehose of information on Twitter.
- Tweetree: Tweetree makes viewing tweets in conversations convenient.
- Twtask: Using Twtask, you can make simple Twitter task lists.
- postica: Use postica to put your own sticky notes all over Twitter.
- TweetDeck: Make use of TweetDeck, and you can keep different categories of Twitter users separate.
- Twit2Do: Twit2Do is a great tool for keeping your to do list together on Twitter.
- TwitterNotes: With TwitterNotes, it’s easy to create private notes on Twitter.
COLLEGE DEGREE FINDER
When asking graduates who gave the commencement speeches on their graduation day, many are hard-pressed to remember who, if anyone, spoke. The fortunate graduates at these schools will probably always remember who spoke upon their graduation. Not only are these speakers famous celebrities ranging from actors to writers to the President of the United States, but their speeches were actually surprisingly well-done.
- Steve Jobs: Stanford, 2005. This inspirational commencement speech draws off three key points in Steve Jobs’ life as examples of how life is what you make of it: connecting the dots (realizing paths in your life eventually prepare you for your future), love and loss, and death. Closing with a tagline borrowed from a 1970′s publication, "Stay hungry. Stay foolish," Jobs urges graduates never to settle for less than what they want from life.
- Conan O’Brien: Harvard, 2000. Watch this hilarious commencement speech that illustrates the comic genius of Conan O’Brien. Just when you begin to think Conan skipped the typical inspirational pep talk requisite in commencement speeches, he comes in at the last minute with advice for Harvard graduates not to be afraid to step out of their comfort zone, or even fail, as these steps in life often lead to bigger success.
- Barack Obama: Wesleyan, 2008. Substituting for Senator Ted Kennedy, Obama steps in to deliver a speech that points out that the ordinary daily existence most people live doesn’t have to be a separate life from the life of our country. Urging graduates to make a difference in their lives by making a difference in the live of others, this inspirational speech showcases the incredible oratory skill of President Obama.
- Kermit the Frog: Southampton College, 1996. Don’t let this celebrity’s lack of mortality or the length of his short speech fool you. This commencement address at Southampton, a school recognized for its work in marine and environmental sciences, welcomes graduates into the world and thanks them for the work they have been doing and will continue to do in an effort to save the environment.
- Will Ferrell: Harvard, 2003. With his characteristic humor, Will Ferrell welcomes the Harvard graduates 2003 into the "real" world full of limos running late and sloppy assistants that can’t get your coffee ordered correctly while also throwing in important pieces of advice such as the importance of questioning your leaders and realizing that a top-quality education may not translate into success for everyone.
- Jodie Foster: University of Pennsylvania, 2006. When Jodie Foster was first announced as the commencement speaker, students were reportedly upset by the selection for commencement speaker. However, at the end of Foster’s address to the graduates where she challenged the graduates to make positive changes for the country and closed with a quote from rapper Eminem, she received a standing ovation from the Class of 2006.
- Jon Stewart: William & Mary, 2004. A graduate of William & Mary in 1984, Jon Stewart returns to his alma mater to give a commencement speech with his trademark combination of humor juxtaposed with serious issues. Urging graduates to acknowledge and help those less fortunate, praising the new generation for its ability to fix what has been broken in the recent past, choosing a path in life, and realizing the difference between completing college and experiencing life are all points Jon Stewart makes during his commencement speech on the 20th anniversary of his graduation.
- David Foster Wallace: Kenyon College, 2005. Just three years prior to the tragic death of this writer, Kenyon College Class of 2005 was honored with a commencement speech from David Foster Wallace that stresses awareness of the life the graduates will lead above simple knowledge gained while at school. The actual video of the commencement address is not available to the public due to copyright restrictions, but the speech is transcribed on the blog, marginalia.org.
- Theodor Seuss Geisel: Lake Forest College, 1977. Children of many generations have grown up on the beloved Dr. Seuss books that embrace the silliness of life and the entertainment of words. A fortunate group of graduates in 1977 were honored with a reading by Dr. Seuss himself that, although brief, captures the essence of Dr. Seuss along with important advice for anyone, graduating college or not. Be sure to read the president’s account of Dr. Seuss’ visit for the commencement below the poem.
- Bill Gates: Harvard, 2007. Perhaps one of the most famous Harvard drop-outs, Bill Gates delivers an inspirational, if not slightly controversial, speech calling graduates to not make the same mistake he did when leaving Harvard–not recognizing the terrible inequities in the world. Gates asks graduates to take their power and use it to help others in the course of their success.
- Bono: University of Pennsylvania, 2004. Bono urges graduates to embrace their future and make it what they want it to be, and asks that part of that future be to challenge ideas that are accepted by society but may not be morally acceptable. Drawing off his strong desire to help right the inequalities among humanity, especially as occurs daily in Africa, Bono describes the type of action he hopes the graduates take to make their world a better place for all.
- Seth MacFarlane: Harvard, 2006. The man behind many of the Family Guy voices, Seth MacFarlane brings a bawdy humor and his talent to play in this speech. Click through all four parts of this speech to get the full effect, complete with three of his characters, which not only offers comic relief, but good advice as well.
- Jon Bon Jovi: Monmouth University, 2001. This rock-and-roller spoke about new beginnings and humble beginnings in his well-received speech at Monmouth University. Urging students not to downplay where they come from or whether their university has a big name or not, Bon Jovi, who includes himself as one of the "underdogs," inspired the 2001 graduates of Monmouth.
- Kurt Vonnegut: Rice University, 1998. Don’t confuse this commencement speech with the Internet hoax that claimed Vonnegut addressed MIT grads with the request to wear sunscreen. This speech is quality Vonnegut and ends with a request just as beneficial as wearing sunscreen–that the graduates recognize and appreciate their happiness when it makes itself apparent.
- Alan Alda: Connecticut College, 1980. Addressing his own daughter’s, graduating class, this actor delivered a speech to the entire graduating class as if it was directed solely to his daughter, Eve. The advice is loving, empowering, and exactly what makes a great commencement speech inspirational.
- Barbara Kingsolver: Duke University, 2008. Threatening to stop after the two bits of advice, "quit smoking" and "observe posted speed limits," Barbara Kingsolver goes on to more serious and global concerns as success, the environment, and community. She offers a piece of herself in this address as well as inspiration to the graduates at Duke.
- Oprah Winfrey: Howard University, 2007. Be true to yourself, stand up for what you believe in, and take advantage of your failures are three important themes in Oprah’s speech she addresses to the graduating class of this historically black college. Oprah’s inspirational speech is filled with emotion and wisdom.
- J.K. Rowling: Harvard, 2008. This popular author talks about the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination as the graduates embark on their "real" life. This insightful speech is filled with humor and honesty as Rowling shares her experiences as a vehicle to urge graduates on to lives of success.
- Bradley Whitford: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004. Whitford’s shares six principles he has discovered that have made his life a success that include such points as "do your work," "you are capable of more than you think," and "take action." He also asks the graduates to plant trees of hope for the future generations.
- Katie Couric: Williams College, 2007. Couric talks about the evolution of technology, the benefits of hard work and humility, and being passionate in her commencement address, among other important and inspirational points. She brings in plenty of timely issues and offers advice on getting ahead in a world that is shifting quickly from how was when she was first starting out.
- Jessica Lange: Sarah Lawrence College, 2008. This actress brings in politics as a way of introducing the great responsibilities the current graduates have to make the world a better place. She goes on to express the huge potential the new graduates have as the go out into the world and challenges them to make changes, appreciate life, be receptive to change, and the pursue peace.
- Billie Jean King: University of Massachusetts, 2000. Famous tennis player and Olympic coach, King pumps up the crowd with her speech that addresses friendship, remembering your dreams, and accepting responsibility. She praises the graduates on their accomplishments and charges them with going out in the world to make changes for the better.
- Ursula K. Le Guin: Mills College, 1983. This legendary author speaks to the women among the graduates, calling them to make their place in the world of men. She asks all students, and all people, to dare to live in failure as will happen as a member of the human race, and use that failure to make the world a better place for everyone. She finishes her speech by urging women not to live as prisoners, but as natives among humanity.
- Dana Gioia: Stanford, 2007. This corporate executive-turned-writer and chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts spoke at his alma mater about the importance of not letting popular culture overshadow the arts. There was some controversy over his being named commencement speaker as many considered him too little of a celebrity, but this "minor" celebrity delivered a powerful speech that also acknowledged the importance of his father’s support to Gioia’s success.
- Margaret Atwood: University of Toronto, 1983. Atwood speaks to the graduates about being delivered into a world full of both positives and negatives where they are charged with perceiving the world as a positive in order to affect change. The timeliness of the renowned author’s words apply as much today as they did over twenty years ago when she first spoke them.
COLLEGE DEGREE FINDER
By Sarah Russel
Learning a language has gotten easier and much more convenient with the many apps available for use with your iPhone. Whether you want to learn just enough to get by while visiting another country or you want to delve more deeply into a language to become a proficient speaker, you will find apps to help you learn your language of interest. The following apps include translators, dictionaries, apps to learn multiple languages, and apps for specific languages. Download a few of these apps and start learning a new language right away.
Translators and Dictionaries
These translators and dictionaries can help you find words in several different languages, get voice pronunciation, and even find Chinese characters by drawing them on your iPhone.
- Google Mobile App. This app includes Google Translate so that you can easily translate any word, phrase, or web page in over 30 languages.
- Language Translator. Translate any text with this app that can also detect your source language.
- Language Translator. Go smoothly between 30 popular languages with this app.
- Free Translator. This translator uses Google Translate to help you translate between several different languages.
- Mobile Translator. With this app and an Internet connection, you can translate between 37 different languages.
- iTranslate Ultimate. Translate words between English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian, then have the words repeated back to you in the target language.
- Translator with Voice. This app will translate 34 different languages with voice support on all except nine of them.
- Idiom Dictionary. Whether you are learning English as a second language or just want to brush up on your slang, use this idiom dictionary to understand what people are really trying to say.
- DragonDian. Whether you are just learning Chinese or are already fluent, use this dictionary to draw Chinese characters and easily find an English translation.
These apps will help you learn more than one language if you can’t decide where to focus your attention.
- AccelaStudy. Get vocabulary, quizzes, flashcards, and much more to learn 16 different languages with this app.
- Lexicon. Study using flashcards then quiz yourself to see how well you are doing and even record and play back in audio with your iPhone.
If you want to learn Italian, then these apps will get you started with a variety of levels and activities available in each.
- Pocket Italian – Beginner I (1-10). Get a language lab right in your iPhone with this app that includes engaging story lines and a variety of voices to practice listening skills.
- Pocket Italian – Beginner Lite. Try this free version of Pocket Italian for the first lesson of the program.
- Byki Italian. Use Byki’s approach to learn Italian quickly. You can also use this app to quiz yourself or as a phrasebook.
- WordPower Lite – Italian. This free app gives you one word a day to practice and master. Listen to audio, record and play back your own voice, and use flashcards to reinforce what you are learning.
- MyWords Italian. Learn Italian by memorizing and mastering just 10 words a day with this app.
- World Nomads Italian Language Guide. Travelers will love this app that not only supplies common words and phrases, but also includes an audio pronunciation so you know how to say what you want to communicate.
Learning Spanish is easy with these apps that provide flashcards, quizzes, travel phrases, and much more.
- Byki Spanish. Get your Spanish down pat with this fast, three-step approach to language acquisition.
- English-Spanish Language Translator Phrasebook. Quickly find basic travel phrases, greetings, time and dates, shopping, and more with this app.
- MyWords – Spanish. Learn 10 Spanish words a day and their proper pronunciation to be speaking Spanish in no time.
- iSpeak Spanish. Translate between Spanish and English, hear words spoken in high quality English and Spanish voices, and even save or email the translations.
- WordPower Lite – Spanish. Learn Spanish with just one word a day with this app that includes audio in understandable Spanish, audio playback, and flashcards.
- World Nomads Spanish Language Guide. Find about 50 conversational phrases and words here to help travelers communicate without knowing much Spanish.
- Free Spanish Tutor. Get native speakers, interactive activities, and quizzes with this app that does not require Internet to work.
Learn French with these apps that provide words each day, native voice pronunciation, flashcards, basic words and phrases, and vocabulary-builders.
- Pocket French – Beginner Lite. Master listening, reading, speaking, and vocabulary with this language lab for your iPhone with this free app.
- Pocket French – Beginner I (1-10). Move up to this paid version for an even more intense language learning experience.
- Byki French. Be speaking French like a pro with this app that also serves as a phrasebook.
- English French Language Translator Phrasebook. Great for travelers or those who just need to look up the basics, this phrasebook will help you find just what you want to say.
- MyWords – French. Learn 10 words a day so that you can build to a vocabulary worthy of reading and understanding French newspapers and magazines in the first year.
- World Nomads French Language Guide. Never be at a loss when traveling again with this app that helps translate and provides audio pronunciation as well.
- Gengo Flashcards – French. Get visual cues and the voices of native French speakers to learn with these flashcards. Want to add to your vocabulary? Take a picture of any object, then add the French and English words to it, and you have created your very own flashcard.
The recent popularity of learning Japanese is evident with the varied types of Japanese apps available. Learn to read, write, and speak Japanese with the help of these apps.
- Pocket Japanese – Beginner Lite. Start learning Japanese with this free app that will help you with both listening and speaking.
- HiKaChan Hiragana Japanese. Learn to read the Japanese writing system of hiragana with this app.
- Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook. Get over 600 written and spoken Japanese phrases with this app that is perfect for traveling.
- Japanese Word of the Day. Every day you will receive a Japanese word with kanji, Japanese kana alphabet, Romanji, and native voice pronunciation for each word.
- iKana touch. Learn katakana and hiragana with this app that teaches you how to read, write, and understand both kana alphabets.
Variety of Languages
From German to Brazilian Portuguese to American Sign Language, you can find an app from this list to help you learn one of many languages.
- Byki German. Byki will have you learning German in no time with slowed native speakers, quizzes, and a phrasebook.
- MyWords – German. With the 10 words a day you receive with this app, you’ll be learning German in no time.
- WordPower Lite – Hebrew. Get a word a day to begin learning Hebrew with this app that also allows you to listen and record audio.
- Byki Irish. Learn Irish anywhere with this app that allows you to learn quickly and on the go.
- WordPower – Thai. See 2000 words and phrases in the original Thai, Romanized, and in English, then listen to the word to get proper pronunciation.
- Byki Brazilian Portuguese. This app helps you quickly learn Brazilian Portuguese with it’s simple three-step format.
- Pocket Arabic – Introduction I (1-10). This app is like a language CD on your iPhone, but it is also interactive with voice recording and flashcards.
- WordPower – Chinese (Simplified). Master approximately 2000 Mandarin words and phrases with this app.
- Pocket Korean – Beginner I (1-10). Start learning Korean with this app and you will master grammar, vocabulary, and even culture.
- MyWords – Russian. Learn 10 words a day with this app to speak and understand Russian.
- WordPower – Greek. Select from one of the categories here to learn over 2000 Greek words and phrases at your leisure.
- Byki Danish. If you want to learn Danish and remember it beyond the lessons, give this app a try that will teach you over 1000 words and hundreds of phrases.
- Signing Time ASL – Sign Language. Taken from the popular children’s program, this app provides 48 flashcards and video explanations of each.
- iSign – Sign Language. Either type in a word to see the sign or review the individual signs for A-Z and 1-9.