10 Tools: Pocket Review

Is it May already? Oh my. This is my “April” review of Pocket, an app that let’s you stash articles, blog posts, or web pages to read later.

Screenshot_2013-05-02-15-28-18

I used to email myself articles to read later. This resulted in a whole bunch of emails that never got filed or read, and I usually ended up deleting them. Pocket gives me a place to keep them without mucking up my inbox. Whenever a have a few spare minutes to read, I pull up one of those articles in Pocket. I did it just today while waiting in the doctor’s office. It was much better than reading about celebrity breakups or fashion faux pas.

Pocket Basics

  • You can use Pocket on any Android, iDevice, or on your computer.
  • You can tag items and filter by tags.
  • If you use Instapaper, you can import articles to Pocket.

What I Learned

  • Pocket is a great place to store professional development articles. It’s like my own little development space.
  • It’s also a great place to build an “online cookbook”. I’ve started stashing and tagging recipes I find on the web that I want to use again. That used to be a folder in my inbox. Now it’s even better.
  • I can “Pocket” things I want to show to my son later since he’s too young for email or Facebook. This was a big hit while My husband and I were reading The Hobbit to him over several weeks at bedtime:

the_hobbit

10 Tools Challenge (1-5)

I had a really difficult time coming up with a list of 10 tools. I used Jane’s list of Top 100 Tools, but I already use a great number of them and others required subscriptions. I’m sticking to 100% free tools and apps for this challenge. I also fretted that new tools would debut this year that I’d like to include and I didn’t want to be married to a specific list. As a compromise, I chose 5 that I promise to review. The other 5 I’ll discover over the year. Deal?

Here is the list of 5:

  1. Pinterest. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m just now getting around to Pinterest. I thought it was just DIY and wedding planning, but I can see potential for gathering classroom resources and asking students to contribute. I’m also using it to plan a kindergarten Valentine’s Day party.
  2. Flipboard. This one really intrigues me and I think it will help me clean up some clutter of buttons on my phone and tablet home screens. It’s a customized one-stop shop for your news and social networks. It’s also visually stunning if you can trust the demo.
  3. Open Badges. I love having quick, visual ways to scan information. I also really miss my Girl Scout sash and all those badges. People love earning badges and will go a little farther just to get one. It’s motivation to learn by status and recognition.
  4. Pocket. I am forever emailing myself links to read later. They clutter my inbox and end up getting deleted during angry inbox cleaning sessions, never to be read. Pocket is a bookmarking service that delivers content in an organized way to your phone or tablet and stays the heck out of your inbox.
  5. Avatar Generators. I love sharing avatars in virtual learning environments. Many people don’t photograph well and dread sharing photos. Avatars are fun and can be customized to reflect hobbies and interests. I’ll review a number of avatar generators and share what I create with each one, features, etc.

For each tool or app I share I will try to demonstrate how it can be used in the virtual classroom. It’s possible I’ll find something that I can’t tie in, but is so great I just have to share. I’ll be clear if that’s the case. Stay tuned. I’ll review Pinterest and share my boards at the end of February.