Teacher Shake

This inexpensive app is one of several created by Melbourne-based teacher and developer Dale Sidebottom of BreakAppz. Teacher Shake provides 100 Lesson Starters as well as a number of Debrief and Reflection Ideas. Perhaps best suited to younger students, the activities require few resources and can be quickly organised. These are great “start of the year icebreakers” or for those times when a class needs to refocus. One iTunes review says it all … “Where has this app been all my life. I use the Teacher Shake to start and finish each class. Fantastic resource. "Be certain to also check out The PE Shake app and the full range of “Break” apps for fun classroom activities.

FORMAT: iOS only
PRICE: $1.29

Sound Gecko

If even Pocket seems time consuming, SoundGecko gives you the opportunity to “read the web with your ears.” With a simple browser add-on (or via email) you can send a URL to SoundGecko. In no time at all, the item comes back to you as a sound file. This app can be used to read web pages, blogs or RSS Feeds. The free version allows you up to 30 file conversions per day with each item having a 4000-word limit. The paid account allows for greater daily limits, a choice of reading voices and PDF conversion. SoundGecko suggests that their app is a great way to catch up on reading while at the gym. I won’t be doing that, but I will continue to use this excellent service.

FORMAT: iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Web Browsers
PRICE: Free basic account, Pro account $2.95 per month

Pocket

This application, which first appeared in 2007, was originally known as Read It Later and was intended only for desktop computers. Pocket allows you to quickly and easily save articles, web pages and videos to a personalised list for future reading or viewing. Once an item is “in your pocket” it can be accessed offline; a great feature if you do a daily commute. Pocket is fully integrated into more than 500 other leading applications including Zite, Twitter and Flipboard. So, rather than cluttering up my favourites, I can easily put an item found on Twitter straight “into my Pocket.” The app automatically syncs to all of your devices and you can archive items under user created tags. I find the free version more than sufficient for my needs.

FORMAT: iOS, Android and Web Browsers
PRICE: Free, premium subscriptions are available