Today is for the avid readers amongst you…who have no time to read!
One of the easiest ways to save and store online content for reading later offline is to use the Instapaper app. Basically, Instapaper helps you regain control over when and where you read – a move that Instapaper’s maker, Marco Arment, has termed “time-shifting” your reading!
Instapaper can be installed on your mobile device and is available on both the iTunes App Store and on Google Play for free. There is a web-based version also so online content can be saved to your Instapaper account from your PC/Mac browser as well by using the Instapaper Bookmarklet .
Screenshot of Instapaper
Once you have created your Instapaper account, choose the ‘share’ button on any article or YouTube or Vimeo videos that you are reading or watching and choose Instapaper from the list of options available – and that’s it! ( If you don’t see ‘Instapaper’ in the share menu, just choose the ‘more’ option and then turn on the Instapaper option.) The article/video is now saved to your Instapaper account. Once you open the app you will see all of the articles and videos there that you have saved, just like in the screenshot above. You can also email links to articles (or even long emails that you want to read later) to your Instapaper account by emailing them to the unique email address associated with your Instapaper account. You will find this email address in the settings.
Tap any article to read it and you will be presented with a text only version, so all of the annoying ads etc. will have been removed. Personalise your view by adjusting the font, text size, background and text colour, margins, and line spacing preferences by tapping the “Aa” icon for the controls.
What else can you do? Well…
– You can create folders and organise your saved articles and then archive or delete them when you’re finished reading them. (This is done via the ‘edit’ option on the top of the screen.)
– You can highlight sections of text and those highlights are all referenced and saved together in the ‘highlights’ area as can be seen on the left menu in the screenshot above, so never lose the perfect quote again!
– Browse for editor’s choice of articles, and connect your social accounts (i.e. facebook and twitter etc.) to find articles shared by your friends. they can also see articles that you have ‘liked./
– You can email someone a link to the article if you need to.
– And, you can even get Instapaper to read the article to you!
Is this app of any use to my students in the context of their studies?
Yes of course if is. They can use it to save online content and videos associated with their modules and coursework/project work, and share those with you and their peers. So, content curation made social! It won’t exactly transform learning activity as per the SAMR model but useful all the same so worth including as part of this #12appsDIT initiative.
These recipes allow you to set up all sorts of triggers and actions, so when you do one thing, another thing happens automatically. So to explain, you can set up recipes like:
If my phone connects to the wifi network at my workplace, then turn my phone to vibrate”
“If I take a photo, save it to a specific Dropbox folder”
And even ones like the following that you can set up to help you break your habit of taking selfies! I kid you not! Check it out here.
“If I take a photo with the front-facing camera, email me a GIF of Colin Farrell looking really disappointed, with the subject line ‘Selfie? Really?'”
There are IFTTT recipes you can set up in conjunction with Instapaper and you can view ready made ones on their site here. Ones such as these might interest you:
“If when watching a video on YouTube I choose ‘watch later’, save that video to Instapaper”
“If I move an article in Instapaper into a specified folder, share that article on LinkedIn”
“If I favourite a tweet, save the links in that tweet to Instapaper”.
If you’d like to make up your own recipes then you can do that from this IFTTT website.
1. Download Instapaper from either the iTunes App store or Google Play
2. Browse the Internet for articles on a topic of your choice and using the ‘share’ option, save a few articles to Instapaper, then view them within the app
3. Personalise your view of those saved articles on Instapaper by changing the background colour and text style etc.
4. Check out the IFTTT recipes for Instapaper and see if any would improve your workflow.